The Caterer
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By gum, nearly fell off the wagon there, Tony

09 November 2006

Hospitality Action laid on a charity treat last week when the Ark Foundation's Peter Kay and chums prepared a slap-up five-courser at South Downs College in Waterlooville, Hampshire. Among the punters was former Arsenal skipper and close buddy of Kay, Tony Adams.

But the evening almost went horribly wrong when one of our reporters was forced to tackle Adams as he reached for one of Heston Blumenthal's "alternative" petits fours. While the fruit jelly looked innocent enough, it was in fact a whisky gum - not ideal for a recovering alcoholic - although Blumenthal assures us the booze would probably have burned off.

Not that Adams isn't used to a bit of temptation - his wife, Poppy Teacher, is heiress to the Teacher whisky dynasty.

Riddle of compass big guns at humble leaving do

Family reunions are heart-warming occasions. A chance to catch up with people you haven't seen in a while and swap old stories. We hear Compass recently held such a bash at Rutland Ale House in Hammersmith, London.

Two secretaries were leaving the company and it booked the venue for a send-off party. A fairly low-key affair, you might think. Apparently not. Among the 100 or so guests were former chief exec Mike Bailey and American head honcho Gary Green, who'd both jetted in from the USA specially. Blimey, that's devotion for you. There must have been some pretty interesting conversations over the Twiglets and wine that evening.

We can only applaud Bailey and Green's obvious commitment to the Compass family. Assuming they paid for their own flights, that is…

Rival reporter must have wished he had a twin, too

There was a slightly embarrassing occurrence last week when a member of the Caterer team attended the opening bash of Tom Aikens's new restaurant, Tom's Kitchen. And no, it didn't involve a teaspoon. The reporter said goodbye to Tom, only to realise later that he had actually had a conversation with his twin brother Rob.

The pair are apparently the spit of each other. Rob is a chef at Citigroup in New York, but we hear he may be coming back to the UK to set up in business with Tom.

It was a slightly more embarrassing evening for the editor of a certain coffee-table rival hospitality mag, though, who was also enjoying Tom's hospitality. The problem was that he was supposed to be at an Ark charity fundraising bash instead.

Apparently his empty chair didn't go unnoticed. Quaffing Champagne at a swanky restaurant is clearly too much of a temptation for some.

Enough to give the buyout team a bilious attack

And so the spate of hospitality robberies goes on. Last week we learned about how thieves nicked a till and a bag of cement from Tom Aikens's new place a few weeks before it opened.

Now news of further wrongdoing has reached us, this time at Conran Restaurants - although the bandits got away with a bit more this time. We hear they broke into the group's Farringdon offices in London last week and swiped all the computers.

Is someone setting up a new restaurant somewhere with all this nicked equipment?

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Jacobs Media Group is honoured to be the recipient of the 2020 Queen's Award for Enterprise.

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