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Gordon Ramsay and Jamie Oliver stop serving endangered eels – For more hospitality stories, see what the weekend papers say

17 January 2011 by
Gordon Ramsay and Jamie Oliver stop serving endangered eels – For more hospitality stories, see what the weekend papers say

A round-up of the weekend's news affecting the hospitality industry. News includes Coffee Republic to unveil new Conran store design; Whisky Mist owners plan new branches in Harrods and Beirut; Wetherspoon boss slams Scotland's supermarket tax and more

Gordon Ramsay and Jamie Oliver stop serving endangered eels Celebrity chefs Gordon Ramsay and Jamie Oliver - who are fronting up Channel 4's season of programmes campaigning against overfishing - have been caught serving endangered eels in their restaurants. The European eel was listed as endangered in 2008 following a 90% plunge in stocks over the previous 30 years. Both chefs, who source their eels from the Dutch Eel Company, removed eels from their menus after being contacted by the Sunday Times. A spokeswoman for Ramsay said the group was reviewing its position, while Oliver's spokeswoman said eels would remain off the Fifteen menu pending further research into the state of eel stocks. Greenpeace campaigner Femke Nagel said there was no such thing as "sustainable eel" as baby eels have to be taken from the wild to be farmed. - 16 January, Read the full article in the Sunday Times >>

Coffee Republic to unveil new Conran store design Coffee Republic is to open a new flagship café with Terence Conran-designed interiors in London's Tottenham Court Road this Tuesday in a bid to move forward from its collapse into administration in 2009 with £3m-worth of debt. Chief executive Tariq Affara - son of the Yemeni-born founder of Coffee Republic's new owner Arab Investments - plans to extend the new airier, lighter design to 20 further sites. "It was almost as if a teenage boy had designed the previous Coffee Republic interiors," says Affara. "They were black and red, quite dark, quite cave-like." Coffee Republic has also revamped its franchise structure, which Affira blames for its failure. The parent company had been named on franchisees' leases, leaving it vulnerable when they did not pay their rent. The group has 135 outlets, including 90 concession in shops and hotels, and has a deal to install coffee machines in 450 Shell petrol stations. - 16 January, Read the full article in the Observer >>

Whisky Mist owners plan new branches in Harrods and Beirut Nick House and Piers Adam are to open a new branch of their trendy London bar, Whisky Mist, in Harrods and are also planning to open their first overseas branch at the Phoenicia hotel in Beirut. The duo has previously talked of opening up to 20 branches of Whisky Mist around the world, with Los Angeles and Las Vegas heading their location wish list. They have also signed a deal to develop a branch of Mahiki, their Mayfair Club, in Dubai where construction has started at the Jumeirah Beach hotel. - 16 January, Read the full article in the Sunday Times >>

Wetherspoon boss slams Scotland's supermarket tax Wetherspoon chairman Tim Martin has slammed the Scottish government's proposed "supermarket tax" as an example of the sort of political moves that have "bedeviled tax issues for decades" and proved a disincentive to job creation. The planned business rate hike for larger retailers will cost them up to 15p in the pound a year extra and is expected to raise £30m for the government. "I think taxes (on business] are too high," commented Martin. "Capricious, one-off taxes that come out of the blue are damaging for business and jobs. We support an appropriate and proper level of tax that produces maximum revenue for government but also provides an element of certainty for business that they can invest." Wetherspoon will open its 50th pub in Scotland on 1 March. - 16 January, Read the full article in Scotland on Sunday >>

Raw materials costs hit profits at Macphie The spiraling cost of raw materials has slashed operating profits at food ingredients and meat supplier Macphie of Glenbervie by 25% to £2.02m in the year to 31 March 2010, despite a 2.6% rise in turnover to £42.8m.. The North-eastern, family-owned firm supplies major food groups such as Greggs. Chief executive Alastair Macphie said only "negligible recovery" had been seen since the recovery, but added, "While these results reflect a challenging marketplace, our underlying business remains resilient and profitable and we are continuing to invest for the future." Staff numbers grew from 266 to 283 during the year. - 15 January, Read the full article in the Scotsman >>

Organic milk healthier than ‘ordinary' milk Researchers at the University of Newcastle have found that organic milk is healthier than intensively-farmed milk, regardless of changes in the weather. Non-organic milk collected during a poor UK summer and following winter had higher levels of saturated fat and few beneficial fatty acids than in more normal years. Milk from organic herds, however, typically had 30% to 50% less saturated fats, higher levels of Omega 3 fatty acids and lower levels of Omega 6, improving the required ratio between the two. The scientists attributed the healthier composition of organic milk in all climates to a more uniform approach to feeding that included grazing on red and white clovers that thrive in the absence of nitrogen fertilizer. - 16 January, Read the full article in the Sunday Telegraph >>

By Angela Frewin

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