Lowery’s Seafood Restaurant has “one of the worst kitchens I’ve seen in my career,” Gordon Ramsay said during the episode of 24 Hours to Hell and Back that featured the restaurant.
Ramsay’s list of complaints included that the oysters were sour and the crab meat wasn’t fresh. Footage showed raw beef stored with cooked chicken and black mold growing on the flaps at the entrance of a walk-in refrigerator.
“This place is a ticking time bomb. You’re lucky you haven’t killed anybody,” Ramsay said.
Scenes from the show have raised questions about public safety and whether food inspectors are letting a little rural restaurant slip through the cracks.
Such questions are natural given the content of the show, said David Fridley, environmental health manager for the Three Rivers Health District, which is the division of the Virginia Department of Health that’s responsible for Tappahannock. But he offered assurance that restaurant inspections are conducted by highly trained, credentialed food safety professionals who are re-certified by agency experts on a regular basis and that “Virginians can have confidence that their local health professionals work hard to assure food safety in every restaurant.”
Fridley also noted that “the purpose of reality television is entertainment. Reality television shows depend on deliberate staging and editing, including combining dialogue and film from different times and places into a single scene for dramatic effect. These productions can seem quite compelling,” he said.
Lowery’ health inspection reports
However, reports from 2018 to 2020 show that health inspections were revealing some of the same issues that Ramsay discovered. Over that period, conditions were either getting progressively worse or the inspectors were getting increasingly diligent because the infractions were mounting.
In one instance, Ramsay called attention to a stove saying it was “so thick with grime you can’t see the grill anymore” and he pointed to dust above the hot plate.
An August 2018 report says nonfood contact surfaces of the exterior of equipment in all food prep areas has accumulations of grime and debris. In March 2019, an inspector reported that the hood system had grime and debris, and a dirty hood vent and other equipment were cited again in June and in August.
For the full article, pick up the latest Northern Neck News 1/29/20
Northern Neck Technical Center students met celebrity chef, Gordon Ramsay
when he was in Tappahannock in October.
Photo from Northern Neck Technical Center’s Facebook page