Hair catches fire at Mother's Day lunch

Hair catches fire at Mother's Day lunch

The flame from a small culinary torch, usually used to caramelise sugar on creme brulee dessert, resulted in a woman suffering second-degree burns.

The woman, who wanted to be known only as Andrea, was having a Mother's Day lunch at the Clifford restaurant in Fullerton Bay Hotel on Sunday with her mother, who had flown in from Australia.

She was standing near the chef at a food station while he was using the torch on the dessert when her hair suddenly caught fire.

"Suddenly, the fire came towards me. I quickly turned but it was too late," the Australian woman told The New Paper. Her right shoulder, ear and face were also burnt.

A pastry chef said the heat from a culinary torch can be as high as 200 deg C, the newspaper reported.

A Singapore Civil Defence Force spokesman said they were alerted to the incident at 2pm on Sunday and took the woman, who is in her 40s, to the Singapore General Hospital in an ambulance.

When contacted, Fullerton Heritage general manager Giovanni Viterale said "no one else was affected". "Restaurant staff who were near the guest rushed to help her immediately and the other staff called for medical assistance. A hotel staff later accompanied the guest and her mother to the hospital," he said.

He added that the hotel is conducting a review to "prevent the occurrence of similar incidents in the future and to ensure the well-being of our guests".

Mr Viterale said the chef handling the dessert had joined the hotel about a month ago but has about 20 years' experience. "We are extending our full assistance to ensure that she recovers soon," he added.

This article was published on May 13 in The Straits Times.

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