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Celebrity TV chef culture is undermining recruitment, say top chefs

22 February 2010 by
Celebrity TV chef culture is undermining recruitment, say top chefs

Celebrity TV chef culture is undermining recruitment, say top chefs The cult of the celebrity TV chef is ruining the quality of new recruits to the industry, according to several top chefs. Masterchef Read the full article in Scotland on Sunday >>

Pub group London Town agrees pre-pack administration deal
Pub group London Town has struck a pre-pack deal with administrators from Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PwC) in a move anticipated early last week. PwC has appointed Christie + Co to seek buyers for 44 unwanted properties from a total estate of 350 pubs. This creates a headache not only for tenant families but also for pub giants Enterprise Inns and Punch Taverns, to whom many of the leases will revert as London Town comprises many pubs the two companies offloaded ahead of the 2006 smoking ban. Bill Buchanan, chief executive and finance director at London Town for 18 months, will lead the new group that emerges from the pre-pack. London Town started as a property group before moving into pubs four years ago with the purchase of 167 pubs from property investor Jack Petchey. The company which delisted from the AIM market last week, breached its borrowing covenants in both 2008 and 2009. - 20 February, Read the full article in the Guardian >>
US restaurant chain Ruby Tuesday to launch in UK
US restaurant chain Ruby Tuesday - named after the Rolling Stones song - is set to make its UK debut with the opening of a franchise store in Cardiff this June. The brand, which was founded in 1972 by a group of Tennessee University students (including current chief executive Sandy Beall) currently has more than 900 owned and franchised outlets that turn over more than $1.4b (£905m) a year. Initially a bar and grill concept, the chain now focuses on the top end of the casual dining sector. The group has four more UK openings in the planning stages and says they will reflect the brand's American origins but will also offer local foods and beers alongside the chain's mix of North and South American foods. - 21 February, Read the full article in the Sunday Times >> Chez Gérard and Caffè Uno owner faces second restructure
Chez Gérard and Caffè Uno owner Paramount Holdings faces its second restructure in less than a year with the appointment of accountant Grant Thornton to head up a review of the group. Paramount, which has 70 sites, is majority-owned by three banks who took control following a shake-up last summer by writing off its debts in return for a stake in the business. Former Hilton International boss Sir David Michels, currently deputy chairman of Marks & Spencer, was appointed as chairman of Paramount last month. - 21 February, Read the full article in the Sunday Times >> Wyndham Worldwide on cusp of buying Hoseasons
Wyndham Worldwide - the US owner of the Ramada, Days Inn and Howard Johnson hotel chains - is close to clinching a £40m-£45m deal to buy Hoseasons, the British holiday company that specializes in boating trips and short breaks. Wyndham already owns a number of holiday businesses in the UK including English Country Cottages. The deal is expected to be completed within the next few weeks. - 21 February, Read the full article in the Sunday Times >> Roadchef to replace Premier Inns with Days Inns
Motorway service group Roadchef has dealt a blow to Whitbread by deciding to axe the 14 Premier Inn budget hotels on its sites in September because of disappointing sales. It intends to replace the hotels with the Days Inn brand. - 21 February, Read the full article in the Sunday Times >> McDonald's and Starbucks in the dock over sharp objects
An 18-year-old teenager escaped serious injury after finding a five-inch wire brush embedded in the meat in a Chicken Legend sandwich his mother had bought from McDonald's Kidderminster branch. His mother Ms Stephens reported the incident to Wyre Forest District Council's food safety team after complaining that the store's bosses had laughed about the incident and only offered an exchange. McDonald's said it had launched an 'urgent' inquiry. Meanwhile, the Daily Mail reported that a family was suing Starbucks after their 10-month-old baby stabbed herself in the mouth with a used syringe that had been left in an armchair in the Starbucks outlet in the Bullring Borders bookshop in Birmingham in March 2006. The Shipley family said it had resorted to the courts after failing to get an apology and admission of responsibility from Starbucks. - 20 and 21 February, Read the full articles in the Daily Mail and the Mail on Sunday >>
Mosque canteen shortlisted for Scottish Restaurant Awards An informal mosque canteen in Edinburgh run by 50 volunteers which donates its profits to charity has been included in a shortlist of the country's top eateries in the Scottish Restaurant Awards, which will be judged tomorrow. The Mosque Kitchen serves simple fare based on home cooking on paper plates which diners eat with plastic knives on communal tables under a corrugated plastic canopy. The judges praised the canteen for its authentic flavours and generous portions sold at reasonable prices - a lamb curry with rice will cost just £4, or nothing if diners look hard up. The charity venue was launched to counter anti-Muslim feelings after the 9/11 attacks. "We used to just serve food to people who came in for prayers. But we wanted to be able to provide everyone with a decent meal for a very low cost so we opened up," said spokesman Mohammed Akbar. "Our goal is to provide good, inexpensive food in humble surroundings." - 21 February, Read the full article in the Sunday Times >>

French fast-food chain's halal move sparks political storm
French fast-food chain Quick has provoked a political storm by electing to sell only halal meat in eight of its 362 outlets. The group, which is mostly owned by a French state investment arm, pioneered the move in towns with large Muslim populations last November to test the growing market for halal food, estimated to be worth €4bn (£3.5bn) a year. But far-right politician, Marine Le Pen, this week denounced the "halalburgers" as an "Islamic tax" on French consumers while the Socialist mayor of Roubaix, in northern France, slammed Quick's decision as "un-Republican", "discriminatory" and "sectarian". Quick countered that while the eight restaurants served burgers made from halal beef, they also sold non-halal foods such as fish, cheese and beer. - 19 February, Read the full article in the Independent >>
Madrid restaurant was secret haven for WWII refuges
A new book has revealed that the Embassy, one of Madrid's most famous restaurants, served as one of British Intelligence's most successful escape routes out of Nazi-occupied Europe. La Clave Embassy by Patricia Martinez de Vicente revealed that, between 1939 and 1942, an average 10 people a week (including Jewish families, political refugees, escaped PoWs and downed RAF crews) hid in the flat above the café on the final leg of their journey to freedom. The Anglo-Spanish author's father - a doctor and lawyer - had devised the escape network. He was the first to test it, and used it to escape the Gestapo in 1942, fleeing to London to run it until the end of the war. The restaurant had been popular with the Spanish elite since 1931. - 21 February, Read the full article in the Sunday Express >>
By Angela Frewin

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