clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Batali's 'Phantom' Alarm System Doesn't Really Exist

New, 7 comments

So, about that alarm system supposedly used by Mario Batali and Joe Bastianich's New York City restaurants: while the Post quoted a small handful of anonymous employees alleging that hosts have a button used to sound an alarm in the kitchen when the Department of Health arrives, the guys' Director of Food Safety and Sustainability, Elizabeth Meltz, has responded by saying that no such system exists.

In a post on Mario Batali's Facebook page, Meltz writes that, "Unlike the phantom alarm system, my responsibilities are very real." Those responsibilities include making sure all the restaurants are up to code and staff has the appropriate certifications, teaching food safety classes in the restaurants, and, conducting mock inspections. They do not include installing an alarm system.

Per Meltz's statement, it sounds like Batali and Bastianich have a system that's much closer to?actually even better than?the normal preparedness that, as many pointed out yesterday, exists pretty much everywhere.

The full statement:

Five years ago, Mario and Joe created my position—Director of Food Safety and Sustainability—in order to ensure that our restaurants are as safe as they can be. To achieve food safety, restaurants must operate in accordance with Health Department standards. Unlike the phantom alarm system, my responsibilities are very real.

Mario and Joe tasked me with developing HACCP (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point) plans, which make us (NYC Department of Health, correct me if I am wrong here) the only restaurant group certified in the preparation of cured meats in the entire city. They enlisted me to create and maintain Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), conduct internal mock health inspections, renew restaurant and food handling permits, and go to scheduled meetings and appearances with the DOH if and when the occasion arises. I am responsible for making sure all of our chefs, sous chefs and managers are certified food handlers and on top of that, I teach quarterly food safety classes in each restaurant. In short, our team works together to do everything required to comply with all of the DOH rules and regulations and to maintain transparency at all of our restaurants. Mario Batali and Joe Bastianich might even be the only Chef/Restaurateurs to have such a position on their payroll.

The NYC DOH expects of us exactly what Mario and Joe expect of me and of our restaurants: 100% compliance, 100% of the time. This makes my mandate simple. (no bells or whistles.)

- Elizabeth Meltz, Director of Food Safety & Sustainability

Batali Bastianich Hospitality Group

· Post: Batali Allegedly Using Alarm System to Avoid DOH [~ENY~]
· From Elizabeth Metzl - Dir. of Food Safety & Sustainability at BBHG [Facebook]
· Does Mario Batali Really Have a Secret Health Inspector 'Alarm System'? [GS]


110 Waverly Place, Manhattan, NY 10011 (212) 777-0303 Visit Website

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Eater New York newsletter

The freshest news from the local food world