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Review of the year: Top 20 stories of 2016

20 December 2016 by
Review of the year: Top 20 stories of 2016

As 2016 draws to a close, we look at some of the year's most popular stories, including Tom Sellers attacking Fay Maschler, Carrie Wicks leaving Firmdale and of course April's chef's arse revelations.

1. Monica Galetti to open Mere in January 2017

Monica Galetti 2015
Monica Galetti 2015

2. Philip Howard leaves the 
Square as restaurant is sold
 to Marlon Abela

PhilHoward2016 150
PhilHoward2016 150
Philip Howard - the two-Michelin-starred chef who has been at the helm of the Square for 
25 years - revealed he was stepping down from the business after the sale of the restaurant to Marlon Abela. The Square - one of London's most lauded restaurants - has joined the MARC (Marlon Abela Restaurant Corporation) portfolio of restaurants, which includes nine outlets in the capital and on the east coast of the US.

Originally opened in 1991 in London's St James's, the Square was awarded its first Michelin star in 1994. Two years later it relocated to Mayfair and in 1998 was awarded two Michelin stars. Later in the year, Howard launched Elystan Street on he site of what was Restaurant Tom Aikens in Chelsea, in partnership with restaurateur Rebecca Mascarenhas.

3. Scientists announce breakthrough cure for 
'chef's arse'
April (1 April, to be precise) saw scientists announce a breakthrough cure for a painful complaint suffered by chefs the world over, known colloquially as 'chef's arse'. Help could now be at hand if a new cure developed by Swiss medics in the De Riere Institute in Lausanne is approved. The treatment comes in the form of a spray, which is administered shortly before a shift and forms a temporary permeable, breathable layer over the affected area. It can last for up to eight hours.

4. Chef Tom Sellers turns table 
on critic Fay Maschler after scathing review

tom sellers
tom sellers
Michelin-starred chef Tom Sellers wrote a tongue in cheek riposte to a scathing review of his new London restaurant, Ours, by London Evening Standard restaurant critic Fay Maschler, effectively reviewing the reviewer. His response appeared to gain support on social media from fellow chefs and the public alike. Maschler penned a less than positive review of Restaurant Ours, which opened in Chelsea in May, criticising the menu design, the food, service, pricing and even staff uniforms, although she did like the chips. The chef hit back with a review of the reviewer on his blog, seeking to correct what 
he saw as inaccuracies and throwing out a 
few brickbats of his own.

5. Soho House & Co unveils 'London's most ambitious hotel project'

ned
ned
Soho House & Co unveiled plans to open a 252-bedroom hotel with nine restaurants and bars in the city of London. The Ned hotel - which is a joint venture between Soho House and US hotel owner and developer Sydell group - is set to launch in spring 2017, at 27 Poultry, 
a Grade I-listed building, which once housed the headquarters of the Midland Bank. Nick Jones, founder of Soho House & Co and 2015 Hotelier of the Year, announced the details at a reception at the property. Designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens in the 1920s, the impressive Portland stone building is located close to the Bank of England and the Guildhall. Ned was the nickname of Sir Edwin, one of the UK's most eminent architects who also designed the Cenotaph in London and the British Embassy in Washington. The managing director of the hotel will be Gareth Banner who until recently was general manager at the five-AA-star, 245-bedroom St Pancras Renaissance hotel for nearly three years.

6. Michelin stars for 2017 
revealed at live event

Harbour-&-Jones--michelin150
Harbour-&-Jones--michelin150
It emerged in August that the names of restaurants being awarded new Michelin stars in Great Britain and Ireland would be announced on 3 October at a live event. The event, to mark the publication of the Michelin Guide Great Britain and Ireland 2017, was the first of its kind.

7. Michelin names 18 new one-star restaurants as Fat Duck regains three-star status

Michelin guide 2016
Michelin guide 2016
The Fat Duck regained the three Michelin stars that it held before relocating to Melbourne, Australia, for six months. Michelin also announced one new two-star and 18 new one-stars in its Michelin Guide Great Britain & Ireland 2017. The Raby Hunt in Darlington, County Durham, was the only new two-star property. Run by chef-patron James Close, the restaurant scrapped lunch service last October in an attempt to improve staff quality of life and creativity among its chefs. Meanwhile, the new one-Michelin-star restaurants included the Ritz London, Forest Side in Grasmere, Cumbria, and Trinity in Clapham Common, London.

