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Table talk

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That’s vacate, not evacuate

We all know that pilfering items from hotel rooms is something of a national sport. However, a new survey shows that unscrupulous hotel guests will grab just about anything. Those searching for enlightenment make off with light bulbs and Bibles. And some ingenious devils among the 500 guests surveyed confessed to snaffling shorts from the minibar and topping them up with water for vodka or cold tea for whisky. Female guests are more likely to pilfer than their male counterparts, according to the study carried out by insurance brokers Hill House Hammond. Sixty-eight percent of women and 59% of men admitted to pinching goods from their rooms. The light-fingered liberty-takers made off with everything from soap and shampoo to telephone directories, bedding and clocks.

Medium Mel, hold the Liz and Larry

The latest newsletter of the London Tourist Board reveals the ravenous appetite of one former diner at Scotts restaurant in Mayfair. The restaurant was apparently “a regular haunt for such famous people as Marlene Dietrich, whose favourite dish was the seafood platter, Elizabeth Taylor, Sir Laurence Olivier and more recently Mel Gibson”. All on the same plate?

The new face of food hygiene

Johnny Vegas is to front a new campaign to improve food hygiene. The comedian is the face of a new Web site, Good2Eat, aimed at preventing food poisoning in young people. He said: “I might not seem like the natural first choice for a food hygiene initiative, but I think that’s why I was approached in the first place. I love food and I was shocked to hear that so many people are ill each year because they don’t take food hygiene seriously.”

Up to 4.5 million people suffer from food poisoning each year and nearly 300 die as a result. Vegas himself admitted he’d been lucky to escape with just “the odd dicky tummy”. One of his priorities will be to encourage teenagers and students to take simple precautions like washing their hands before preparing food. We look forward to Vegas’s campaign for sensible drinking.

Singular malt

A rare bottle of the Macallan 60-year-old single Highland malt whisky was sold for £20,150 to an anonymous collector at a Glasgow auction last week. It is the highest price ever paid for a single bottle of whisky. The whisky was casked in 1926 and bottled in 1986. It is one of only 40 bottles of its kind.

The haddie of them all?

Following Greene King’s first acquisition of pubs in Scotland (see page 10), it now has the job of selling its Hungry Horse food concept not only to customers but to its new Scottish employees. Marketing director Adam Collett is determined not to get off on the wrong foot: “We don’t want to make patronising changes. It won’t be called Hungry McHorse, that’s for sure.” Menu items such as Cow Pie and the 20oz Megasaurus steak all served on 17in oval plates should remain unchanged, but Collett added: “Haddock is the fish of choice in Scotland so we will have to think of a new name for our fish and chips dish – at the moment it’s called Good Cod Almighty.” All suggestions gratefully received.

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