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Deathcap dinner cooked in a commercial kitchen. Harmonie Club named.

By johnboy - 5 January 2012 49

News have the terrifying information that the stunningly lethal deathcap dinner was cooked in a commercial kitchen here in Canberra:

HEALTH authorities in Canberra say the meal which contained death cap mushrooms that killed two people was prepared in a commercial kitchen.

The ACT Health Directorate says the food was for a private meal and no food containing the poisonous mushrooms was given to any member of the public.

In a statement, the authority said the premises in Canberra have been inspected and there is no risk of exposure to the public.

This being ACT Health we are, of course, not trusted with the information as to which kitchen was involved.

Friends will tell you I’ve never been keen on mushrooms (indeed have been accused of not being a funghi *boom tish*), but I’d be wary of the straw mushrooms from Canberra’s more “authentic” Chinese restaurants myself in future.

UPDATE: The Australian reports that it appears to have been the Chinese Bistro at the Harmonie Club.

LUI Jun was a hardworking 38-year-old Chinese chef who made a fatal error of mistaking the toxic “death cap” mushrooms for a common edible variety used in Chinese cooking.

For a year Mr Lui had worked at the Chinese bistro at Narrabundah’s Harmonie German Club, serving food to Canberra’s Chinese community and others who regularly attended the inner-south restaurant for his cooking.

Each week he would send his pay cheque back to his wife, 11-year-old daughter and a seven-year-old son he supported in China’s Hunan Province.

It was at this bistro where he met the other victim of the accidental New Year’s Eve poisoning — Tsou Hsiang, 52, who had also left family behind in China to work in Canberra as a casual kitchen hand.

What’s Your opinion?


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49 Responses to
Deathcap dinner cooked in a commercial kitchen. Harmonie Club named.
dpm 9:27 am 06 Jan 12

kas said :

Why is the Dept Health not monitoring more thoroughly these shonky operations such as the Harmonie German Club – I have been in that restaurant and it was clear they were hiring illegal workers to run the operation. This is an outrage that the two people who were cooking for members of the public were in the country on tourist visas which is illegal and they have put public health at a great risk. This is simply unacceptable in a first world country! We are paying our taxes, and it is time this government started delivering on it’s services to the citizens of Canberra

1. Breathe in deeply using your diaphragm.
2. Hold for a second or two.
3. Breathe out effortlessly.
4. Repeat for 10 minutes.

There, you should be feeling a little less panicked! Or you could try using a brown paper bag and run around yelling ‘Im a teapot, i’m a teapot!’ Hahahaha!

KB1971 9:26 am 06 Jan 12

kas said :

Why is the Dept Health not monitoring more thoroughly these shonky operations such as the Harmonie German Club – I have been in that restaurant and it was clear they were hiring illegal workers to run the operation. This is an outrage that the two people who were cooking for members of the public were in the country on tourist visas which is illegal and they have put public health at a great risk. This is simply unacceptable in a first world country! We are paying our taxes, and it is time this government started delivering on it’s services to the citizens of Canberra

Assume = Ass out of u & me.

Where did you get the illegel immigrant information from? Nothing in that article, it just said they were working here & was sending money back home which is a regular practice for many immigrants.

Post some links to back up your claims or I will call BS.

Jim Jones 9:23 am 06 Jan 12

kas said :

Why is the Dept Health not monitoring more thoroughly these shonky operations such as the Harmonie German Club – I have been in that restaurant and it was clear they were hiring illegal workers to run the operation. This is an outrage that the two people who were cooking for members of the public were in the country on tourist visas which is illegal and they have put public health at a great risk. This is simply unacceptable in a first world country! We are paying our taxes, and it is time this government started delivering on it’s services to the citizens of Canberra

How is it clear that the Harmonie Club was hiring illegal workers? Where did you find the information that the cooks were on tourist visas?

dpm 9:15 am 06 Jan 12

Tomo said :

“but I’d be wary of the straw mushrooms from Canberra’s more “authentic” Chinese restaurants myself in future” Innuendo and fearmongering – IS THIS NECESSARY?

I thought it was a bit OTT, but assumed JB was (bluntly!) trying to coerce them into releasing the restaurant name….?
I’d imagine that the next few months would be the safest time to eat shrooms at a restaurant/cafe, after this.

