Do you frequent a particular restaurant for lunch during the work week? What if you were perusing the buffet and looked up to see restaurant employees quickly wheeling a dead deer into the kitchen? Well, that’s exactly what happened recently at the Red Flower Chinese Restaurant in Williamsburg, KY, which is temporarily closed for obvious reasons.
According to WYMT-TV in Hazard, KY, lunch-goers were shocked when they saw employees hastily pushing a dead deer, which was unceremoniously shoved into a garbage can with a leg and a tail sticking out, into the restaurant’s kitchen. A customer, Katie Hopkins, called the health department because she simply couldn’t believe what she had seen. She told WYMT, “It was really disturbing. There was actually a blood trail that they were mopping up behind the garbage can.”
When the environmental health inspector, Paul Lawson, arrived, he told reporters that the deer had already been cleaned and gutted, which brought about some concerns about health and wellness issues. Further questioning from WYMT yielded this quote from Lawson: “They said they didn’t know they weren’t allowed to.” Clearly, this raised some serious questions about possible past health violations.
The owner claims that the late creature was to be taken home for his family and that it was never intended to be fed to customers.
Needless to say, the restaurant was immediately shut down. However, if the Red Flower can pass an inspection that proves the property was thoroughly cleaned and sanitized, it may re-open, says WYMT. However, many people are already saying that they will never return to the restaurant if it re-opens, and some are even going so far as to say that they will never eat at a Chinese restaurant again.
As if Kentucky needed another joke about eating road kill, this story is now national news. I’m frankly more disturbed by the owner not being aware of basic health regulations than I am by road kill in the kitchen, though I’m not keen on the idea of Sweet and Sour Deer. I’m all for waste not, want not, but as a chef, I’m truly cringing right now just thinking about filthy road kill in a professional kitchen.
What do you think about this story? If you had been a regular, would you go back if the restaurant re-opened? What disturbs you the most about the situation?