Whatley Manor's Martin Burge is Independent's Chef of the Year – For more hospitality stories, see what the weekend papers say

16 November 2009 by
Whatley Manor's Martin Burge is Independent's Chef of the Year – For more hospitality stories, see what the weekend papers say

Whatley Manor's Martin Burge is Independent's Chef of the Year
Read the full article in the Independent >>

Scottish Government advised to give free school dinners to all primary pupils An expert panel commissioned by the Scottish Government is recommending that all primary school children should be given free school dinners. At present, around 44,000 primary one, two and three pupils get free meals, but the Government plans to extend this from next August to all children in the first three years in a bid to tackle child obesity. This extension would benefit another 118,000 children at a cost of £30m, which cash-strapped councils say they cannot afford. The panel's suggestion of further extending the free meal provision to the last four years of junior school would cover another 200,000 pupils and cost an extra £50m. The idea was greeted with astonishment by councils and opposition MPs. 15 November, Read the full article in Scotland on Sunday >>

Lloyds to take over Admiral Group in £600m debt-for-equity swap
The future of Admiral Taverns will this week fall into the hands of the Lloyds Banking Group, which has been forced to take on a £600m debt-for-equity swap in the pub group as a result of its ill-fated merger with HBOS. The group of more than 3,000 pubs, which was built up by the Landesberg and Rosenberg families on the back of an £850m loan from HBOS in 2004, hit difficulties after falling behind on repayments of debt in excess of £1b. Lloyds is expected to take control of Admiral via a pre-pack administration, to wipe out up to £600m of company debts, and to write off a £120m loss on interest-rate swaps. - November 15, Read the full article in the Sunday Times >> Cookery schools in demand among recession-hit city professionals
Cookery schools are experiencing a surge in demand from recession-hit bankers, lawyers and traders who have been made redundant or are quitting the rat race. Westminster Kingsway College, which trained Jamie Oliver and Antony Worrall Thompson, said half of a 24% rise in enrolments were adult learners, including former bankers seeking a change in direction. Career changers account for around two-thirds of the 96 people on the professional diploma at Leiths School of Food and Wine in London. Tante Marie in Surrey, which is part-owned by Gordon Ramsay Holdings, has switched focus from short to longer courses (now 95% of turnover, from 50% pre-recession) to meet demand for professional training. The BBC's MasterChef competition is also attracting interest from people who want to switch careers, including 2008 winner James Nathan, a former barrister, who is now working as a demi chef de partie for Rick Stein. - 15 November, Read the full story in the Independent >>
2005 Chateau Petrus judged the best for 100 years Expert opinion that the 2005 Chateau Petrus claret is the best vintage for 100 years is expected to send prices soaring. The wine - produced on a 30-acre, family-owned estate in Pomerol, near Bordeaux - has already been fetching more than £4,000 a bottle but will not reach peak maturity for another 10 years. Older versions of the claret sell for up to £12,000 in Gordon Ramsay's Petrus restaurant in London. The 2005 vintage will have a scarcity value as only 2,400, 12-bottle cases have been produced. According to specialists, the hot, dry summer of 2005 produced smaller than usual grapes of superb maturity, yielding wines of outstanding concentration, - 15 November, Read the full article in the Daily Mail >>
Green distillery falls foul of malt whisky ruling Scottish plans to redefine malt whisky as a spirit made only by batch distillations in old-fashioned copper pot stills will threaten an eco-friendly brewery outside Glasgow that has pioneered more efficient distillation methods. The award-winning Loch Lomond Distillery - which makes the UK's third most popular blended whisky, High Commissioner - has developed a single-still method that has cut energy use by 7% and saves the release of 1,400 tonnes of CO2 a year. If the redefinition passes into law on 23 November, the group will be forced to close the still or lose millions of pounds off the value of its product by reclassifying it as a grain, rather than a malt, whisky -even though it looks tastes and is matured like malt. The Scotch Whisky Association insists the redefinition would protect Scotch whisky from unfair competition around the world. - 15 November, Read the full article in the Observer >>
Drugs tsar wants to test synthetic alcohol in Scotland
Drug expert Professor David Nutt - who was sacked as a government adviser for claiming ecstasy was less harmful than alcohol - wants to test a synthetic alcohol in Scotland that creates the effect of drunkenness without damaging internal organs. Nutt sees Scotland as the perfect test bed because it tops the world league for liver cirrhosis and alcohol-related damage. He said people could enjoy the substitute he is developing at Imperial College in London, then take an antidote before leaving the pub and driving home. It could be ready to market within three years. The Scottish Government is currently proposing a minimum price per alcohol unit to tackle the £2.25b cost of alcohol to the country's public services and economy. - 15 November, Read the full article in Scotland on Sunday >>

By Angela Frewin

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