Top Chef Must Pay $1.3M After Customer Eats Wire

Jury wanted to 'send a message' to chef Daniel Boulud, says lawyer
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 1, 2016 11:33 AM CDT
Michelin Chef's Bistro Fined $1M After Customer Eats Wire
Lobster and Boudin Blanc with a whisky sauce is photographed at db Bistro Moderne, Monday, April 22, 2013, in New York.   (Photo by Diane Bondareff/Invision for The Dalmore/AP Images)

Perhaps the last thing you'd expect while dining at a Michelin-starred chef's restaurant: to swallow an inch-long piece of wire from a cheap grill brush that was embedded in your coq au vin. Yet that's what happened to Barry Brett in February 2015 while he was eating at Manhattan's db Bistro Moderne, one of French chef Daniel Boulud's restaurants, and now the eatery is on the hook for $1.3 million. (One of Boulud's other New York restaurants, Daniel, boasts two Michelin stars.) Brett sued over the incident, and last week a jury sided with him, awarding him $300,000 and his wife $11,000, plus another $1 million in punitive damages, AFP reports.

Brett's lawyer says that the wire caused an infection that could have killed him, and that he required emergency surgery. "In speaking with the jurors afterwards, 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," Brett's attorney says, per the New York Post. "They wanted to send a clear message ... to the entire restaurant industry that it is unacceptable to use wire brushes anywhere near food." The restaurant's lawyer says the eatery's executive chef was "shocked" by the jury's decision, and added that he would appeal. (Swallowing a wire bristle is more common than you might think.)

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