Mario Batali's New York restaurants are allegedly getting an alarm system that tells kitchen staff that a Department of Health inspector has entered the dining room, giving them time to repair. This is, at least, according to yesterday's New York Post cover story.
The story quotes an anonymous employee from an unnamed Batali restaurant?that apparently already has the system?who says that there's a button at the host stand that triggers an alarm in the kitchen. That alarm tells the kitchen staff to waste all the food they're working on and go on break. The hosts are "supposed to keep pressing that button" once health inspectors arrive, according to the employee.
A manager at Lupa and a host at Babbo likewise tell the Post that the system has been installed at those restaurants but it hasn't been used yet. According to that same anonymous employee from the same unnamed restaurant, Batali's policy used to be to fire any manager whose restaurant didn't get an "A" inspection?but it's allegedly gotten more proactive because of the harsh DOH penalties, which he sees as unfair.
Batali didn't respond to the Post for comment, but Joe Bastianich says that no such system exists?"the rules are not that idiotic," he said?while a spokesman for the state Restaurant Association says that systems like this are "something we're hearing about now." So who knows, really.
· Mario Batali Installs Alarms in his Restaurants to Thwart NYC Food Inspectors [NYP]
· All Coverage of Mario Batali [~ENY~]