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Did the Cook Taint the Tacos?

3/14/2007 11:01 PM PDT BY TMZ STAFF

Drew Barrymore, Sandra Bullock and Hugh Grant just had a hepatitis scare. They, along with other stars, including T.R. Knight, Jimmy Fallon and Adam Brody, attended a party following a movie premiere last month -- a party catered by Wolfgang Puck's catering company that used a cook who had Hepatitis A.
Sandra Bullock, Wolfgang Puck, Drew Barrymore
TMZ has obtained a letter sent to people who attended the February 7 party for the movie, "Music & Lyrics." It informs the guests "about a public health issue that has arisen..."

The letter asks the guests to think back if they ate uncooked food at the event. According to the letter, "The following 'uncooked food' was served at our Event:

Mini Potato Skins Bar: Sour Cream, Chives and Vermont Cheddar
Taco/Fajita Bar:
Shredded Lettuce, Chopped Tomatoes, Shredded Cheese, Guacamole, and Sour Cream
80's Comfort Station: Peanut Butter Fluffer Nutters
Pasta Bar: Caesar Salad
Dessert Station: Vanilla Ice Cream, Bowls of Gummy Bears

But here's the problem. In order for guests to protect themselves, they needed to get a gamma globulin shot within 14 days of exposure. In this case, the deadline was February 21. But the letter did not even go out until March 1.

Sponsors of the party tell TMZ that the L.A. County Department of Public Health did not even inform them of the problem until February 28th.

TMZ has done several stories on the 14 events at which the cook in question prepared food. The Department of Public Health only went public with one event -- a Sports Illustrated party. TMZ wanted to put the word out to unsuspecting guests at the other parties, but the Health Department bigwigs refused to disclose the events, saying some were parties hosted by extremely high profile people -- as if that means anything. The Health Department left it to the party hosts to contact their guests but refused to let the media spread the word.

Wolfgang Puck's peeps also would not pony up the events.

The letter claims the Department of Health reassured the hosts "on how very low the risk of infection is...."

Hosts of the "Music & Lyrics" event tell TMZ as far as they know, no one who attended the party contracted Hepatits A.

Calls to reps for both Puck and the Department of Health have not yet been returned.


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2758 days ago


The DPH has confidentiality requirements it has to stick to, just like your MD does.

And.. *ewwwww*

2758 days ago


Hepatits A is transmitted through fecal-oral contact. Usually people eat food prepared by a cook who didn't wash his hands after using the bathroom. That's right ,their shit germs end up in your mouth. I don't know if cooking it or not has any bearing on whether you'll get Hep A .

2758 days ago

GO DOG YOUR THE MAN!!!!!!!    

I guess the celebs would be thinking before they eat anything from an event that Puc was catering I assume this is going to hurt his reputation for the way he's handled it, and his hiring practice.
maybe he should stick to selling his cookware because iI would't eat anything that came out of his kitchen.

2758 days ago


It's absolutely disgraceful that people are not informed -- publicly or privately -- about ANY health risk immediately . . . and not just celebrities . . .but the public in general . . . people with other health problems go about their business everyday unbeknownst to anyone else who could be adversely affected with such a complication . . . and what about pregnant women? . . . or the other employees? . . . it is inexcusable behavior . . . and I for one will not buy anything associated with the Wolfgang Puck brand for a long time . . . why are the rules so different for the rich and famous in this country? . . . when I owned a restaurant I can guarantee you that they would have shut me down in hours given the same circumstances!

2758 days ago


Gross. I cannot believe that they would not make an announcement before the deadline to get a shot. Arent they just setting themselves up for a lawsuit if someone gets it, no matter how unlikely it is that someone contracted it? If they handled it properly, they wouldnt have lost so much business. I would never eat his food, now that i have seen how he has handled this situation.

2758 days ago

Cat Kil    


This site has a face lift but is back up & running!
I am so happy!

2758 days ago

Cat Kil    


This site has a face lift but is back up & running!
I am so happy!

2758 days ago


I think this is the end of Wolfgang Puck. He should of informed his customers of the issue and not waited for the public health dept. Very bad move on Puck's part.

2758 days ago


If there was any question of a problem from the beginning involving a health issue with an employee, they should not have benn hired to handle food. That was stupid.

2758 days ago


Death By Food and I tried to get a job at several resorts in Palm Springs, but was told by a a local church jobs went to Mexicans. Rich people employ them, now they will think twice.

2758 days ago


Yikes - what is going on with our food these days - if it isn't stuff like this, it's Peter Pan PB, Good Seasons Creamy Caesar Dressing, olives - what's next????

2758 days ago


Sorry, but white ppl get Hep A too. It is usually transmitted thru fecal-oral transmission but you can get it from shellfish as well, as well as contaminated water if you travel. Think about all the times you have eaten out, are you absolutely sure everyone who touched your food had good hygeine? Ever seen a really dirty bathroom in a place you love to eat? For that matter, do you share drinks/other things with your friends? Has your parter(s) gotten tested for it? It's so easy to get Hep A, it's highly transmissable. It doesn't care what race you are. Same can be said for Hep B, and that can live on a countertop/ door handle/ railing for 2 weeks. Viruses don't discriminate btwn race sex or orientation.

2758 days ago


There are several strains of hepatitits, each having their own window for innoculation. These people should still get innoculated. A medical pracitioner is the best defense in matters such as this. And why with all of the publicity, did any of these celebs that were at these events not go and get an innoculation as a matter of precaution and potention prevention? Sounds like they were too complacent about the potential seriousness and risks of any of the variant forms of hepatitis.

2758 days ago


Poor wolfe , now he has bitten the hand that feeds him , now who will he feed --- YOU ?

2758 days ago
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