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Gordon Ramsay and Marcus Wareing battle over the real Pétrus – For more hospitality stories, see what the weekend papers say

08 June 2009 by
Gordon Ramsay and Marcus Wareing battle over the real Pétrus – For more hospitality stories, see what the weekend papers say

Gordon Ramsay and Marcus Wareing battle over the real Pétrus
A war of words has broken out between Gordon Ramsay and his former protégé, Marcus Wareing, with both laying claim to the ‘real' Pétrus restaurant. Wareing set up Pétrus in the London's Berkeley hotel as part of the Ramsay empire but, after a legal tussle, took over the hotel restaurant while Ramsay retained the Pétrus name. Ramsay is opening a new version of Pétrus Read the full article in the Independent >>

New tipping laws may not benefit staff Café Rouge owner Tragus urged its restaurant managers to crack down on staff who encouraged cash tips in a memo sent in late May. A restaurant manager told the Observer that the company threatened to sack staff who persistently pointed out that only cash tips went to workers, as the company uses card tips to subsidise their £6.50 hourly rate by £4. The practice underlined fears that new laws due in October to prevent restaurants using tips to top up workers' pay to the national minimum of £5.73 per hour will not benefit staff. The Observer noted that the new rules would allow companies to keep tips to pay for wages and other business costs, so long as they paid staff the minimum wage, and would not require them to advertise their tipping policy. Restaurant chains that currently do not pass on all the service tip to staff - including Carluccio's and Paramount - would not say how their policy would change in October. Tragus said the memo related to tightening the controls around cash processing to protect against fraud. It is estimated that a fifth of the UK's 30,000 restaurants do not pass on tips to waiters. ­- 7 June, Read the full article in the Observer >>

Pret and Itsu ban bluefin tuna after watching documentary
Julian Metcalfe has banned the endangered bluefin tuna from his Pret A Manger and Itsu stores after being shocked by The End of the Line documentary on the destruction of the seas through over-fishing. Metcalfe told the film's producers, "Much as a result of your film, we took tuna out of Pret sushi entirely. No tuna in the box at all…so more in the sea, where they belong." He added: "Both my companies will do everything they can to speed up the process by which we only buy sustainable fish." Pret has also removed tuna and cucumber sandwiches, but will continue to use pole- or line-caught skipjack tuna in baguettes. Itsu, meanwhile, is about to sign a deal to source only pole and line fish, tracing each delivery to each boat. Celebrity chefs Gordon Ramsay, Angela Hartnett, Joel Robuchon, Giorgio Locatelli and Tom Aikens have all banned bluefin tuna at their restaurants but Nobu, the international chain of Michelin-starred restaurants, has attracted a petition from 30 celebrity clients over its refusal to delist the imperilled fish. - 7 June, Read the full article in the Mail on Sunday and the Sunday Times >>

Starwood seeks €300m for landmark Paris hotel
Investment firm Starwood Capital has put its Paris celebrity haunt, the Crillon hotel, on the market for more than €300m (£262m) with property adviser Eastdil Secured. The Louis XV-era landmark hotel, which was built in 1758 as a government building and converted into a hotel 100 years ago, has counted George V, the Shah of Iran, the Dalai Lama, Winston Churchill, Elizabeth Taylor, Charlie Chaplin, Mariah Carey and Arnold Schwarzenegger among its guests. Starwood acquired the hotel near the Champs on Place de la Concorde, since 2005 as part of the €2b acquisition of the Taittinger hotel empire that also netted it the Campanile budget chain. Starwood was said to be in talks last year to sell some of the Taittinger hotels to Saudi-backed JJW Hotels and Resorts. The Crillon thought to be more likely to sell to a wealthy individual or property investment than a large hotel chain. - 7 June, Read the full article in the Sunday Times >>

Profits fall by 64% at boutique hotel operator Firmdale
Higher costs and financing charges have slashed pre-tax profits at London boutique hotel operator Firmdale by 64% to £1.48m. Despite raising revenue from its six hotels by 5% to a record £54m in the year to 31 January, the group was hit an 11% rise in costs (to £31m) and a 31% increase in financing charges to £5.6m. Firmdale said trade deteriorated in the fourth quarter following the collapse of Lehman Brothers. The sale of the Pelham hotel helped finance the new 86-bedroom Crosby Street hotel, which opens in New York this September as the first of several boutique hotels planned for the US city. Average room rate grew by 7% to £285 while occupancy remained in the 80 percents. The pay-out to Firmdale's highest-paid director fell from £1.3m to £1.2m. - 7 June, Read the full article in the Sunday Telegraph >>

Detective seeks male partners of missing chef The detective leading the search for missing York University chef Claudia Lawrence has urged men who had a relationship with the 35-year-old to come forward now to ensure they are handled in a "discreet, confidential and controlled" manner. Detective Superintendent Ray Galloway warned that this opportunity would "perish with time". He said Lawrence, who vanished 11 weeks ago, had had relationships of "complexity and mystery" that she kept secret from friends and family. "I would particularly like to appeal to people either involved in a relationship, friendship, acquaintance with Claudia that was being conducted discreetly, or anybody who knew of a friend, a neighbour, a colleague who was involved in such a relationship," Galloway said yesterday. "My real concern is that they, by not coming forward … will be protecting the person or people who have brought her to harm." - 6 June, Read the full article in the Independent >>

- By Angela Frewin

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