Dead uncooked pheasants were found next to pre-cooked potato chips, the frozen chicken expired three months ago, and dirt and grease was found all over the kitchen.
You'd recoil in horror if you were to find all these at any eatery. Food safety inspectors probably reacted in the same manner when they found these hygiene lapses at a famous pub owned by the parents of British celebrity chef Jamie Oliver.
Reportedly credited with inspiring Oliver's passion of cooking, the 16th century pub called The Cricketers Pub in Essex, England, was downgraded from the highest rating of 5 to 2 for poor hygiene, reported The Sun on Sunday (Feb 12).
Other problems flagged by inspectors at the gastropub included poor handwashing practices and toast from breakfast being served at dinner.
While they found improvement necessary for hygienic food handling at The Cricketers, they rated the general cleanliness and condition of the facilities as "good" and its management of food safety "generally satisfactory", said the paper.
Before inspectors came a-calling, a customer Sally Gilbey had complained on the pub's Facebook page last September about how a relative had taken ill after eating a mackerel appetiser and a fish main course.
She wrote: "The (sic) steaks - one sirloin & two ribeye were tough! Nothing special about any of our meals at all. My brother & his wife were over from Australia. His wife became unwell on returning home after a couple of hours throwing up! She had mackerel (sic) for starters, & a fish main. Just (sic) too (sic) many things to complain, my brother said l should, after paying over ￡250 for lunch!!! l did expect something out of this world!"
Another Facebook user Nadia Karby posted on Jan 30: "The food was not up to standard. We had to send the steak back as tough as old boots, although staff were extremely apologetic. The chips you can tell had been fried, put into the freezer, taken out and fried again, not nice. Bread was cheap. You expect to have a decent meal at those prices."
Although Oliver, who runs an international Italian food empire ranging from retail products to restaurants, has not commented on the case, a spokesman for The Cricketers said all the issues have been resolved, according to The Sun.
The pub expects to get back up to 5 stars in rating as it awaits an inspection again this month, after it was given three months to make improvements.
The pub's website says: "Jamie and Anna-Marie (Oliver's sister) both worked at the pub when they were very young, with Jamie working in the kitchen and igniting his passion for food, and Anna-Marie in the restaurant".
It describes the owners as "serious pioneers of the pub food revolution", adding that the pub boasts "a reputation for only using freshly prepared ingredients - something the kitchen maintains today".
Apart from being awarded a Certificate of Excellence by the Tripadvisor website, customers have collectively given it a 4-star rating on the same site - a billing that's higher than the three and a half stars that Oliver got for his two restaurants in Singapore.