Filthy East Lothian kitchen supplying popular restaurants and hotel closed down by environmental health

A filthy kitchen used to prepare food for a North Berwick hotel and restaurant was shut-down by environmental health officers.

A filthy kitchen used to prepare food for a North Berwick hotel and restaurant was shut-down by environmental health officers.

Owner and former Tory councillor, Stirling Stewart, used the industrial estate unit to cook food for his Lobster Shack and Rocketeer restaurants and Nether Abbey Hotel.

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Officers acting on a tip-off found it illegally preparing food in dirty conditions with their closure notice upheld by a sheriff yesterday.

East Lothian Council’s Derek Oliver said: “Officers found the premises in such a poor condition that it posed a serious risk to public health and they immediately closed it.”

The unit on Halfland Barns Industrial Estate was closed for five weeks but is no back open after being properly registered and cleaned-up.

Officers served a Hygiene Emergency Prohibition Notice on Mr Stirling in August - understood to be the first time the council has taken such a drastic step in ten years.

They found a build-up of dirt and food debris, unclean food equipment, accumulation of waste and poor drainage.

Mr Oliver added: “East Lothian Council’s Environmental Health Officers will exercise their legal powers to protect public health within the county.

“We routinely inspect all food premises and expect them to comply with Food Hygiene Regulations.

“In this case the premises were so dirty and structurally poor that they required to be closed immediately as they fell far below the legally required standards.”

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The renowned Lobster Shack seasonal pop-up specialise in seafood - serving lobsters caught in Creels in and around North Berwick by local fishermen.

Its sister restaurant on the harbourside, the Rocketeer, was given the go-ahead last year to open all year round.

The 12-bedroom boutique Nether Abbey Hotel in Dirleton Avenue uses seasonal produce, locally sourced, in its restaurant.

Mr Stewart, who served as a Conservative on the East Lothian Council from 1995 until 1999, claimed he downloaded a food premises form, filled it out and posted it to the council.

He said officers came on a Friday and so bins were yet to be emptied, explaining the build-up of waste, and claimed the unit was only used to cook chips for his hotel and restaurant.

Mr Stewart added: “We had submitted an application to use the facility in good faith - the council evidently hadn’t received that.

“They inspected the premises and there were elements they weren’t happy. We immediately brought that up to standard it was reinspected and passed.

“It was brought up to standard immediately and subsequently inspected. We comply with all the relevant health and hygiene regulations.”

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