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News in brief

27 April 2006

New chef at the Zetter
The Zetter Restaurant & Rooms in Clerkenwell has appointed Diego Jacquet as its new head chef, following Megan Jones's decision to return to New Zealand. Jacquet was previously executive chef at the Trafalgar, London, where he established Rockwell Bar and Restaurant. He has also spent time as a chef in his home country of Argentina, as well as working as chef de cuisine at Modmed in Sweden. He will gradually rework the restaurant's current modern Italian food into a Mediterranean menu.

Chop'd to expand City of London-based salad seller Chop'd is looking to expand within the square mile during the next two years. The company, which has been trading in Leadenhall Market since December 2004, is looking at sites around Liverpool Street, Moorgate and Ludgate Hill. Chop'd wants six new sites and has already raised £850,000 in funding for expansion, with a further £475,000 from a private equity house and £375,000 in bank loans. Chop'd offers fresh salads, soups and juices.

Annual Awards of Excellence Seven chefs and seven pastry chefs have gained the Academy of Culinary Arts' Annual Awards of Excellence recognition this year. Among those achieving the accolade were three chefs from London's Ritz hotel and a pastry chef from Raymond Blanc's Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons in Oxfordshire. The highest-scoring competitors in each category, along with their counterpart in the restaurant service category, will be announced at a gala awards dinner at London's Savoy hotel on 10 July.

Elliott leaves South Lodge hotel St Julian scholar and Savoy gastronome Rupert Elliott has left the South Lodge hotel in West Sussex for Bahrain. Elliott is to be front-of-house manager at the new Banyan Tree hotel, due to open in August. Elliott had previously worked at Harts Hotel in Nottingham and at Buckingham Palace.

Savoy's Huntley off to Vegas Savoy general manager Mark Huntley has left the hotel after only a year to become executive vice-president at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. Huntley had been with Canadian hotel group Fairmont for more than 20 years and was appointed regional vice-president for Europe and head of the Savoy in February 2005. No replacement has yet been named.

Blunos Springs off to Bath Former two-Michelin-starred chef Martin Blunos is to design the menus for the Springs Café and Restaurant at Bath's long-awaited Thermae Spa. Formerly at the Lygon Arms in Broadway, Worcestershire, Blunos will create the menu and work with the resident head chef Dylan Davey to help source produce and set standards in the kitchen. The Bath spa project started in 1997 but has been beset by problems and delays.

Alpha withdraws shares Alpha Airports has pulled its shares from the London Stock Exchange after questions were raised about the awarding of a major contract last year. It took the decision after auditor PricewaterhouseCoopers refused to approve its accounts for 2005. In a statement to the City, Alpha said the decision was related to "a series of related transactions connected with a major contract". The group denied the move was in relation to an ongoing fraud investigation at the company, which is thought to have cost it up to £2.5m. Alpha is now in legal proceedings against a UK-based third-party supplier in connection with the fraud.

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