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Jamie Oliver mulls flotation of Jamie's Italian – For more hospitality stories, see what the weekend papers say

07 March 2011 by
Jamie Oliver mulls flotation of Jamie's Italian – For more hospitality stories, see what the weekend papers say

Jamie Oliver mulls flotation of Jamie's Italian Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver is in the early stages of considering a stock market flotation of Jamie's Italian that could value the restaurant chain at about £100m. Flotation, which would not happen before the turn of the year, is one of a number of options being looked at by the board that also includes the sale of a stake to a strategic investor. The group recently refinanced its operations with a new £20m facility from HSBC. In the year to 3 January 2010, the chain - which sells affordable, rustic Italian fare - made a pre-tax profit of £1.66m on sales of £19.4m from just a handful of sites. It now has 17 restaurants, with another 10 planned for 2011. 6 March
Read the full article in theSunday Telegraph >>

75% of hospital kitchens breach food safety rules Three out of four hospitals in Britain have breached basic food hygiene standards, according to a survey of 700 environmental health inspections of NHS and private hospitals by the Sunday Times. Flaws were identified in 569 out of 752 kitchens surveyed, with at least 13 infested by rodents or cockroaches, 273 not properly cleaned and 52 found to be stocking food that was past its best-before or use-by date. Serious lapses included: two species of cockroach and mice found near the coffee shop at Barts hospital in London; milk left in the sun, then stored at 17°C at St Peter's hospital in Chertsey, Surrey; pizzas and pastries with 2008 use-by-dates at Rochdale infirmary; and lavatory cleaning utensils kept near the crockery and cutlery wash area at Kings Cross hospital, Dundee. Around one million hospital meals are served each day and food hygiene lapses contributed to the 300,000 cases of infection each year. 6 March
Read the full article in theSunday Times >>

Punch chairman resigns ahead of strategic review results Peter Cawdron is to step down as chairman of Punch Taverns after four years in the role, two weeks ahead of the conclusion of a strategic review into the group's future. Brian Wallace, outgoing finance director at Ladbrokes, has been tipped as a possible successor. Although analysts anticipate reports of progress in Punch's managed and leased/tenanted estate in the first-half figures to be announced this Thursday, the group has to address its £3b debt, much of which is securitised bonds. Possible strategies include defaulting on the debt and returning the keys of thousands of tenanted pubs to bondholders; resetting the covenants; or splitting the group into good and bad businesses in readiness for a debt-for-equity swap. Analysts have also suggested that Punch could threaten landlords with pre-pack administration unless they renegotiate onerous leases on almost 200 loss-making managed pubs. 5 March
Read the full article inThe Times >>

Lady Gaga threatens legal action against Covent Garden ice-cream salon Pop star Lady Gaga has threatened legal action against a new Covent Garden store selling an ice-cream called Baby Gaga that is made from human breast milk, vanilla pods and lemon. Matt O'Connor, owner of the newly-opened Icecreamists parlour, denied "riding on the coat tails" of an artist he claimed had "recycled on an industrial scale the entire back catalogue of pop culture". He disputed her claimed ownership of the word "gaga", which he said was among the first words spoken by babies. "A global superstar has taken umbrage at what she describes as a ‘nausea-inducing' product," added O'Connor. "This from a woman with a penchant for wearing rotting cows' flesh. At least our customers are still alive when they contribute to our ‘art'". Although the donor has been health screened, Westminster council officials removed the ice-cream last week the day after its launch to check whether it meets hygiene requirements. 5 March
Read the full article in theGuardian >>

Campaigners criticise Scottish launch of Pub Vouchers The expansion of Pub Vouchers - launched in England and Wales 18 months ago - to Scotland has sparked fears that the gift tokens will encourage binge drinking. The vouchers can be bought online in values of £10 or £20 as gifts for birthdays, anniversaries, Father's Day and as staff incentives, and used to buy drinks and food from more than 100 establishments in Scotland. Anti-alcohol campaigners fear that the requirement to spend them in a single transaction may encourage excessive drinking. But Derek Lavan, co-founder of the scheme with former Scottish & Newcastle director Andrew Stevenson, said most people would buy rounds for friends. The vouchers are now valid in more than 1,000 pubs in England and Wales. 6 March
Read the full article in theScotsman on Sunday >>

Multi-cultural hosts for the James Beard Foundation Awards Italian celebrity chef Tom Colicchio, Chinese chef Ming Tsai and French-influenced US chef Traci Des Jardins are to host the gala reception for the James Beard Foundation Awards, America's culinary Oscars, which they have all won in the past. The theme of this year's awards, "The Ultimate Melting Pot", celebrates the USA's "wonderfully diverse food culture, a mosaic of influences from many lands." The awards will be held in New York on 9 May. 5 March
Read the full article in theIndependent >>

Starbucks to sell rare, small-batch coffees in select stores Starbucks, which this year celebrates its 40th anniversary, is to start selling rare, small-batch coffees prepared in different ways as one-off specials in a select number of stores. The group has bought up a year's supply of Aged Sulawesi Kalosi, which was grown in the back gardens of 12 farmers and represents just three weeks' supply. The top-grade filter coffee will be sold in stores in centres of artisanal coffee culture - such as Mayfair, Knightsbridge, Covent Garden, Islington, Hampstead, Manchester, Glasgow, Bristol and Dublin - along with Selfridge's Champagne Bar and Mark Hix's London restaurant. It is freshly ground in-store and takes four minutes to make by the pour-over technique using paper-lined ceramic cone filters. Pour-over coffee has been served for about four years at 40 artisanal cafés and public taste has shown a reported 20% swing away from espresso, latte and cappuccino towards filter coffee. 3 March
Read the full article in theIndependent >>

By Angela Frewin

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