Bird droppings next to the ham: epic hygiene fail by York restaurant

26 Feb 2015 @ 9.06 pm
| Food & drink
Meat hung up from a beam covered in bird droppings

The owner of a popular York restaurant has been fined £12,000 for hygiene offences including hanging hams on a beam covered in bird droppings.

Giampaolo Silesu, the owner and operator of Il Paradiso Del Cibo at 40 Walmgate, York, was taken to court by City of York Council.

On Thursday (February 26) he pleaded guilty to nine food hygiene violations dating between December 6 2013 and June 20 2014.

His restaurant was visited by environmental health officers over several months. On one visit, a ham was found in an outbuilding hanging from a rafter covered in bird droppings.

Officers repeatedly found problems including poor levels of cleanliness in the kitchen, issues of disrepair and insufficient lighting in a food handling area.

The premises did not have a food safety management system in place.

Officers offered advice at each visit about what improvements were needed, but Mr Silesu failed to take this on board.

He also failed to comply with a number of improvement notices that were served regarding food safety issues.

In his defence, Mr Silesu said that the restaurant had been closed for a week in January of this year for remedial work to be carried out.

Ordered to pay £14,000

It is meant to be a taste of paradise

York magistrates fined Silesu £12,000 (approximately £1,333 per offence) and ordered him to pay a victim surcharge of £120 and costs of £2,506.08, a total of £14,626.08.

Cllr Sonja Crisp, Cabinet Member with portfolio for Environmental Health, said:

While we aim to work with businesses in the city to improve their practice for the benefit of them and their customers, when standards fall below safe levels and that advice is ignored, we will take action as this case shows.

‘Best Italian in York – if not in UK’

Il Paradiso del Cibo has long been a favourite of diners who like its friendly atmosphere, and good value, tasty food.

Food writer Sam Stern told us he was a big fan, and celebrated one birthday there with a gang of mates.

One of its earliest TripAdvisor reviews, dating from May, 2011, described it as the “best Italian in York – if not in the UK”.

It has an overall rating of 4½ out of five on the website from 603 reviews, and, at the time of writing, is rated number 57 out of 719 restaurants in York.

The latest review is also full of praise saying:

This is great little restaurant – lots of hustle and bustle, and a great atmosphere, catering for all ages.

The staff are warm, outgoing and make everyone feel very welcome.

The food was outstanding and there was a very broad choice form pizzas to fillet steak.

Colin W

And our reviewer raved about it on a trip to the restaurant in August 2013.

Richard McDougall wrote:

My wife went with the alle verdure risotto (£7.50), containing Arborio rice, sautéed with chargrill vegetables and garlic. She declared it to be “the best risotto in York” – creamy, perfectly cooked and tasty…

At the restaurant’s next routine inspection, its hygiene rating will be reviewed.