Gary Rhodes, who recently announced his split from Sodhexo, is setting up a pâtisserie supply business with former chef-pâtissier Martin Dockett. The company will specialise in pâtisserie desserts, ice-creams, sorbets and panna cotta.
The company, named Rhokett, launches today and is targeting UK caterers working in blue-chip companies as well as top-end hotels.
Dockett previously set up Le Glacerie, which made and supplied similar pâtisserie products, but the company went into administration last year.
"Martin has got a great reputation as a pastry chef, and I was so impressed with the quality of product he was producing at Le Glacerie that I very much wanted to be a part of his new company," said Rhodes.
Rhodes has pumped a "substantial amount" - rumoured to be more than £200,000 - into the venture, which is based in Cranbrook, Kent. "I'm a quiet shareholder at the moment," he commented, but he added that he would be taking a more active role in product development later in the year.
Rhokett has already secured British Airways as a customer through its contracter Gate Gourmet.
Speculation is still rife in the industry about whether Gary Rhodes will team up with London's Le Méridien Cumberland hotel (Caterer, 23 January, page 6).
\* Chef-restaurateur Paul Heathcote is looking for a second site in North-west England in which to expand his recently launched pizzeria and grill restaurant, the Olive Press. The pizzeria, launched last October, replaced the café-bar at his Preston outlet of Simply Heathcote's. Heathcote has confirmed he has been looking at possible locations in Manchester and Liverpool.