News Update: La Sierra Regains Perfect Rating in Quick Action

  • La Sierra achieved a 48 hour turn-around to restore their 100 percent, perfect score for food handling procedures and equipment.

    La Sierra achieved a 48 hour turn-around to restore their 100 percent, perfect score for food handling procedures and equipment.

(FRAZIER PARK June 28, 2009 4 p.m.)—La Sierra Restaurant owner Veronica Camacho took quick action last week to call the Kern County Environmental Health Department to investigate and help her to re-certify all food handling systems and training procedures with personnel. Within 48 hours she had identified and remedied problems. Yesterday a shiny "A" rating was restored to the popular Frazier Park restaurant, and the parking lot is filling up again as diners arrive, eager to show their support.

(FRAZIER PARK June 23, 2009 10 a.m.)—Diana Wilson of the Kern County Environmental Health Department confirmed today that the owner of La Sierra Restaurant in Frazier Park called them first thing this morning to ask for an inspector to come to help analyze all their facility to solve any possible problem. Wilson said that will take place this afternoon.

Patron Peter Kjenaas said, "Once it’s all fixed, I will go back without hesitation." He was one of those interviewed for yesterday’s report. He said La Sierra is his family’s favorite restaurant.

Wilson said that the only report their department has received regarding La Sierra is from the owner herself.

By Patric Hedlund

(FRAZIER PARK June 22, 2009 4 p.m.)—The owners of a local restaurant reported today that they plan to ask equipment suppliers and the Kern County Environmental Health Department to assist them in re-certifying all aspects of their food handling system.

The restaurant has an “A” rating from that department as of July 31, 2008, with a score of “100 percent” for “good food handling practices and overall food establishment maintenance and sanitation.”

No negative reports have been given to the Kern County Department of Public Health, according to Pam Goodchild in an interview Monday, June 22.

The restaurant owner, Veronica Camacho, was informed Monday that some diners contacted The Mountain Enterprise to say they believe they had encountered something that caused discomfort within 24 to 36 hours of visiting the La Sierra Restaurant. Camacho said she was mystified but would take immediate action to confirm that all systems are inspected.
“We use only high quality foods,” Camacho said. “We are very careful. But I am concerned to hear of this and we will take action.”

She said she has been in the restaurant business for 14 years without incident.

“We know the inspector and will ask him to come over as soon as possible to help us figure out if there is something we should do,” Camacho said.

Matt Constantine, director of the Environmental Health Department, said that he is not aware of their office being contacted by anyone from the Frazier Park area with a concern, but said they receive several reports a day from other locations throughout the county. He said Diana Wilson at 862-8734, the Food Program Supervisor, is the person to call to make such a report.

An inspection history posted on the Environmental Health Department’s website shows that La Sierra also received an “A” rating on November 19 2007. For one week in 2008 it had a “B” rating for a series of minor violations, including lack of paper towels at a hand washing sink and the handle of an ice shovel slipping down into the ice, but these minor violations were corrected and the “A” rating restored the following week, on July 31, 2008. No inspection visit is reported for 2009.

Constantine said the restaurant owners appear to be responding to the informal report “in a very responsible way.”

Peter Kjenaas of Lake of the Woods said his family was affected. “We’ve speculated that maybe it had to do with the ice machine or soft drink dispensers,” he said.

Constantine said his department seeks to be helpful. “We will work with them. We are not punitive. We will go in and help them identify if there is some kind of break in the food safety chain,” Constantine said.

“It is our favorite restaurant, and we want them to do well as a business,” Kjenaas said.

This is part of the June 26, 2009 online edition of The Mountain Enterprise.

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