8. Claude Bosi to close Hibiscus after 16 years

claude bosi bibendum
claude bosi bibendum
Chef Claude Bosi announced the closure of his two-Michelin-starred restaurant Hibiscus, in Mayfair. The restaurant closed for good on 
1 October 2016 after nine years in London. It later emerged that Bosi would open a new venture in London on the site of Bibendum in South Kensington.

9. Giraffe owner buys 33 Ed's Easy Diners, 26 in administration

Ed's Easy diner ruled 150
Ed's Easy diner ruled 150
Food industry tycoon Ranjit Boparan acquired part of restaurant chain Ed's Easy Diner via Giraffe Concepts for an undisclosed sum. 
The deal saw Giraffe Concepts, owned by Boparan Restaurant Holdings, which also counts other restaurant concepts such as Harry Ramsdens, FishWorks and the Cinnamon Collection in its stable, take on 33 Ed's Easy Diner restaurants and its head office, safeguarding around 700 jobs.

10. Chewton Glen named number one in Hoteliers' Hotels Top 100

Chewton Glen 150
Chewton Glen 150
Iconic country house hotel Chewton Glen, which this year celebrates its 50th anniversary, was named as the best in the country by the UK's leading hoteliers. The five-red-AA-star, 70-bedroom property, on the edge of the New Forest in Hampshire, was voted number one on the inaugural Hoteliers' Hotels Top 100 list, unveiled by The Caterer and Sky. Compiled by the UK's leading hoteliers and verified by some of the nation's pre-eminent hotel experts, including hotel journalist Fiona Duncan, Giovanna Grossi and fellow AA hotel inspectors, and senior editors at The Caterer, the full list was revealed at a glittering reception at London's Ham Yard hotel, which itself was ranked number 15.

11. Simon Rogan steps away from Midland hotel restaurants in Manchester

Simon Rogan
Simon Rogan
Chef-restaurateur Simon Rogan stepped away from the Midland hotel in Manchester, three years into a five-year contract. Rogan, as proprietor of Umbel restaurant group, and the four-AA-star, 312-bedroom property, owned by QHotels, terminated the contract at the end of October. The decision was said to be mutual and amicable. Rogan was brought on board in 2013 to breathe new life into the French restaurant, which has been existence since the Midland opened in 1903. A year later, he opened a second outlet at the hotel - the more informal Mr Cooper's House & Garden. Adam Reid, head chef at the French during Rogan's tenure, has remained in the role, while Robert Taylor, who joined the Midland as head chef of Mr Cooper's in March this year, also continued in his position.

12. Carrie Wicks leaves 
Firmdale Hotels

Carrie Wicks
Carrie Wicks
Carrie Wicks left her role as operations director of Firmdale Hotels after nearly 20 years with the company. Her departure from the group of nine boutique hotels was unexpected and sudden. 
A spokesperson for Firmdale confirmed that she had gone, but was unable to elaborate as to the reason why. Wicks has long been regarded as an integral part of the team - alongside founders Tim and Kit Kemp - that has created in Firmdale one of London's most successful independent hotel groups. Later in the year she was appointed chief executive of the South African-based Leeu Collection.

13. Cateys 2016 winners revealed

catey statue 2
catey statue 2
World-renowned chef and restaurateur René Redzepi, respected hotelier Bea Tollman and Cornwall's greatest hospitality ambassadors were among those honoured with a prestigious Catey award on 5 July.
Redzepi, credited with running one of the most influential restaurants of our time in the shape of Copenhagen's two-Michelin-starred Noma, picked up the International Outstanding Achievement Award and in so doing joined a very select band of winners, including Nobu Matsuhisa and Daniel Boulud.

Tollman, who has led the Red Carnation Hotel Collection for the past 32 years and has created a legacy in 17 individually designed properties that make up one of the most admired hotel groups in the world, was the winner of the Lifetime Achievement Award. Meanwhile, the Special Award went to Jill Stein and Rick Stein who have built a global brand, as well as nine restaurants, four shops, 40 bedrooms, a pub and a cookery school over the past 41 years. The winners of those three awards were among the 22 recipients of a Catey.

The awards also saw Sam and Eddie Hart win Restaurateur of the Year - Independent. Longueville Manor, St Saviour, Jersey, won Hotel of the Year - Independent; and three-Michelin-starred chef Clare Smyth, formerly of Restaurant Gordon Ramsay, won the Chef Award.

