French chef Boulud's restaurant fined $1.8m for wire in food

NEW YORK - A piece of metal wire in a plate of coq au vin could cost award-winning French chef Daniel Boulud dearly: a jury has fined one of his restaurants a cool US$1.3 million (S$1.8 million) after a diner swallowed it and needed emergency surgery.

The customer, Barry Brett, went with his wife in February 2015 to db Bistro Moderne on West 44th Street in midtown Manhattan, not far from Times Square. It is one of Boulud's several restaurants in the Big Apple.

Shortly after he began eating, Brett felt a foreign object lodged in his throat and had to leave the restaurant, according to court documents seen by AFP.

The wire eventually caused a potentially fatal infection, his lawyers argued.

The surgeon said the inchlong (2.5cm) wire had come from a cheap grill brush.

A New York jury ruled last week that the restaurant had been negligent, awarding Brett $300,000 and fining the restaurant an additional $1 million in punitive damages. Another US$11,000 went to Brett's wife.

Personnel at the restaurant, which opened in 2001 and is known for its gourmet burgers, declined to comment. Its attorneys were not immediately available.

One of them told the New York Post that they planned to appeal.

Boulud has made New York his hub since the 1980s, but also runs restaurants in Boston, Las Vegas, London, Miami, Montreal, Palm Beach, Singapore, Toronto and Washington.