Monday 21 October 2019

Woman dies after eating mushrooms at top restaurant

Emergency services are at the scene. Stock photo: Getty Images
Emergency services are at the scene. Stock photo: Getty Images

James Badcock

A Michelin-starred restaurant in Spain has closed while authorities investigate the death of a woman who ate a dish of mushrooms that can be poisonous if not carefully cooked.

Maria Jesus Fernandez Calvo (46) ordered a rice and morchella fungi dish at Valencia's RiFF restaurant on Saturday.

The optician and her son (10) were celebrating her husband's birthday at the eatery, known for "innovative" cuisine. She died on Sunday morning after bouts of vomiting and diarrhoea.

Eleven more people who ate at RiFF on Saturday, including Ms Fernandez Calvo's husband and son, suffered similar symptoms, officials said. However, it will not be possible to confirm if she died from poisoning until a post-mortem examination is carried out.

The fungi are a delicacy in France, but cannot be eaten raw as they contain a powerful toxin, hydrazine. Chefs usually dry the mushroom then rehydrate it with water or milk before a thorough cooking.

Health inspectors are investigating whether the mushrooms served were prepared correctly or if "false morels" - an inedible, even more poisonous mushroom - were served by mistake.

Chef Bernd Knoller expressed his "deep sorrow" for the death of Ms Fernandez Calvo. He said he had closed the restaurant until the causes of the food poisoning had been established.

Irish Independent

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