Lesson learnt after pub gets one-star food hygiene rating

The Maid's Head in Wicken hit with a one-star food hygiene rating - but the team have taken drastic action to improve.

The Maid's Head in Wicken hit with a one-star food hygiene rating - but the team have taken drastic action to improve. - Credit: THE MAID'S HEAD

An East Cambridgeshire pub and restaurant team say they have taken drastic action to improve after being hit with a one-star food hygiene rating. 

The Maid's Head in Wicken was told that 'major improvement is necessary' when an inspection was carried out in July.  

Luke Ashdown-Tams, who runs The Maid's Head with landlord Cavin Holland, says inspectors have been back since and were satisfied with the improvements. 

East Cambridgeshire District Council's food and safety officer had found out of date smoked salmon, cheese and tartare sauce, observed a staff member using their apron to dry their hands and noted that the freezer was broken. 

Mr Ashdown-Tams accepted the findings.  

"It's my fault, I didn't do my paperwork,” he said. “I've seen they are crashing down hard on other places as well."


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He also felt that the inspector having a trainee with her didn’t help as “she’s not going to be seen to left stuff slip.

"They absolutely hammered us”. 

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Officers also noted several things that may cause contamination or cross-contamination. 

These included the fact that some chopping boards were worn or not cleaned thoroughly. 

They also found issues with some of the plastic tubs used for storing raw food. 

The report added that the sink in the kitchen was obstructed, preventing it from being available for hand washing. 

Mr Ashdown-Tams says rigorous procedures are in place to ensure that cleanliness is maintained. 

He said a new management system has been implemented and staff have been trained/retrained/given instruction/ under revised supervisory arrangements. 

And he added that conditions found at the time of the inspection "were not typical of the normal conditions maintained at the establishment". 

Mr Ashdown-Tams said the inspection had taken place at 9.30am on a Wednesday after the pub had been closed for two days.  

The previous Saturday, they had done the outside catering for two weddings and, on the Sunday, had cooked and prepared 100 lunches.  

With the Covid-19 lockdown, staff shortages and revitalising the business, it had been a tough period. 

"We are getting there, there's a lot to do," he said.  

Inspectors will re-assess the pub later this year. 

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