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Tom Aikens to regain control of restaurant empire – For more hospitality stories, see what the weekend papers say

10 January 2011 by
Tom Aikens to regain control of restaurant empire – For more hospitality stories, see what the weekend papers say

Tom Aikens to regain control of restaurant empire Michelin-starred chef Tom Aikens has teamed up with an unnamed overseas restaurant group to buy back his restaurant empire, which went into administration in 2008 with debts of £3m. The two Chelsea venues and the restaurant at Somerset House were revived with the aid of internet entrepreneur Peter Dubens, but Aikens fell out with Dubens last autumn over plans to convert six of Paramount Restaurants' Il Bertolli sites into the Tom's Kitchen brand. - 9 January
Read the full article in the Sunday Times >>

Britannia Hotels tipped to buy Pontins Cheshire-based hotel group Britannia has been tipped as the favourite to buy the Pontins holiday camp company that collapsed into administration last year. Pontins five venues have continued to trade while buyers were sought by KPMG, which has received 10 offers for the business. Other potential buyers include private property investor Richardson Group, hospitality investor Bhanu Choudrie, and a consortium including Pontin's previous owner, Graham Parr. - 9 January
Read the full article in the Sunday Times >>

JD Wetherspoon sues property agent JD Wetherspoon has filed a High Court writ against property entrepreneur Anthony Lyons - a co-founder of the Davis Coffer Lyons business - in a continuation of the pub chain's battle against "greedy" property agents. Lyons is accused of participating in the "fraudulent and dishonest" sale of pubs to Wetherspoon by its former advisor Van de Berg, which Wetherspoon has successfully sued. Van de Berg was found guilty of breaching its exclusivity agreement by selling pubs it was going to lease to Wetherspoon to third parties and thus increasing the pub operator's rents. Lyons is alleged to have acted as an agent for the third party buyers on a limited number of deals. - 9 January
Read the full article in the Sunday Telegraph >>

Caffé Nero refinances to fund expansion Caffè Nero, the coffee bar chain founded by Gerry Ford, has refinanced its £140m debts as it plans to return to pre-recession rates of growth. The group currently operates nearly 500 stores and plans to open 50 new stores in the UK this year and another 40 venues overseas, doubling its international presence. - 9 January
Read the full article in the Sunday Times >>

Pubs allowed late opening for royal wedding The Government is expected to announce this week that pubs and bars will be able to stay open late for two nights to celebrate the royal wedding without needing permission from licensing authorities. They will able to keep serving until 1am on the day of the wedding, Friday, 29 April, and on the following Saturday. Many people are predicted to take a long break between the Easter weekend and the wedding weekend, which are both bank holiday weekends. - 9 January
Read the full article in the Mail on Sunday >>

Celebrity chefs back ‘unpopular fish' campaign Celebrity chefs Jamie Oliver, Gordon Ramsay, Heston Blumenthal and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall are backing a Government campaign to get the notoriously conservative British public to eat less popular fish species such as dab, coley, gurnard, pouting and pollard. Tuna, salmon, cod, haddock and prawn account for 80% of the fish consumed by Britons. Fishing for Markets aims to reduce the overfishing of popular species and end the waste of the nine million tonnes of fish dumped each year because there is no market for it. The chefs will contribute recipes to Fish Fight, a Channel 4 season of programmes that start next week. Project researchers will also visit top restaurants to ask diners, owners, chefs, maitre d's and waiters what influences their choice of fish. - 8 and 9 January
Read the full articles inThe Timesand theSunday Express>>

Michel Roux Jnr to elevate front-of-house work in TV series Three-Michelin-starred chef Michel Roux Jnr, chef-patron of Le Gavroche in Mayfair, is out to tackle the British aversion to front-of-house work in restaurants. In a new eight-part BBC series, Service, Roux trains eight young people in the skills of a variety of front-of-house settings, including a high street chain restaurant, an Indian restaurant, haute cuisine in Paris, bespoke dining at Mayfair's Westbury hotel, a country house hotel in Dartmoor, and Le Gavroche. Roux said he had been "shocked by the negativity and lack of respect" he met initially, but was "overjoyed" by the progress made by the trainees. The best two performers will win six-month scholarships with the Academy of Food & Wine to train as a maitre d' and sommelier. - 9 January
Read the full article in the Independent on Sunday >>

Cypriot court to rule on disputed Moscow hotel project A Cypriot court will decide later this month the fate of the Moskva Hotel Project, a plan to covert an historic building in the centre of Moscow into a Four Seasons hotel, following a wrangle between two Russian oligarchs. The court slapped an injunction on the assets of Suleiman Kerimov after rival Ashot Egiazaryan alleged Kerimov had wrested control of the hotel complex from him. The injunction has complicated Kerimov's plans for a $24b (£15.5b) merger of two giant Russian fertilizer companies. - 9 January
Read the full article in the Sunday Express >>

By Angela Frewin

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