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Gordon Ramsay to double empire in three years – For more hospitality stories, see what the weekend papers say

25 March 2008 by

Gordon Ramsay to double empire in three years Multi-Michelin-star chef Gordon RamsayThe Sunday Times](http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/), 23 March

BAA to sell 33 properties to Arora in bid to reduce £10b debt Airports operator BAA announced yesterday that it will sell 33 properties for £265m to Arora Family Trust (the private group that bought nine airport hotels from BAA two years ago for £300m) in its bid to reduce its £10b debt. However, the turbulent financial markets have prompted BAA - which was bought by Ferrovial of Spain in 2006 - to bin plans to sell its £1b property portfolio intact. If the group cannot find buyers for its remaining properties - which include 35 warehouses, 17 development sites, six aviation-related interests and offices - it may be unable to refinance its debt. It has already sold World Duty Free to Autogrill of Italy for £546m, but analysts believe it may be forced to sell Gatwick airport if it becomes desperate. - [The Times](http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/), 22 March

Fifteen training "hit-and-miss", says report
Fifteen, the charitable venture set up by celebrity chef Jamie Oliver to train disadvantaged youngsters as chefs, offered "hit-and-miss" training, provided patchy support and counselling for its troubled recruits, and was distracted by the cameras recording for a Channel 4 documentary. This is the verdict of a £50,000 warts-and-all report commissioned by Oliver and Fifteen to analyse where they have gone wrong and how to improve. Due to be published next month, the Life in the Present Tense report says that only 54 of the 106 youngsters who started apprenticeships completed the course. Fifteen has announced a major overhaul to ensure that 70% of apprentices graduate in future and are prepared for the brutal atmosphere of commercial kitchens. It will focus more on youngsters' potential than their backgrounds, phase out time spent at catering college to do more on-site training, and make counselling and support part of the curriculum. - [The Times](http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/), 22 March

Starbucks ordered to pay out $100m in withheld tips
A court in San Diego has ordered coffee chain Starbucks to pay out more than $100m (£50m) in restitution for tips withheld from baristas working in stores across California, where the group has 2,500 outlets. The court ruled that Starbucks had incorrectly allowed shift managers and supervisors in its California branches to dip into the pool of tips that should have been distributed only to baristas making and dispensing food and drinks. The judge ordered Starbucks to pay back $87m in back tips to Californian baristas, plus interest of $19m. The case was brought by Jou Chou almost four years ago but was granted class action status in 2006, allowing as many as 100,000 former and current baristas to be represented. In a statement released by her lawyers, Chou said, "I feel vindicated. Tips really help those receiving the lowest wages. I think Starbucks should pay shift supervisors higher wages instead of taking money from the tip pool." - [The Independent,](http://www.independent.co.uk/) 22 Saturday

Mafia toxic dumps pollute mozzarella milk
Sales of mozzarella cheese have slumped by 50% across Italy after high levels of toxic dioxins were found in buffalo milk in a group of dairies in the Campania, which is experiencing a waste management crisis. Public health authorities believe the contamination is the result of illegal dumping of toxic waste in the area, where the Camorra - the local branch of the Mafia - control waste management. The herds from 66 dairies have been quarantined and 109 people are under investigation for fraud and food poisoning. Most mozzarella consumed in Britain is made here, although delis and major supermarkets stock premium brands made in Campania. - [The Independent,](http://www.independent.co.uk/) 22 March

Costa confident of future growth Costa Coffee, Whitbread's rapidly-expanding coffee shop chain, is confident it can ride out the current economic disturbance. The group, which recently revealed sales growth of 6.3% for the 50 weeks to 14 February, added 142 outlets to its chain last year and makes its Russian debut this week with a Moscow branch. The management expects to achieve similar growth in the coming 12 months, with overseas outlets - which currently span 21 countries - becoming increasingly important. Costa boss John Derkach also sees scope to expand in Britain. "You can't walk down many high streets without seeing several coffee shops, but you can walk down many high streets and not see a Costa coffee shop," he said. "Inside the M25 we have 135 shops and our competitors have twice that number. - [The Sunday Times](http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/), 23 March

By Angela Frewin

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