The restaurant at one of Tunbridge Wells’ flagship hotels, the Spa, has been awarded the maximum food hygiene rating – five months after it was given zero out of five.
The local landmark received the damning ranking from the Food Standards Agency (FSA) for its Chandelier restaurant because of administrative errors.
The Food Safety Officer at the Borough Council carried out an inspection of the entire kitchen area of the four-star hotel on Langton Road on April 28 this year.
Anthony Scragg, the Spa’s owner, said they had taken action by rewriting its ‘hazard analysis’ manual and taking it in-house – it had previously been supplied by an outside company.
“Very soon after the inspection our new head chef, Alan Irwin, was brought in – and new procedures too,” he explained.
Mr Scragg is ‘extremely confident’ that there will be no repetition of the embarrassment. “No stone has been left unturned,” he said.
“The whole management team has learnt a lot too. Previously – as is the case in some other organisations – it was left solely to the Head Chef to manage.
“There is now a handful of senior people within the business that regulate and monitor practices. So in the absence of the senior chefs, the standard remains in place.”
When asked if he thought the reputation of the Spa had suffered as a result of the zero rating, he replied: “I cannot gauge exactly how it has affected us.
“But going from zero straight back to five is unusual. So I think that demonstrates just how seriously we have tackled this.
“Back in April the customers were concerned. Although the rating did not relate in any way to the standard of food being served, it was somewhat unsettling to guests.”
He revealed that the hotel operated an ‘open door policy’ for anyone who had events booked to take a look around the kitchens if they had any doubts about cleanliness.