14. Justin Pinchbeck leaves the Berkeley to open new hotel

Justin

Justin Pinchbeck
Justin Pinchbeck
left London's Berkeley hotel, where he was general manager for three years, to take up the role of chief operating officer of a new luxury country house hotel and golf resort in the former Surrey home of media magnate Lord Beaverbrook. He took up his new position at Beaverbrook, previously known as Cherkley Court, near Leatherhead, in the spring. The property was acquired by Longshot, headed by Joel Cadbury and Ollie Vigors, in 2011. The golf course, which was designed by five times Open winner Tom Watson and architect David McLay Kidd opened in the summer, alongside the Garden House restaurant and cookery school, while the 40-bedroom hotel and spa is expected to launch next year.

15. Thomas Kochs appointed 
MD of Café Royal

Thomas Kochs
Thomas Kochs
Thomas Kochs, formerly general manager at Claridge's, was appointed managing director of the Café Royal, London. He became the first managing director for the 160-bedroom hotel following the departure of two general managers - Louis Sailer and Anthony Lee - since the property opened in 2012, following a £200m refurbishment.

16. Acorn Award winners announced

acorn awards 2015
acorn awards 2015
In a milestone year for the Acorn Awards, 30 of the industry's most promising stars under 30 were celebrated in June. Now in their 30th year, the ACT Clean-sponsored Acorn Awards have recognised 900 of the industry's top talent, including the likes of Craig Bancroft, Stephen Doherty and Marco Pierre White.
This year's winners were recognised at a networking weekend at Chewton Glen in Hampshire, receiving their trophies at a ceremony presented by The Caterer editor Amanda Afiya, and co-founder and director of ACT Clean, John Stevenson, before an address from former Acorn winner and Tredwell's chef patron Chantelle Nicholson.

They were welcomed to Chewton Glen by managing director Andrew Stembridge and took on a series of team-building exercises led by activity organiser Team Spirit, testing their problem-solving, strategy and teamwork skills.

17. Peyton and Byrne in administration as Sodexo 
buys public contracts

Peyton and Byrne logo 150
Peyton and Byrne logo 150
Sodexo bought Peyton and Byrne's public contracts business after the company, founded by Oliver and Siobhan Peyton, entered a
pre-pack administration. The administration 
is thought to have arisen after Peyton & Byrne lost its contracts at the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew and the British Library.

18. Koffmann and Rogan take honours at AA Hospitality Awards 2016

Pierre Koffmann
Pierre Koffmann
Pierre Koffmann and Simon Rogan were among the big winners at the AA Hospitality Awards 2016, which also saw four restaurants promoted to five AA rosettes. Held at the Grosvenor House hotel in London on 26 September, the awards were handed out to winners in 23 categories. Already one of Britain's most celebrated chefs, Rogan won AA Chef of the Year 2016. It has been another successful year for Rogan, who owns L'Enclume in Cartmel, Cumbria, and also runs Fera in London. Koffmann was honoured with the AA Lifetime Achievement Award.

19. Brexit immigration curbs 
could 'push hospitality to 
the cliff edge'

Ufi Ibrahim BHA
Ufi Ibrahim BHA
The UK hospitality industry could be "pushed to the cliff edge" by Brexit unless more is done to safeguard the future of the workforce that keeps it running. That was the stark warning from British Hospitality Association (BHA) chief executive Ufi Ibrahim in November while speaking as part of a panel discussion the Global Restaurant Investment Forum (GRIF) London briefing.

Ibrahim pulled few punches when asked 
about the effects of Brexit on the hospitality sector, which according to BHA estimates contains 700,000 workers from the EU, making up around 15% of the total workforce nationwide, with a higher proportion than that in the major 
cities, in particular in London.

"I really cannot underline the severity 
of the potential implication of that as of 
1 January 2019 [the date on which the UK would leave the European Union if Article 50 is invoked on 1 January 2017], the government will stop access to an EU migrant workforce. It will have a devastating effect on our industry. It is serious initially and within two years we think that it 
will be quite catastrophic," she said.

20. Trump targeted by demonstration at 
Turnberry Hotel relaunch

Donald-trump rexfeatures 150
Donald-trump rexfeatures 150
Donald Trump's Ayrshire golf resort Trump Turnberry was besieged by protesters in June as the then presidential candidate attended its official relaunch. The protest, organised by Stand Up To Racism, was aimed at Trump, who was at the relaunch of the 103-room property, following its eight-month, £200m refurbishment.

It was prompted by Trump's controversial statements during his presidential campaign, including a call to keep Mexicans out of the 
US by building a wall along the border and 
for a ban on all Muslims entering the US.
Trump went on to be elected as the new US president, prompting local newspaper the Buchan Observer to run a story with the headline: "Aberdeenshire business owner wins presidential election."

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