Let's hope it wasn't a turbulent flight
Top bods at Café Rouge owner Tragus have taken the development of its new Spanish Ortega brand very seriously. Ahead of its Essex launch this July, the executive team visited Barcelona to plunder local restaurants for inspiration. Alas, they drew the short-tentacle on the last night of their trip when they ate a meal of dodgy octopus - which made for a very uneasy return flight. No surprise, then, that the eight-legged beasts will not be featuring on Ortega menus.
I bet he feels as sick as a parrot Ill-judged press release of the week award goes to Sector Skills Council People 1st. Sniffing a gilt-edged opportunity to raise its profile, the organisation's PR machine swung into action and jumped on the Marriott/Spurs lasagne bandwagon. With a slight whiff of sanctimony, top boss Brian Wisdom said the case highlighted "the potential impact of food poisoning". Wisdom went on to blame inadequate food safety training and urged the industry to put it at the top of the skills agenda. All very right on, except the hotel was exonerated and the illness blamed on an unconnected virus. No "own goal" jokes, please.
The judges must have been playing their joker Hospitality Action's "It's a Knockout" charity knees-up in London's Holland Park two weeks ago was a fine excuse for industry players to don chicken suits, clamber up foam-covered slides and punch plastic demolition balls at each other. But was some crazed six-foot comedy rooster also responsible for adding up the scores? A certain yellow-topped weekly hospitality magazine was the only team to win all of its events - in magnificent style, we would add - but somehow finished third. We'll let you decide whether it's a case of "fowl" play or sour grapes.
A quick stop? No, this is Worth a special visit
Good news for weak-bladdered drivers on the M6. RoadChef has revamped its Sandbach motorway service area in Cheshire - labelled as "the worst in Europe" by the AA two years ago. It was slated for its poor food, messy restaurants and filthy loos. Now, after a £750,000 cash injection, the ritzy new site boasts "two attractive outdoor patio areas", "a redesigned foyer", a meeting room that holds 10 people and - cue fanfare - more plug points.