At some point over the last decade, chefs at trendy restaurants around the world decided that ceramic plates were simply not fabulous enough for their food to sit upon, and that the correct vessels for their masterpieces were actually large, wooden paddles with troughs carved around the edges to collect any stray juices or errant crumbs. The trend has inspired eye rolls from customers and endless mockery from the Twitter account @WeWantPlates. And now, it appears, the authorities are also cracking down on restaurants that use these big wooden shards, willy-nilly, in their service routines.
Ibrahim’s, a steakhouse in Birmingham, England, was recently fined £50,000 (USD $67,818) after health inspectors repeatedly found the staff serving food on wooden planks that had not been sufficiently cleaned. Environmental Health officers visited the restaurant after a party of 14 complained about getting food poisoning from the establishment, only to find that the kitchen’s wooden planks were not being sanitized, and the chefs were not washing their hands adequately.
During a return visit, the inspectors found that some conditions had improved, but those planks were still way too dirty. The inspectors apparently discovered pink and charcoal-colored stains on some of the boards that shouldn’t have been there.
An Acocks Green restaurant that kept using wooden plates to serve food on has been fined £50k by Bham Magistrates court after a case brought by the city council. pic.twitter.com/eT8J0GbZK2— Bham City Council (@BhamCityCouncil) January 5, 2018
The restaurant was also ordered to pay £120 to the victims of the food poisoning. “It is completely unacceptable for businesses to put the health of people eating at their restaurants at risk,” says Mark Croxford, the head of the Environmental Health Department. “The owners were given sound advice which they chose to ignore.”
If Ibrahim’s wants to serve food in a ridiculous but reliably sanitary fashion, the restaurant should consider taking a tip from the Señor Frog’s playbook by plating its dishes on washing machine-friendly plastic skateboards. Or, the restaurant could steal one of José Andrés’s signature moves by putting some of its food inside machine-washable sneakers.