It started with a nice, warm welcome from the bellhops.
The Westin Lake Las Vegas banquet main kitchen got a 38-demerit C grade, partly due to Health District concerns over cross-contamination.
Inspectors found employees preparing food in the elevator vestibule and back hallways. Food handlers were preparing cooked red cabbage on a garbage can. There was also a wiping cloth so soiled it had turned completely yellow -- but it was still being used to clean equipment.
A food handler was chewing food while slicing customer carrots. Zucchini and squash were stored in a box on the floor.
And food contact surfaces were soiled with excessive food debris.
When 13 Action News asked to see the person in charge, they sent their chief of security.
"Unfortunately, to be on property, you have to have the general manager's permission," Joe said.
We didn't get the chance to ask about anything health inspectors found.
Like the dirty wiping cloth stuffed between cutting boards and pans, the equipment being stored outside in the parking lot, or all the food at unsafe temperatures, including cut melon, salami and pastrami.
There was also a rack with trays of cooked salmon sitting outside the fridge because the fridge was too full.
Health inspectors found foods prepared the previous day at unsafe temperatures due to improper cooling. Those included cooked broccoli and meatloaf which had to be thrown in the trash.
There was also floating debris in the sanitizer, soiled pans in the clean compartment of the sink, and inspectors noted that the person in charge did not have active managerial control over the main kitchen.
The security chief politely escorted us off the property, and though we asked, the Westin declined an on-camera interview.
Instead, they sent the following:
Statement to Channel 13 Dirty Dining:
THIS IS ONLY TO BE POSTED IN ITS ENTIRETY.
The Westin Lake Las Vegas Resort & Spa prides itself in providing delicious and carefully prepared food and beverage in our restaurants and catering facilities. The resort opened in 1999 and has enjoyed a fine reputation, serving hundreds of thousands of meals without a case of food borne illness. The expansive resort operates under approximately twenty different health permits, each maintaining an “A” grade through 2015. The resort was purchased in December 2015 and as part of the Change of Ownership process went through a complete facility Plan Review and Health Inspection with multiple SNHD inspectors. All twenty permits maintained the A grade, consistent with our previous history.
The resort was contracted by a Passover group which held a private function over 10 days in April, with exclusive and complete occupation of all 500 guest rooms (housing approximately 1400 guests) that utilized all of our restaurant and catering facilities. The resort was closed to the public during this event.
The followers of the Jewish faith adhere to very strict Kosher dietary laws that include the procurement and preparation of their food and beverage. During the High Holy days within Passover, these dietary laws are most stringent. Before Passover food preparation begins, all kitchen areas and equipment are meticulously cleaned and sanitized through Kashering process as the private Passover event began.
During the Passover event, a guest contacted the SNHD and reported stomach problems after eating at the resort. The guest had not seen a doctor to receive a diagnosis, and declined to visit a hospital at the request of the SNHD. The Passover Group served over 50,000 meals during the 10 days of the event. The resort was not notified of any illness, and had no reason to believe that any potential existed.
During the preparation of the 50,000 meals, every procedure was monitored by Rabbis whose sole responsibility was to insure that food was being prepared according to their strict Kosher dietary laws.
At the time of inspection, our professional team of Chefs immediately made all possible adjustments directed by the SNHD inspector while maintaining the integrity of the Kosher food preparation that the hotel was contractually obligated to perform.
Only a few of days after the Passover program concluded, senior resort leadership met with SNHD officials and partnered with them to consider the issues listed on the inspection report. The following day, moments after Darcy visited our resort; the same SNHD officer re-inspected the food production area and re-certified its consistent A rating.
The leadership of and staff of The Westin Lake Las Vegas Resort and Spa, appreciates the work being done by Darcy and agrees that food safety is a very real concern for consumers. The resort will continue to work very closely with the SHND to operate the safest possible food service facilities, serving safe and delicious food to our valued local, national and international guests.
The entire staff of our beautiful resort is very distressed to have its unblemished reputation called into question by this unfortunate circumstance involving the religious requirements of the Passover Group and the SNHD, and will continue to work hard to prove that dining at our resort is an outstanding experience in all regards. We trust that the discerning public understands the uniqueness of these circumstances and will confidently continue to enjoy The Westin Lake Las Vegas Resort & Spa for luxurious hotel accommodations, exciting restaurants, and outstanding banquet operations."
General Manager, Asset Manager
The Westin Lake Las Vegas Resort & Spa