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

johnboy 6 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.


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49 Responses to Deathcap dinner cooked in a commercial kitchen. Harmonie Club named.
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Bananabanana Bananabanana 10:14 pm 12 Jan 12

thanks Tomo, good work. Heard you on the radio the other day.
Let us know how it all goes.

Tomo Tomo 10:06 am 08 Jan 12

Good morning,

Just an update for you Liu Jun & Tsou Kuei Hsiang memorial fund.

We have now managed to raise over $8000 for Liu Jun & Tsou Kuei Hsiang’s families.

Today the Chinese / Australian church community in Canberra will discuss our efforts with their congregations and we hoping for another big boost in donations as a result of this and ongoing media support with publicizing our appeal.

Yesterday we talked with the Taiwanese embassy and have discussed what assistance they may be able to give, as Tsou Kuei Hsiang was a Taiwanese passport holder.

Sam Wong, AM (Chair, Canberra Multicultural Community Forum (CMCF) Inc & Patron, ACT Chinese Australian Association Inc) contacted me yesterday and is also helping co-ordinate help from the Chinese embassy, the Chief Minister’s office and the broader Chinese community, which is much appreciated.

We released a press release in Chinese to all Chinese media outlets yesterday and hopefully they too will see merit in releasing a story regarding our cause.

Liu Jun’s wife’s and Liu Jun’s sister’s will arrive tonight and a contingent from Canberra will be meeting them at the airport.

We still have a lot of money to raise so we need everyone who is able to pitch in, if 1000 people pitch in $2 each that would take us to 10k, I am hoping to get at least 15K to cover costs for the families.

Thanks again for your help, any queries please let me know.

jinkies jinkies 5:26 pm 07 Jan 12

Deref said :

kakosi said :

Clearly the point regarding a person employed as a chef not knowing what foods (in this case mushrooms) in Australia may be poisonous is the real issue.

You assume that when a chef cooks something he/she hasn’t just picked it up at the park on the way to work.

+1

Is there a basic qualification that chefs serving food to the public need to meet?

It depends on who is hiring you, and how desperate they are for staff. And I’m not talking China.

dungfungus dungfungus 3:55 pm 07 Jan 12

Deref said :

kakosi said :

Clearly the point regarding a person employed as a chef not knowing what foods (in this case mushrooms) in Australia may be poisonous is the real issue.

You assume that when a chef cooks something he/she hasn’t just picked it up at the park on the way to work.

+1

Is there a basic qualification that chefs serving food to the public need to meet?

Apparenrtly not in China.

I-filed I-filed 3:38 pm 07 Jan 12

Tomo said :

At this stage I am unsure as to the funeral arrangements as we need to find out the families’ wishes. Money is definately better than flowers (for the families’ sakes) but there will be a lot of people that want to pay their respects so there will be some sort of commemoration, at some point.

Let’s hope an ongoing relationship will be established between Canberra and the families – I am sure there would be ongoing support and enablement for, say, the kids’ education, and Canberrans would take an interest in outcomes for the families for many years.

Tomo Tomo 2:16 pm 07 Jan 12

At this stage I am unsure as to the funeral arrangements as we need to find out the families’ wishes. Money is definately better than flowers (for the families’ sakes) but there will be a lot of people that want to pay their respects so there will be some sort of commemoration, at some point.

I-filed I-filed 1:41 pm 07 Jan 12

Tomo that is great news – will you publicise the funeral details so Canberrans can send flowers or otherwise pay their respects?

Tomo Tomo 1:16 pm 07 Jan 12

Thomas Neil O’Dea for the Liu Jun & Tsou Kuei Hsiang Memorial Fund

Great news with help from friends, and particularly the Immigration Department and the Australian consulate at Guangzhou we have managed to expedite Liu Jun’s wife’s and Liu Jun’s sister’s visas and tickets have been bought.

They will arrive in Sydney tomorrow. If anyone can help with some hotel accommodation in Sydney for tomorrow it would be most appreciated.

Now trying to get Tsou Kuei Hsiang’s son out. Wish us luck…

We have also have had an offer of free funeral services from Gary Dove at M H O’Rourke funeral home – thank you Gary, this is a truly amazing offer.

The Chinese / Australian community will also be conducting fundraising at church congregations over the coming days.

Thanks to all of you that are helping make a difference for these families.

Thank you to everyone that has made a donation, we have already raised well over $7000. Liu Jun and Tsou Kuei Hsiang’s family would be eternally grateful for your support at this difficult time!

We are still hoping to raise a lot more money so we still need a lot of community support; no donation is too big or small.

ANZ Bank
Account name;
Thomas Neil O’Dea for the Liu Jun & Tsou Hsiang Memorial Fund
BSB;
012084
Account number;
204361633

johnboy johnboy 12:12 pm 07 Jan 12

Many of the very best chefs do wild food.

But one fervently hopes they know what they’re doing.

Deref Deref 11:58 am 07 Jan 12

kakosi said :

Clearly the point regarding a person employed as a chef not knowing what foods (in this case mushrooms) in Australia may be poisonous is the real issue.

