Heston Blumenthal has said the mysterious health scare that led to the closure of his award-winning restaurant may have been caused by the norovirus bug.

The ‘culinary alchemist’ temporarily shut The Fat Duck in Bray, Berkshire, for two weeks as a precaution after about 40 diners said they had fallen ill.

The TV chef said the cause was ‘categorically not food poisoning’ and added: “The only thing that has come up is that three staff and five customers have been tested positive for something called norovirus.”

He told Australia’s Hospitality Magazine that support for the restaurant had been ‘incredible’ but that it had been a costly experience at the £130-a-head eatery.

“It’s affected the restaurant big time because had to cancel 800 people because of the closure but in terms of the business and people wanting to come in then no,” he said.

At an early stage, Heston’s team ruled out sabotage and food poisoning as possible causes.

Defending his restaurant’s reputation, he went on: “For the last five years we’ve been sending food off every month for sampling and I don’t know any other restaurant in the country that does that.

“We also have a company that has been looking after all our health and safety stuff for the last five years.”

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