Celeb chef hit with $1.3M fine for serving metal wire in dinner
By Julia Marsh | October 27, 2016 | New York Post
Restaurateur Daniel Boulud must have chocked on his Bordeaux when he heard this news.
A Manhattan jury hit the famed chef’s Midtown restaurant, db Bistro Moderne, with a $1.3 million slap for serving a diner a piece of wire brush in a $32 plate of coq au vin.
The five woman, three man federal court jury awarded $300,000 to retired lawyer Barry Brett Thursday for injuries to his esophagus, then heaped on another $1 million as a warning to the restaurant and other eateries against using cheap metal brushes to clean dishes.
“In speaking with the jurors afterwards, they were shocked that one of the most famous chefs in the world had no oversight, no polices, no procedures, no nothing which would have prevented this incident from occurring,” said Brett’s attorney Elizabeth Eilender.
“When this jury awarded $1 million in punitive damages they wanted to send a clear message not only to the Daniel Boulud organization … but also to the entire restaurant industry that it is unacceptable to use wire brushes anywhere near food.”
The French-born chef runs restaurants across the globe including his Michelin-starred namesake Daniel on E. 65th Street.
Brett was dining at the midtown restaurant in February 2015 when he swallowed the one-inch bristle. He nearly died from a resulting infection, Eilender said.
During the four-day trial Eilender presented a version of the Chinese-made wire brush to the jurors. It was purchased for $3 at a local hardware store, even though the Centers for Disease Control had issued a warning in 2012 about using the brushes in commercial kitchens.
“There are no regulations about using a brush on a grill where chicken isn’t even prepared,” the restaurant’s lawyer P.J. Bottarri said in his opening remarks.
Bottari said db Bistro Moderne’s executive chef Kendall Linhart was “shocked” by the award.
“This case is far from over,” Bottari vowed, adding that he will appeal the verdict.