What it takes to get five stars – Hartlepool businesses’ pride in keeping your food safe

Lee Pennick outside of Ruskins, Grange Road

Lee Pennick outside of Ruskins, Grange Road

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EATERIE owners in Hartlepool have told of how they try to do their best for customers and about the hygiene ratings they received from a Government watchdog.

Food Standards Agency inspectors gave out the gradings to the town businesses after visits to the premises - with the most up to date scores on the organisation’s website.

Head Chef Chris Burns and Manager Laura Burns outside of Casa Del Mar Marina  Picture by FRANK REID

Head Chef Chris Burns and Manager Laura Burns outside of Casa Del Mar Marina Picture by FRANK REID

Today, several of those ranked spoke to the Mail.

• Click here for the full list of food hygiene ratings for Hartlepool businesses serving food

Chris Wilkinson, head chef at Casa Del Mar, a tapas restaurant at Navigation Point, Hartlepool Marina, said the team were delighted to receive the highest grading of five.

He said: “It’s just basically about looking after the kitchen and the restaurant day to day.

A lot of people start out with good intentions but they don’t continue.

“It’s taking the care to do all the little jobs and keeping on top of everything, making sure nothing gets missed, and ensuring we look after the food and keep the correct records.

“When that all comes together, you receive that top rating.”

Chris, who has worked at Casa for four-and-a-half years, added: “It does make us all feel proud to have such a rating, but then again, it’s what we expect here.

“We wouldn’t want to get below that standard.”

Chow Kee Murray Street  Picture by FRANK REID

Chow Kee Murray Street Picture by FRANK REID

Lee Pennick, owner of The Douglas Hotel and Ruskins Restaurant, said it is “25 to 30 years of experience in the trade” which helped them to get a five star rating.

He said: “It’s hard to keep it up but it’s something that you just do. You’ve got to keep on at it so that standards don’t slip.

“We have the daily routines of keeping everything clean and then we also have a couple of days a year when we shut and refurbish.

“A lot of people start out with good intentions but they don’t continue.”

Ruskins Grange Road  Picture by FRANK REID

Ruskins Grange Road Picture by FRANK REID

Adel Aziz, the manager of the Sambuca restaurant in Church Street, Hartlepool, which received a four-star ‘good’ rating, said: “In the food industry everybody is aiming higher and we are doing the same.

“We always try our best. We are pleased that we got a four but we always will work on that to get more to please our customers.”

Yasan Abbasi, the manager of Istanbul’s Shawarma Shop, in York Road, Hartlepool, said it was disappointing that his eaterie received just a two-star rating - but said it was due to the boiler breaking down on the day the inspectors came. The boiler has since been repaired.

He told the Mail: “When the inspectors came in we had a problem with the hot water because the boiler was broken and that meant we got a two-star rating.

“But they said they are coming back to re-inspect us in May or June and we are confident that our rating will go up.

“We always keep everything very clean and at a high standard.”

The Chow Kee Chop Suey House, in Murray Street, Hartlepool, received a zero rating.

Despite numerous attempts by the Mail to contact the management, nobody was available.