Daniel Boulud must have spit out a mouthful of Merlot when he heard the verdict.
The French Chef’s award-winning midtown Manhattan restaurant, db Bistro Moderne, was knifed with a staggering $1.3 million fine by a Manhattan jury for serving a diner a piece of wire brush in a $32 plate of coq au vin, The Guardian reported.
The jury awarded $300,000 to a retired lawyer for injuries to his esophagus, and an additional $1 million in punitive damages to send a clear message to the entire restaurant industry against using cheap metal brushes to clean dishes.
Back in February 2015, Barry Brett, like many doting husbands, had taken his wife to db Bistro Moderne, one of Boulud’s many restaurants in New York City and known for its decadent gourmet burgers.
But his plan for a romantic dinner with his wife fast became a horror story.
The Guardian reported that soon after he began eating a plate of coq au vin — a French dish of chicken braised with wine, lardons, and mushrooms — Brett felt something lodged in his throat and immediately left the restaurant.
On seeking medical attention, doctors found an inch-long wire, belonging to a grill brush in Brett’s esophagus, which had caused a potentially fatal infection. Ouch!
Brett’s attorney, speaking to the New York Post, said that they were amazed that such a high-profile chef would be so negligent.
“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,” Elizabeth Eilender said.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has had a warning against using wire-bristled brushes for cleaning grills since 2012.
Boulud, who has called New York his home since the 1980s, is a Michelin two-star winning chef and owns restaurants around the world in cities such as Montreal, Singapore, and Toronto.
The French master chef is reportedly looking to appeal the verdict citing that the oversight was not intentional.
It’s bad enough that a meal at restaurants such as Boulud’s can cost a semester’s worth of college, but to get a piece of wire in your throat to go with has got to hurt.
Perhaps the next time Brett and his wife feel like a luxurious meal, they’ll stick to classics like White Castle.
Banner Photo: Twitter, @TastingTable