By Tanya Mok
A greasy ventilation system is to blame for the Ram in the Rye and Oakham House Cafe’s most recent conditional pass from Toronto Public Health.
According to Eric Newstadt, the general manager of Ryerson’s two most popular eateries, the joint kitchen received a conditional pass after its Nov. 30 inspection due to “expected and unavoidable” grease build up in the overhead airways.
“The inspector was a little unreasonable for citing us for that infraction,” said Newstadt, maintaining that the kitchen hires ventilation cleaners once every three months, which is double the frequency of the manufacturer’s recommendations.
According to Toronto’s DineSafe inspection report, this is just the latest violation that the restaurants have been charged with, having violated five Ontario Food Premises Regulations in 2010.
Minor infractions included failing to ensure proper employee hygiene and inadequate pest control, while failure to protect food from contamination was listed as the establishment’s only crucial infraction.
The kitchen was given 48 hours to correct these violations and after health inspectors confirmed that significant changes had been made, the conditional pass was upgraded to an unqualified pass.
“We’re not making any excuses,” said Newstadt. “It won’t be happening again.”
This is the third time since December 2008 that both establishments have been given conditional passes. That year they had six infractions, but as of Nov. 9, 2010 they only had one.
Norine Schofield, a Toronto Health Inspector, says that the conditions of restaurants are reflective of the people that run the business.
“You simply cannot put the public at risk,” she said. “It’s like your home; you’re either a pig or you’re not.”
The Ram and Oakham Cafe aren’t the only food venues on Ryerson’s campus that have gotten multiple conditional passes in the last few years. On Dec. 7, the Hub Market Cafeteria received a conditional pass, it’s second since July 27.