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Jamie Oliver seeks corporate white knights for Ministry of Food centres – For more hospitality stories, see what the weekend papers say

20 September 2010 by

Jamie Oliver seeks corporate white knights for Ministry of Food centres Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver has appealed to businesses large or small to save his pioneering Ministry of Food learn-to-cook centre in Rotherham ](http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2010/sep/19/jamie-oliver-ministry-food-cuts)from closing because of Government spending cuts - and to help open more across the country. Oliver opened the Rotherham centre, which costs £130,000 a year to run, in 2008 with funding from the local council and Government and last year it taught 6,500 people to cook healthy meals using fresh ingredients, with classes being booked months in advance. Other centres in Bradford and Leeds are also threatened by the cuts. Oliver argues that it would be "foolhardy and a false economy" to lose the centres when obesity and related diseases cost the NHS £4b a year. He reckons a Ministry of Food centre in every local authority (at an annual cost of £32m) would reduce this NHS spend within 18 months by teaching three million people a year how to shop, cook and eat well. He hopes to make the centres self-financing by paying them to give children cooking lessons, selling drinks and snacks and attracting corporate sponsorship. - 19 September, [Read the full article in the Observer >>](http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2010/sep/19/jamie-oliver-ministry-of-food)

Richard Shepherd puts Langan's Restaurants on the market Richard Shepherd, one of the first British chefs to win a Michelin star, has put his trophy Langan's Restaurants chain on the market for more than £10m. The group has five restaurants that cater for 700 diners, as well as a collection of restaurants on 11 P&O cruise liners. Its flagship brasserie - a renowned celebrity haunt off Piccadilly famous for selling comfort food in lavish surroundings - was founded in 1976 by Shepherd, the late Peter Langan and actor Michael Caine (who sold his share after Langan's death). It is believed Shepherd has spoken to advisers after receiving approaches from several trade buyers. "I am reaching 65 and don't want to die on the job. I would look for between £12m and £14m for the whole business," said Shepherd. - 19 September, Read the full article in the Mail on Sunday >>

Premier Inn launches £199 wedding and honeymoon deal Budget hotel chain Premier Inn has launched a bargain wedding package priced at just £199 for couples who cannot afford the average £21,000 bill. The deal will be available for 10 couples at five Premier Inn hotels - in Warrington, Swansea, Sheffield, Wigan and Barnsley - from 1 November to 23 December but may be extended if feedback is positive. The price includes a wedding dress and groom's suit from Asda, three boxes of confetti, a wedding cake from Asda, a template for the best man's speech, and a buffet reception for up to 20 guests at the hotel - although they will be limited to one alcoholic beverage each. Also included is a two-night honeymoon at the hotel with dinner and breakfast, a bottle of Asda sparkling wine, chocolates and strawberries, nightwear from Primark, and a rose-petal-strewn bed. - 18 September, Read the full article in the Daily Mail and the Scotsman >>

GMB blames pub tie for decline of rural pubs
The GMB union has accused the pub tie of playing a major role in the decline of rural pubs after the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) revealed that 893 village pubs had closed last year. BBPA chief executive Brigid Simmons said village pubs were pivotal to the life of local communities: "They are a focal point for sports teams, local groups and meetings. In addition they provide a range of community services like post offices and shops. We need a climate that allows these community businesses to thrive." But, according to GMB general secretary Paul Kenny, "It is the artificially high rents and high wholesale prices charged by BBPA pubco members to tied pub tenants that has led to artificially high prices for drinks in pubs and led to drinkers deserting rural and urban pubs in droves." He urged rural campaigners fighting to save village pubs to help the GMB abolish the tie. The union also blamed supermarket prices, publishing figures that showed that alcohol sales in supermarkets in 2009 were 12% higher than in 2002, while on-trade sales had slumped by 25% over the same period. - 18 September, Read the full articles in the Independent, the Daily Mail, and the Daily Telegraph >>

