Michelin-star restaurant in Spain reopens three weeks after diner’s death

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RiFF RESTAURANT: Bernd H. Knoller, the German owner and chef. Photo credit: www.restaurante-riff.com

A MICHELIN-STARRED restaurant in Spain that closed after a woman died from a suspected case of food poisoning has reopened.

The RiFF restaurant in Valencia closed three-weeks-ago after a 46-year-old woman died at her home the day after eating at the restaurant.

The woman’s husband and 12-year-old son were also taken ill suffering from vomiting and diarrhoea according to health officials in Valencia.

The Ministry of Health opened an investigation to determine the cause of the death and the 29 other cases that were reported who recovered favourably.

Local media reports suggested at the time that the diners had eaten a dish of rice and mushrooms, part of a tasting menu, before being taken ill.

In a series of social media posts this week Bernd H. Knoller, the German owner and chef said: “Out of respect for recent events and, it goes without saying, especially for the family who has lost a loved one, I have remained silent for the last three weeks.

“I am addressing you now to confirm what you may have read in the media, namely, that I am reopening RiFF. And I am doing so because I am convinced that the restaurant can ensure the utmost safety for its customers and for its employees.”

He went on: “The restaurant has passed two health inspections. The second, and most recent of the two, was in response to a request from us. I wanted to be 100% certain (though I have realised that no restaurant can absolutely guarantee 100% safety).

“The health authorities have assured us at all times, since the first inspection, that there is no reason for the restaurant to remain closed.

Knoller said: “Obviously, such a tragic event as what happened, marks a before-and-after for any restaurant. For this reason, from tomorrow we are including a critical control point protocol for all aspects related with the restaurant.

“As it is currently being investigated by professionals, I wish to leave aside the cause of death of the lady. At the moment, for what we know from what has been filtered in the press, there is no direct connection with the restaurant.

“With regards the cases of mild poisoning, I wish to add that the health authorities have, for the moment, not found a cause. We do not know whether it was the morels or another product.

“But what we do know is that RiFF is in a position to operate with the maximum guarantees that a restaurant is capable of providing.

The chef added: “Another issue raised in the media over these last 3 weeks is whether the mushrooms came from China.I can confirm that we purchased them from a supplier from León here in Spain,who has been supplying me with produce for 28 years, and in whom I have always had the utmost confidence.

“The mushrooms seemed to be in perfect condition, and at no time did we believe that they could have been from any country other than Spain. In addition, the technical specifications coming with the product the supplier sent us did not specify the provenance.

“Importing from another country products that can be found in Spain is not part of RiFF’s philosophy or policy.”

RiFF was opened by German chef Bernd H. Knoller in 2001 and awarded a Michelin star in 2009.

DINER DEATH: Health officials investigating after woman eats out at top restaurant in Spain

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