ThatUniStudent 9:08 am 06 Jan 12

I’ve seen a whole pile of mushrooms growing on the grounds of ANU but won’t touch them because I’m simply not confident of telling them and death caps apart. I’d rather pay dollars at a shop than save a few cents and cark it a few hours later. I have read up on how to tell death caps apart from regular mushies, but really, you need to know what you are doing and what you are talking about. Spore patterns, gill types, and so on. Not worth the risk.
Interestingly, the wikipedia article on deathcaps already mentions this case.

johnboy 9:02 am 06 Jan 12

Tomo said :

“but I’d be wary of the straw mushrooms from Canberra’s more “authentic” Chinese restaurants myself in future” Innuendo and fearmongering – IS THIS NECESSARY?

“(For those wondering we at RiotACT put Tom O’Dea in touch with The Oz following an approach by Lanai Vasek)” Incorrect, I had spoken to her prior to getting your email.

Facts are good!

You’re the one who said this is an easy mistake for a chinese chef to make.

I’ll take the note out.

kas 8:49 am 06 Jan 12

Why is the Dept Health not monitoring more thoroughly these shonky operations such as the Harmonie German Club – I have been in that restaurant and it was clear they were hiring illegal workers to run the operation. This is an outrage that the two people who were cooking for members of the public were in the country on tourist visas which is illegal and they have put public health at a great risk. This is simply unacceptable in a first world country! We are paying our taxes, and it is time this government started delivering on it’s services to the citizens of Canberra

poetix 8:18 am 06 Jan 12

Now we know that one of the victims was a chef who cooked the meal, perhaps there should be an education campaign directed particularly towards newly arrived people in that line of work on this issue.

Tomo 8:18 am 06 Jan 12

“but I’d be wary of the straw mushrooms from Canberra’s more “authentic” Chinese restaurants myself in future” Innuendo and fearmongering – IS THIS NECESSARY?

“(For those wondering we at RiotACT put Tom O’Dea in touch with The Oz following an approach by Lanai Vasek)” Incorrect, I had spoken to her prior to getting your email.

Facts are good!

KB1971 6:44 am 06 Jan 12

Henry82 said :

kakosi said :

very worrying that they may have been commercial cooks and didn’t know poisonous mushrooms grew in Canberra

You’re assuming that the “chef’ was trained locally, and the food standards certificate or whatever it’s called covers mushroom identification. Pretty easy mistake to make imo, thats why i don’t pick mushrooms unless they’re from the fruit & veg section at coles/woolworths.

The trick is not to pick mushies that are under trees or have white underneath. The old field mushroom is harmless, especially if it is growing next to a pile of cow poo, they are the best.

I would/will not let this event stop me from eating wild mushrooms as I dont dabble in the odd ones, just the common ones and know what to pick.

Henry82 12:16 am 06 Jan 12

kakosi said :

very worrying that they may have been commercial cooks and didn’t know poisonous mushrooms grew in Canberra

You’re assuming that the “chef’ was trained locally, and the food standards certificate or whatever it’s called covers mushroom identification. Pretty easy mistake to make imo, thats why i don’t pick mushrooms unless they’re from the fruit & veg section at coles/woolworths.

Madman 11:46 pm 05 Jan 12

Well….. That same day I saw cops storming an Asian restaurant in Dickson right next to zeffereli’s.
Food for thought….?

poetix 11:08 pm 05 Jan 12

Whenever I go to a Chinese restaurant, I have mushrooms, as my husband doesn’t like them much so we don’t tend to have them at home. Also they are seen as good for vegetarians. (!)

So it seems based on other information, that some of the victims found the mushrooms and got the restaurant to cook them, a bit like people will sometimes have fish cooked that they caught. But I am dismayed that I can’t know which restaurant knew so little as to prepare these.

Until I know this I won’t be going near any mushrooms in an Asian restaurant.

By the way, some of the comments on the News site about the one man who is still alive and awaiting a liver transplant (if I have got the details right) are simply appalling.

BimboGeek 10:49 pm 05 Jan 12

Mushrooms are disgusting. Partly because they are slimy, sporey crimes against nature but mostly because THEY WANT TO KILL YOU!!

kakosi 10:47 pm 05 Jan 12

very worrying that they may have been commercial cooks and didn’t know poisonous mushrooms grew in Canberra

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