lAS FORTE continues its search for a European hotel group – most recently it attempted to buy Ciga and Méridien – the City has been looking for signs that it might dispose of its 68% stake in the Savoy Group.
It could be a Freudian slip, a subtle indication of intent or merely an innocent throwaway line, but in an interview with Caterer, Forte’s communications director Richard Power remarked: “We have been investing in Savoy for 12 years, but we have huge opportunities in our own business and can’t waste too much time getting tied up with peripherals.” In around a decade of trying to win control of the group, Forte has never previously treated the Savoy as peripheral.
lTalking of Freudian slips, in Caterer’s January contract catering survey we mistakenly said Summit Catering had been taken over by Compass. Just three months later, our error has become a self-fulfilling prophecy. compass has just taken over Summit’s Midlands company.
lTHE Japanese love of raw fish is legendary, and it appears to know no boundaries. Selling like fury in Tokyo at the moment are tins of tuna fish eyes at £10 a go.
lTOY manufacturers know that the secret to success lies in spotting which hero children want to pretend to be. That is why tough guys like Action Man, Hulk Hogan and the team of International Rescue have been big business in the past few years.
But there could be a new youth icon on the horizon – the chef. Hornby is about to launch a diminutive four-burner oven for children, which will cook real food.
So, instead of playing at fighting villainy and injustice, children can now bang tiny pans on the stove, slam the oven door and model themselves on Lenny Henry’s TV action chef Gareth Blackstock.
lTHIS exchange overheard in an Edinburgh pub suggests the growing importance of food sales in pubs is not yet universal. A customer ordered two pints and two packets of crisps. The barman rasped back: “Crisps? This is nae a flaming restaurant!”
lZANY is a description well earned by Glasgow Hilton manager Bill Paisley for his unique approach to marketing. But his latest wheeze runs the risk of offending those in Scotland who believe the country should discard the old image of kilts, porridge and och aye the noo in favour of the modern Scotland of culture, style and heritage.
The Glasgow Hilton’s latest short break package has staff encouraged to address guests as “wee mon” or “Big Yin” according to stature, a badge for guests to wear walking around the city declaring “I’m a Tourist”, £25 for them to buy a round for the locals in a bar and a dish to remember Glasgow by, haggis soaked in whisky.
lTHE USA’s first culinary theme park has opened in Miami. The 1,000-seat eaterie cost something over £4m to build and is forecasting first-year takings in the region of £10m.
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