Unwitting public being served halal meat Pubs, sporting venues, schools and hospitals are serving halal meat to customers without telling them that they are eating the flesh of animals that have not been stunned prior to slaughter, according to a Mail on Sunday investigation that found the practice widespread. Welfare campaigners and Government advisory body the Farm Animal Welfare Council say the Islamic ritual slaughter causes significant pain and distress before unconsciousness sets in. The newspaper found that more than 80% of the chicken served in Whitbread outlets was halal, as was all the beef, chicken and lamb sold at Wembley, and all the chicken sold at Ascot and Twickenham. Halal meat was also being served to unsuspecting diners at Cheltenham College, Mid-Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust, and Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Trusts in London. Whitbread said its procurement was based on quality and price and just happened to come from halal suppliers. "It is not mentioned on any of our menus because we don't think there is customer demand for that information. But if people started asking, then we would definitely provide it," said a spokesman. Tory MP Andrew Rosindell, secretary of the Associate Parliamentary Group for Animal Welfare, said: ‘The vast majority of people in this country would not want meat of this origin. The outlets have a duty to let their customers know because some will object very strongly, not least because of the animal welfare implications of halal." - 19 September, [Read the full article in the Mail on Sunday >>](http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1313303/Britain-goes-halal---tells-public.html)

Gordon Ramsay was on News of the World phone-hacking list Multi-Michelin-starred chef Gordon Ramsay has emerged as the latest celebrity to be linked to the News of the World phone hacking scandal. He is among 91 people whose mobile phone number, account number and PIN codes were found in documents held by private investigator Glenn Mulcaire, who was paid £100,000 by the newspaper to obtain information and was jailed for illegally hacking the voicemails of celebrities and royals. Scotland Yard, which holds a list of 4,332 individual found on Mulcaire's database, warned Ramsay a year ago that his voicemails may have been intercepted. Ramsay was accused by the News of the World in November 2008 of having a seven-year affair with Sarah Symonds, a charge he denied. However, there is no evidence that the story stemmed from phone hacking as it appeared nearly two years after Mulcaire was jailed. - 17 September, [Read the full article in the Independent >>](http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/now-gordon-ramsay-is-told-he-was-on-phonehacking-hitlist-2081700.html)

Oktoberfest uses bacteria to mask stink of stale beer Germany's smoking ban has forced this year's Munich Oktoberfest to resort to bacteria to mask the stench of stale beer that was formerly disguised by cigarette. The organisers of the three-week beer festival - which is celebrating its 200th anniversary - have poured a special odour-eating bacteria called Elbomex on the floor of the Hofbräu and other festival tents to kill the smell of the gallons of beer routinely spilled on the wooden floors. The festival organizers expect to easily top last year's festival, where 6.5 million litres of beer were consumed. - 17 September, [Read the full article in the Independent >>](http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/oktoberfest-turns-to-microbe-to-hide-stink-of-stale-beer-2081647.html)

Top restaurants experiment with edible rose petals Edible rose petals are the latest novelty ingredients to appear on the menus of some of the world's leading restaurants to titillate jaded palates. Chefs at El Bulli in Spain, Per Se in New York and Zazu in Quito, Ecuador, are all experimenting with rose petal dishes and desserts such as rose soufflé and drinks such as rose martini, made from petals soaked in vodka for a week. The petals, which contain calcium and vitamin C, are organically grown especially for eating on farms such as Robert Nevado's estate in Ecuador, which has three million bushes under cultivation. Around 100,000 bushes are grown for eating using garlic instead of pesticides to deter bugs. . "It's basically lettuce in rose form," said Nevado, who said it would be a challenge to convince diners that the petals were safe. - 19 September, [Read the full article in Independent on Sunday >>](http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/food-and-drink/news/top-chefs-put-rose-petals-on-the-menu-2083292.html)

By Angela Frewin

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