TOP SCORE: Blue Boar manager Nick Metson and kitchen manager Jonathan Dicken work hard for their five stars Photo: Chris Rushton I4IL3546
CHEFS have been told to clean up their kitchens after inspectors deemed eight restaurants and takeaways in Billericay and Wickford to have "unacceptable" hygiene standards.
The eight food outlets were given zero stars when environmental health teams carried out spot checks – which should give customers serious food for thought.
The teams are constantly visiting takeaways, catering vans, restaurants, pubs and schools and marking them on a scale of zero to five stars, with five being the top.
The national system is known as Scores on the Doors, because the results are often posted outside the premises.
So far this year inspectors have recorded a catalogue of breaches of hygiene standards, from poor pest control to dirty work surfaces, walls and floors and failures to use hand washing facilities.
A council spokesman said: "If conditions were particularly poor we would use our powers to ensure that the business closed until these problems were rectified."
Environmental chief, Cllr Malcolm Buckley, accepts the scheme gives customers a good idea of where to eat but added: "Some places can score lower if their paperwork isn't in order and some just need to buck up their ideas."
The Gazette attempted to contact each of the zero-star outlets including The Raj Indian restaurant in Holly Court, Billericay, which was inspected in March.
Manager Rouhel Amod said health inspectors had since revisited and were now happy with standards there.
He added: "We are a very clean place – I don't think the system is right. We have lots and lots of happy satisfied customers who come on recommendation."
Taste of China, in Meadow Rise, Billericay was also inspected in March, although it has since been revisited. A statement posted by the restaurant on the Scores on the Doors website read: "Further to the Environmental Health Services revisit on May 20 all statutory obligations regarding Good Hygiene Practice have been addressed and the Environmental Health Officer is now very happy with the improvements made."
A council spokesman explained new scores are due out shortly following revisits, adding: "The Zaffran in Wickford which was a zero star is now a three star."
Businesses are given a risk rating which determines when the next inspection should take place, with the earliest being six months for the worst-scoring and three years for those at lowest risk.
Steve Humphrey is the manager of the Blue Boar in Billericay High Street, which was awarded the maximum five stars in January – meaning he is unlikely to see inspectors for some time.
"It is very important to run a clean kitchen and for people to have confidence in the food you are sending out," he said.
Premises given zero rating by inspectors:
Taste Of China, Meadow Rise, Billericay
Indian Richi, High Street, Billericay
The Raj, Holly Court, Billericay
Zaffran, The Arcade, The Broadway, Wickford
Aum Station News, Station Avenue, Wickford
Balti Lord, High Street, Wickford
Saraat Tandoori, High Street, Wickford
Star Kebab, mobile
Premises that gained top five star ratings:
Burstead Bears Day Nursery, Southend Road, Billericay
Cafe Manhattan, Pipps Hill Road North, Crays Hill
Carousel Day Nursery, Thynne Road, Billericay
Ask Pizza & Pasta, High Street, Billericay
Costa Coffee, High Street, Billericay
Dizzy Ducks, Stock Road, Billericay
Dizzy Ducks Day Nursery, Perry Street, Billericay
J D Wetherspoon, High Street, Billericay
Mayflower County High School, Stock Road, Billericay
South Green County Junior School, Hickstars Lane, Billericay
Waitrose, High Street, Billericay
Wickford C of E Infants School, Mount Road, Wickford
Domino's Pizza, High Street, Wickford
Seymour House Nursery School, Salcott Crescent, Wickford
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