Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Storm in a tofu bowl- my response

I was tempted to ignore the “He said, She said”, but to set the record straight below is my response to ALLEGEDLY slanderous allegations made via Twitter.

 “In light of serious allegations made by the sisters Sarah and Kate Desmarais arising from a take away order on Friday night, we have decided to respond in this manner to all our loyal patrons.

On Friday night at 20:13 @5arah_D tweeted the following: "A little extra something in my starter at @takumi_sushi cc: @Eat_Out @JamieWhoSA @foodie_za" To which no response was received from @Takumi_sushi

The Tweet contained a link to a photo, allegedly a dish she had ordered from the restaurant. Link has conveniently been omitted
This tweet was followed on Monday at 13:07 with a tweet from @katedesmarais, which read: "@miss_moss my sister found a cockroach in her @Takumi_sushi tofu starter on friday night. When she complained the chef threw it at her."

The original tweet received almost no response, while the second has since been responded to or retweeted more than 15 times, most focusing on the chef's alleged reaction. Only then was a response received from @Takumi_sushi, threatening legal action. No apology yet.

Our version of the events is as follows:

The take away order in question was placed telephonically on Friday night as is normal practice and consisted of nine items, including a tofu dish "yodofu". The total bill was R399. They were told to keep the R1 change

The order was collected at the restaurant at approximately 19:15, by who we assume to be Sarah Desmarais. Accompanied by my mother as my parents were having dinner with me

She returned approximately 30 minutes later to the restaurant to ask for more soy sauce sachets for the order. A handful was given to her free of charge. I live nearby and returned no more than 10 minutes later once the 6 x 3ml Kikkoman sachets provided were opened and it was discovered this was nowhere near enough for the 9 items ordered. After spending R399 I should hope these were provided free of charge

She returned again another 30 minutes later, after trying to stomach the rest of the meal this time to show an insect in an almost empty take away container. It’s not a particularly large dish and the container was nowhere near full to begin with- max. 1.5 pieces of tofu were consumed before the discovery was made (We use transparent plastic take away containers for starter dishes at Takumi, different from what is pictured in the @5arah_D tweet) I prefer not to eat out of plastic and polystyrene, thank you

She first spoke to the waitress who took the take away order, I asked the waitress who greeted me at the door to show the container to the chef- she was not the same waitress who gave me the takeaway order initially and the manageress if there was a manageress present, she did not identify herself to me who in turn went to kitchen to discuss it with sushi chef Hatsushiro.

Hatsushiro apologised for the incident absolutely no apology was received from Hatsushiro, he only repeatedly denied that the insect could have come from his establishment and invited her into the kitchen to inspect the cleanliness thereof and to show her how the "yodofu" dish is made. He showed her that the risk of such a contamination in the kitchen is highly unlikely and enquired whether it could have happened after the order had left the restaurant especially since an hour had transpired since it was collected. I certainly did not spend R399 to plant an insect in my food and ruin a dinner party as is being implied

Five chefs eyewitnessed the exchange between chef Hatsushiro and the customer as the kitchen had come to a stand still to deal with this matter.

Hatsushiro picked the tiny again, link to photo notably absent insect out of the take away container and dropped it on the floor next to his feet why would he do such a strange thing- in reality he flung it in my direction, it landing on my left between my feet and one of the chefs standing next to me. Either way, not very hygienic for a chef to be discarding insects on the floor of a kitchen. It appeared to be a Christmas beetle; not a cockroach 6 legs- bottom line is whatever insect it was it should not have been in my food

Hatsushro offered to replace the dish or to refund the cost thereof, but the customer responded that it would not be necessary and that she merely wanted to inform us of what she had found. He did nothing of the kind, only denied that it came from the kitchen saying “you see, not here” repeatedly, and my response to this was that I had merely wanted to inform him of what I had found. I left the kitchen and restaurant shaking my head.

We would like to apologise again Finally! to the customer. We believe it is highly unlikely, but nevertheless possible, that the insect could have originated from our kitchen.

We however reject the false and slanderous statements that a cockroach had been "thrown" by chef Hatsushiro at a customer.

Regardless, as an apology we would like to offer @5arah_D two R500 vouchers to use at Takumi for the inconvenience suffered. I hope the pun in Kristen Pretorius’ facebook comment is intended- I was not looking for a “free bee”- one insect was enough for me thank you! Takumi can keep their R1000 worth of sushi,  I will just never eat there again, nor recommend it to anyone.

We however, in turn, request an apology via Twitter for the false statements made. We have also requested the contact details of the sisters Desmarais should further steps be required.

On the bright side, this incident has also resulted in a new house rule: all take away orders to be inspected and OK'd by the customer before if leaves the premises. And hopefully the chef(s) will inspect all the dishes before they leave the kitchen

(Original text from the Takumi facebook page)

I will not be responding any further on this matter

Sayonara henna nihonjin