You assume that when a chef cooks something he/she hasn’t just picked it up at the park on the way to work.

+1

Is there a basic qualification that chefs serving food to the public need to meet?

Grrrr Grrrr 11:30 am 07 Jan 12

kakosi said :

you often hear on the news that some idiot in Canberra poisons themselves with these mushrooms.

No, you don’t. As best I can tell, the last death in the ACT was 9 years ago.

According to the ABC, Australia-wide there has been 3 deaths and 12 non-fatal poisonings in the last decade.

Are you trolling, or is it just you that’s the idiot?

Tomo Tomo 10:36 am 07 Jan 12

People are intrinsically cheap and stupid it seems.

Not to mention cruel, insensitive, unsympathetic and unworldly.

Don’t let it stop you, I know it won’t.

Fingers crossed your family or friends don’t die by making a mistake or by accident and you then have to endure your own tune, it’s not fun…

dungfungus dungfungus 9:25 am 07 Jan 12

aussielyn says “Don’t let facts stop you jumping to conclusions and posting poison”
I thought the deaths were caused by “eating” poison.
The point some people have being trying to make is that there appears to be some bending of the visa rules and the fact that people coming to Australia for whatever reason do not want to learn English do so at their peril – and for this, we are branded racists and bigots? Give me a break!

kakosi kakosi 11:44 pm 06 Jan 12

Clearly the point regarding a person employed as a chef not knowing what foods (in this case mushrooms) in Australia may be poisonous is the real issue.

You assume that when a chef cooks something he/she hasn’t just picked it up at the park on the way to work.

And let’s not forget that you often hear on the news that some idiot in Canberra poisons themselves with these mushrooms. People are intrinsically cheap and stupid it seems.

Tomo Tomo 9:40 pm 06 Jan 12

Great news with help from friends, the Immigration Department and the Australian consulate at Guangzhou we have managed to expedite Liu Jun’s wife’s visa and a ticket has been bought. She will hopefully arrive tomorrow night in Sydney. If anyone can help with some hotel accomodation in Sydney for tomorrow it would be most appreciated. Now trying to get Liu’s sister and Hsiang’s son out. Wish us luck… Also have had an offer of free funeral services from Gary Dove at M H O’Rourke funeral home – people are amazing!!! Thanks to all of you that are helping make a difference for these families…

Thank you to everyone that has made a donation, we have already raised well over $1000. Liu Jun and Tsou Kuei Hsiang’s family would be thankful for your support!

ANZ Bank
Account name;
Thomas Neil O’Dea for the Liu Jun & Tsou Hsiang Memorial Fund
BSB;
012084
Account number;
204361633

breda breda 8:33 pm 06 Jan 12

As I understand it, the meal was prepared by the chef in the restaurant for a private NYE dinner after it had closed. He seems to have used mushrooms that he picked himself, not realising (as most Canberrans don’t) that the death caps are very hard to distinguish from some common edible types. He would have done that thinking it was a special treat for his friends, super fresh, hand picked mushrooms. It was never suggested that they were used in the restaurant.

I am sure that the word has got round the Chinese community in the last couple of days about the dangers of using hand picked mushrooms in this strange country.

People scoring off this tragedy are lower than a snake’s belly.

jayw10 jayw10 2:54 pm 06 Jan 12

dungfungus said :

This tragedy is an unintended consequence of globalisation whereby we have exotic European mushrooms being grown under exotic English trees being harvested by a Chinese Australian in a city designed by an American and consumed by Chinese Nationals in a German Club situated in a suburb with an Aboriginal name.
Did I miss anything?

BEST

Jim Jones Jim Jones 2:14 pm 06 Jan 12

Nothing like some mushrooms to bring out the racists

aussielyn aussielyn 1:37 pm 06 Jan 12

kas
Your comments are ignorant, thoughtless and heartless regarding this tragedy. Trust you sleep well knowing that you have hurt the family and friends of the deceased. Your knowledge of the operation of this bistro at the Harmonie German Club reveals that you are a bigot of the highest order. Your amazing knowledge of the visa status of people you have only observed in a bistro shows you up as an absolute raving idiot. Don’t let facts stop you jumping to conclusions and posting poison.
RIP Lui Jun

Duffbowl Duffbowl 1:19 pm 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

This is not a cattle truck.

Not sure how you can tell if an operation is run just by illegal workers. Was the service better than at other restaurants? Did the staff seem attentive and willing to assist you?

When you ate at the restaurant, do you mean the bistro downstairs near the bar, or upstairs towards the back? Two different operations as I understand.

Did you read the article, or choose to begin a frantic rant based on a headline? If it was the latter, I’d suggest sticking to the tabloid papers, possibly the Canberra Times if you fancy a challenge. If it was the former, I’d suggest you seek help in comprehension.

What is unacceptable to a first world county? Having people working while on tourist visas; or, having a dodgy private meal in a restaurant that is closed?

To clarify, we are citizens of Australia, not Canberra.

Now, would you care for a mushroom risotto? 😉

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