By Sacha Delfosse
The operator of a Sydney venue that has been banned from using liquid nitrogen hopes to work with NSW authorities to develop an industry standard for its safe use.
Sven Almenning, director of the Speakeasy Group – which owns The Roosevelt and Eau De Vie – told TheShout he has sent the Office of Liquor Gaming and Racing a short proposal to suggest that they work to formulate a standard directive for the use of liquid nitrogen in bars and restaurants.
"At The Roosevelt we do for instance have OH&S procedures in place already concerning the storage, use and service of liquid nitrogen in order to protect both our staff and guests," he said.
"Had this been inspected prior to issuing the ban, I have no doubt that we'd still be able to use liquid nitrogen on our premises."
Almenning said the Speakeasy Group is currently developing what it hopes might become the beginning of an industry standard for the safe storage and use of liquid nitrogen in bars.
"We are updating our in-house documents and OH&S procedures into what we hope may become an official guideline," he said.
He said the venue has had to respond to a lot of questions from the public about liquid nitrogen from people who have been scared by "the sensationalism of the reporting".
He pointed out that if the UK incident had involved flambéing, for example, the blame would have been on the chef or the waiter doing it, not the method itself.
"Once people understand that liquid nitrogen is a non-toxic substance that simply needs to be used responsibly like anything else in a bar or kitchen, I hope that this whole thing will blow over," he said.
The ban has had a significant financial impact on The Roosevelt, which invested a lot of money to be able to use and serve liquid nitrogen safely.
"And our cocktail list includes a number of drinks that we now cannot serve thanks to the ban. The fact that the Roosevelt has become so closely associated with LN is having a damaging effect on our reputation," Almenning said.