Top chef fined as 100 cockroaches found in kitchen
AN award-winning Brisbane chef has been fined $17,000 after health inspectors found an infestation of 100 cockroaches in his restaurant's "dirty" kitchen.
Council lawyer Roman Micairan told Brisbane Magistrates Court inspectors discovered the "dirty kitchen infested with cockroaches" during a food safety audit of Peter Stubbs' Piccolo Pizza on Lytton Road at East Brisbane in May last year.
Mr Stubbs, who immediately closed the pizzeria after the inspection, is also the chef and owner of the hatted up-market Cinco Bistro in Camp Hill, which is not the subject of a health complaint.
He yesterday pleaded guilty to nine offences including failing to comply with the food standards code and contravening the conditions of his food licence in relation to the East Brisbane pizzeria.
Mr Micairan said the size of the infestation in the relatively small kitchen was "alarming" and that the "dirty" kitchen had a build-up of dirt, grease and food waste that provided the cockroaches with a food source.
"It's well known that cockroaches carry bacteria and diseases and their presence increases the risk that food may become contaminated and cause harm to the public," he told the court.
"Cockroaches should not be allowed harbour and to breed in close proximity where food is being prepared.
"Here council officers found approximately 100 cockroaches of varying life cycles so from nymph phase, that is baby cockroaches, to adult cockroaches."
The lawyer said Mr Stubbs immediately closed the business and handed in his food licence.
"Food operators in my submission carry a higher level of responsibility when they profit on the trust of members of the public in selling food to those persons," he said.
"When this level of trust is breached it not only affects the public's confidence in that food business but all commercial food businesses who rely on the public's trust that they can go out and eat uncontaminated food from uncontaminated commercial kitchens."
Defence lawyer Michael Smith said his client had been caught up in a "perfect storm" with the business only reopening one to two weeks before the inspection after a shutdown and that pest control work had been carried out the day before the audit.
"There is no evidence nor was my client ever aware of anyone complaining about any issues with respect to any member of the public suffering any food related illness out of any of his premises," Mr Smith said.
Magistrate Tina Previtera accepted the breaches were out of character for Mr Stubbs and said "thankfully no one was harmed".