Michelin-starred chef arrested

LAST UPDATED: 20 Oct, 2008 @ 10:48
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A leading female chef has been accused of selling toxic shellfish

Toñi VicenteA FEMALE chef has been accused of selling shellfish from dangerously contaminated rivers.

Toñi Vicente, owner of the same name Galician restaurant has been detained along with nine others for allegedly selling scallops illegally harvested from Ferrol’s busy port estuary.

The arrests follow a two-month police investigation into the alleged illegal fishing and marketing of banned shellfish.

Shellfish from the Ria de Ferrol have been banned because they are thought to contain high levels of a toxin that can cause Amnesic shellfish poisoning (ASP) which leads to memory loss.

Among those detained are half a dozen fishermen and several other restaurateurs in the region who all face four years in prison if found guilty of crimes against public health.

The regional restaurant association assured the public that there had been no recorded poisonings of diners as a result of seafood consumption in the region.

Scallops are included in many of the dishes offered at the Toni Vicente restaurant, in Santiago de Compostela.

Frommer’s guidebook describes the eaterie as “the finest and most flamboyantly international restaurant in Santiago”.

A scallop salad with balsamic and truffle dressing appears on the starter menu for 22 euros. Other dishes include scallop and potato ravioli and ‘scallops gratinadas’.

Ms Vicente, 55, cooked a meal for former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in September 1988 when she came to Spain on an official visit.

The following year the chef gained a Michelin Star for her previous restaurant Sibaris, the first establishment in Galicia to be awarded the accolade.

Ms Vicente, who has been released pending charges, told local media that she would defend her “professional honesty”.

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