Public health officials in Valencia, Spain are investigating a Michelin-starred restaurant after 30 patrons reported illnesses, including a 46-year-old woman who died on Sunday.
The unidentified woman fell ill after dining at Riff with her husband and son on Saturday, Feb 16. She experienced symptoms of food-poisoning, including vomiting and diarrhea, before succumbing to her illness Sunday morning. Her family also experienced symptoms, but recovered, according to CNN.
In a report by Spanish newspaper El País, Health officials who inspected the restaurant determined that 26 other diners had also experienced symptoms of food-poisoning, but were unable to find any concrete causes for the outbreak. Samples of ingredients from the menu were then submitted for toxicology tests. Inspectors determined that the affected diners had visited the restaurant between Feb. 13-16.
The restaurant, Riff “specializes in fashionable European cuisine and Mediterranean food” according to its website. It opened in 2001 and earned its first Michelin star in 2009, one of the highest culinary honors in the world a restaurant can receive. Entrees at the high-end dining establishment cost around $40 USD, in addition to a $150 tasting menu.
Head chef Bernd Knöller released a statement expressing his despair over the incident and announced that the restaurant is in full compliance with health inspectors and will remain closed until the cause of the outbreak is confirmed. Riff did not immediately return a request for comment.
Morel mushrooms, which were used in one of the dishes on the tasting menu, are a luxury ingredient that can cause gastric distress if cooked improperly. However, regional health chief Ana Barceló stated that investigators are waiting on autopsy results before concluding the exact cause of death, according to El País.