Norovirus outbreak hits profits at Heston Blumenthal's Fat Duck – For more hospitality stories, see what the weekend papers say

19 April 2010 by
Norovirus outbreak hits profits at Heston Blumenthal's Fat Duck – For more hospitality stories, see what the weekend papers say

Norovirus outbreak hits profits at Heston Blumenthal's Fat DuckRead the full article in the Observer >>

Sea change sees mellowing of macho kitchen culture
The macho kitchen culture of bullying, foul-mouthed chefs typified by celebrities like Gordon Ramsay is giving way to a calmer environment, according to leading chefs and industry insiders. This sea change is attributed to a rising public backlash against such behaviour and the growing number of top female chefs in the industry. Former Ramsay protégé Marcus Wareing said his kitchen at the Berkeley hotel can be as quiet as a library at times while Alain Ducasse believes his kitchen has become calmer as he has mellowed with age and realised that teaching younger chefs cannot be achieved by "shouting and barking". Caterer restaurant editor Kerstin KÁ¼hn was also quoted, saying: "There has been a cultural shift; I don't think chefs can get away with what they could a couple of years ago. It is not an innocent environment, but I don't think that bosses have people up against the wall with a knife to their throats any more." However, the GMB union said the number of complaints it has received from chefs has not dropped in the past few years. - 18 April, Read the full article in the Independent on Sunday >>

Splendid Hotel Group seeks £200m for seven London hotels Splendid Hotel Group has hired property agent DTZ to sell seven London properties, which include five Express by Holiday Inn and two Holiday Inn hotels. The sale, which Splendid hopes to complete by the summer, is expected to raise up to £200m. Splendid is moving upmarket with a five-star Hilton hotel planned in Westminster. - 18 April, Read the full article in the Independent on Sunday >>

Jamie Oliver is Britain's 22nd most generous donor to charity Jamie Oliver will be revealed as one of Britain's richest and most generous people next week when he makes his début in the Sunday Times Rich List along with its Giving List of charitable donors. The 34-year-old chef has an estimated personal fortune of £65m and his donations as a percentage of his wealth make him the 22nd most generous donor in Britain. It places him above both financier Lord Rothschild, whose £11.2m gifts to charity represents 2.88% of his wealth, and Barclays president Bob Diamond, who has donated 8.94% of his £3.7m fortune. The Giving List is topped by Christopher Cooper-Hohn, whose £531.2m donations represent more than six times his personal wealth. - 18 April, Read the full article in the Sunday Telegraph >>
Zilli Green named Best Restaurant in Independent Green Awards TV chef Aldo Zilli has been praised as an "ethical pioneer" for bravely converting his flagship London restaurant Signor Zilli into vegetarian eaterie Zilli Green, which was voted Best Restaurant in the Independent's Green Awards. Independent restaurant critic Tracy MacLeod said it avoided the "wholemeal sludge" of many British meat-free restaurants and was more akin to the inventive vegetarian cooking of California. She praised the seasonal, multi-cultural menu for steering clear of "meat-substitute clichés like vegeburgers" and added that the food - which includes "skewers of plantain, lemongrass and aubergine served with a bean tagine; smokily spiced black bean chilli; courgette sushi stuffed with quinoa and wild mushroom"- also tasted "really good".- 17 April, Read the full article in the Independent >>
Center Parcs looks to expand into Russia
Center Parcs is looking to open its first overseas holiday villages under its current ownership. It is holding talks with Russian investors in the belief that there is strong demand for its offer in central and eastern Europe. The British operation, which has traded well during the recession, was separated from the Center Parcs businesses in western Europe, which is now owned by French group Pierre & Vacances. Center Parcs in the UK was acquired in 2006 by Blackstone, which last month negotiated a two-year delay in the deadline for repaying its £1b debt (to 2013), buying it time to work on a refinancing. - 18 April, Read the full article in the Sunday Times >>
Formosa International Hotels to buy Regent Hotels Carlson Hotels and Rezidor are selling Regent Hotels to Formosa International Hotels. Carlson - which owns, operates and licenses the brand internationally, including hotels, residences and cruise ships - intends to focus on its core Radisson and Park Inn brands. Formosa will take over the hotel management and lease contracts for properties in operation and under development. - 17 April, Read the full article in The Times >>

Westbury hotel sells vintage Dom Perignon bottle for record £35,000 London's Westbury hotel sold a bottle of rare Dom Perignon 1996 Rosé Gold on Tuesday night for £35,000, the highest price ever paid for Champagne in a British bar. The buyer, believed to be a Russian billionaire, left a £10,625 tip which, on top of a £4,375 service charge, raised the total bill to £50,000 or an eye-watering £1,562.50 per glass - at least three of which he spilled. The methusalah (equivalent to eight standard-sized bottles) of The vintage is regarded as one of the finest of the 20th century and only 35 bottles are produced each year. The bottle has a metal casing dipped in rose gold and is worth almost £20,000 alone. - 17 April, Read the full article in the Daily Telegraph >>

By Angela Frewin

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