Inspectors leave Michelin-star chef Mark Sargeant feeling raw about two-star hygiene rating

Michelin-star chef Mark Sargeant has hit back at inspectors who recently gave his Folkestone restaurant Rocksalt a poor hygiene rating.

Sargeant’s 2 AA Rosette restaurant was recently given a two-star rating for the cleanliness of its kitchen, dropping down from the top mark of a five.

Now he has commented on the grading, saying that the supposed under-cooking of chicken livers was what prompted the rating during a conversation the inspector had with the restaurant’s head chef.

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He also said the inspector’s visit lasted ‘2 minutes’.

Taking to his Instagram page, Sargeant wrote: “After many years of holding 5 stars (which in my mind should be normal really) we have been dropped down to 2 stars. I must tell you that the actual inspection part of the visit from the EHO lasted 2 minutes and that the score was altered purely on a conversation the inspector had with my head chef.

“We know that food guidelines are there to help us, but in any professional kitchen such as ours they are a normal part of our job. We also know that you’re no longer allowed to serve burgers rare and indeed the law has now deemed that we can’t enjoy a steak tartare without searing the outside first and then scraping it off before chopping it up!

“Now it appears that we are no longer allowed to cook chicken livers pink! Something I have grown up with and learnt since college. A well done chicken liver is like eating rancid, crumbly paste but according to the powers that be it is how we should consume them!! So when my chef said that we cook them to 70c instead of the recommended 75c (still over in my opinion) they decided to drop us from 5 stars to 2!”

Sergeant said he had formally appealed the rating and hoped Rocksalt would be re-inspected soon.

The Shepway District Council environmental health officer who carried out the inspection said cooking practices were unsafe.

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