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Jamie Oliver programme brings Rotherham to boiling point – For more hospitality stories, see what the weekend papers say

06 October 2008 by

Jamie Oliver programme brings Rotherham to boiling point
Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver has been warned to stay away from Rotherham after furious locals claimed his new C4 programme, Ministry of Food, made it appear the Yorkshire town was full of "dumbos" and "numpties". The programme highlighted cash-strapped parents who had never cooked a meal for their children and people who ate takeaways nearly every night. Oliver picked the town to launch his campaign to teach people to cook after local mothers undermined his 2005 campaign to improve school meals by posting junk food through the school railings. Former chef Alan Dale said: "My message to Jamie is to stay away from Rotherham. Feelings are running high because he has made us look like complete idiots." Oliver's spokesman and the programme producer said the first programme had focused on downtrodden areas because poverty was an important reason why people could not cook. They promised that following episodes would redress the balance. - 4 October, Read the full article in the Daily Express >>

Scottish councils in revolt over free school dinnersRead the full article in Scotland on Sunday >>

Fat Duck cookbook goes on sale for £100
Three-Michelin-star chef Heston Blumenthal this month releases what may be the world's weightiest, most exclusive cookbook. The Big Fat Duck Cookbook weighs more than 12lb (excluding its silver, duck feather-embossed box) and is almost as wide as a standard-sized hob. Its 516 illustrated pages will allow members of the public to sample dishes from Blumenthal's world-famous Fat Duck restaurant in Bray, which his experiments in molecular gastronomy have made one of Britain's most talked-about venues. That is assuming that the readers' kitchens are equipped with an atomiser, a vacuum chamber and a laboratory-style centrifuge - and that they know how to source such esoteric ingredients as spray-dried carrot powder, maltodextrin DE19, yellow pectin and golden frankincense tears. 5 October, Read the full article in the Observer >>

Sandelson in talks to buy back GuestInvest
GuestInvest founder Johnny Sandelson is believed to be in talks with an equity investor to buy back the buy-to-let hotel operation from administration. While analysts have questioned the viability of the GuestInvest business model, its collapse is also thought to be linked to the recent woes of HBOS, which is currently subject to a rescue takeover by Lloyds TSB. HBOS, which supplied most of GuestInvest's £120m of debt, owns an estimated 50% of the development company and almost 20% of the management company. The insolvency does not affect two of the group's five London properties - Guesthouse West and luxury hotel Blakes (which is in a subsidiary company but would form part of any sale). Sandelson is confident that creditors will be paid once the Jones and Nest hotels in Bayswater open their doors. The group was also developing part of The Brewery in Chiswell Street and was in discussions to turn part of Somerset House on the Strand into its sixth property but had not signed any deals. GuestInvest is understood to have attracted interest from a number of other parties. - 4 October, Read the full article in The Times >>

Hotels and restaurants hardest hit by economic crunch
The latest CIPS/Markit survey of the UK's three big sectors suggests that hotels and restaurants are bearing the brunt of the economic slowdown. The survey found that jobs were being shed in response to falling demand as the service sector, which accounts for 70% of economic output, suffered its sharpest slowdown since the survey began 12 years ago. According to Roy Aycliffe, director of professional practice at CIPS, hotels and restaurants were "by far the worst hit" part of the service sector. He said consumer spending had been hit by stagnant real incomes, rising prices and the credit crunch. - 4 October, Read the full article in the Guardian >>

Melton Mowbray pork pies win protected status A 10-year campaign to win protected status under European law for the Melton Mowbray pork pie has succeeded after no member countries posted objections by the deadline on Friday. The pies' new Protected Geographical Indicator status means that only pork pies made in the traditional manner in and around Melton Mowbray in Leicestershire can use the town's name. Local county councillor Matthew O'Callaghan - a vegetarian who has led the campaign - commented, "It has been a long campaign and it has inspired others. You now have Cumberland Sausage and Jersey Butter following what we did." The distinctive bow-shaped pies containing grey, fresh porkmeat are worth £50m a year to the Melton Mowbray market. - 4 October, Read the full article in the Daily Express >>

Pizza Hut and KFC to post calorie content in US restaurants
Fast food chains Pizza Hut and KFC (which are both owned by Yum! Brands) plan to put information about calories on the menu boards in their US restaurants in a move that may be imported to the UK. Calorie content will appear alongside the product's name and price. Nutritionists said the initiative was "groundbreaking" and would put pressure on other fast food outlets, such as McDonald's, to follow suit. A spokesman for KFC and Pizza Hut in the UK said: ‘All our nutritional information is available in store and online. However, we are reviewing ways to provide nutritional information to our customers, including calorie count. This initiative will be reviewed over time." - 5 October, Read the full article in the Observer >>

By Angela Frewin

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