Staff at Fat Duck may have had winter vomiting bug – For more hospitality stories, see what the weekend papers say

16 March 2009 by
Staff at Fat Duck may have had winter vomiting bug – For more hospitality stories, see what the weekend papers say

Staff at Fat Duck may have had winter vomiting bug
Up to 16 staff at the three-Michelin-starred Fat Duck restaurant may have been infected with norovirus, or winter vomiting disease, according to inquiries by the Mail on SundayRead the full article in the Mail on Sunday >>

BHA seeks to delay reform of restaurant tips The British Hospitality Association (BHA) has warned the Department for Business that plans to stop restaurant managers using tips to top up staff salaries to the legal minimum should be delayed in the current economic climate. It claims that introducing the changes this October, as planned, could mean the direct loss of 6,000 jobs, with more lost as businesses cut hours or posts to cover increased costs. "We don't think this is the right time to introduce any new legislation that would cost millions," said a spokesman for the BHA. The Department for Business is expected to announce a final decision next month, shortly before a review of the national minimum wage which employers want to be frozen this year. - 15 March, Read the full article in the Observer >>

Top Scottish hotels cut prices and offer freebies to tackle recession
Scottish hotels are cutting prices or throwing in free meals, golf days or video cameras to record their stay in order to attract cash-strapped consumers. Mid-market chain De Vere Venues is offering rooms for £10 a night while the Sheraton Grand in Edinburgh has cut its nightly rate for a double room to £195. Other top-end hotels are opting instead for added value. Gleneagles is adding a free two-course lunch to its basic price of £190 a night, or rooms with free golf for £225 a night. Debbie Taylor, chief executive of the Old Course hotel in St Andrews (which is also selling rooms with free golf), said slashing prices was not an option at the luxury end of the market. "More people are holidaying at home this year because European holidays are 30% more expensive and US holidays are 35% more expensive," Taylor said. "There is no point in slashing prices because then it takes you a long time to recover. If you slash prices then you have to compromise on quality." - 15 March, Read the full article in Scotland on Sunday >>

London curry college needed to save Indian restaurants
The Bangladeshi Caterers Association is calling on the Government to fund a London School of Curry to train home-grown chefs and save Indian restaurants from extinction in the UK. It says the new points-based immigration system has made it difficult for the £3.5b industry to recruit skilled chefs from abroad, and that attempts to plug the skills gap with Eastern European immigrants has not worked. This has left a sector that employs up to 100,000 with 30,000 unfilled vacancies. The proposed college would offer diplomas and NVQ equivalents in curry making to around 1,200 students annually. "If you want to be a mechanic, the training is there. Or a hairdresser. Or any other skill. But if you want to be a curry chef, there is no help," said Enam Ali, owner of the Le Raj restaurant in Epsom. "Indian restaurants will disappear just as pubs are doing unless the government works with us." The Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills is planning an ethnic chef summit next month. - 15 March, Read the full article in the Observer >>

Chief medical officer recommends minimum alcohol price Chief Medical Officer Sir Liam Donaldson is to call drinks to be sold for no less than 50p per alcoholic unit - a move that could double the price of some supermarket drinks. He will make this recommendation to tackle alcoholism and binge-drinking in his annual report on the state of the nation's health tomorrow. However, Government sources suggest that ministers are unlikely to accept the proposals during the current economic gloom. Meanwhile, drinks companies have formed a "a council of war" to mount a legal challenge to Scotland's planned crackdown on alcohol which many fear would mean a minimum price of 40p for every unit of alcohol and cost them £1b. - 15 March, Read the full articles in the Sunday Telegraph, the Independent on Sunday, and Scotland on Sunday

Carluccio says Priory stay has revitalised him
Celebrity chef Antonio Carluccio has described his stay at the Priory after accidentally stabbing himself in the chest last September as a "hugely positive experience" that has cured his depression and led to a flood of job offers. Carluccio insists his stabbing with a bread knife was an accident but admits that he was "very depressed" at the time because of the closure of his flagship Neal Street restaurant and the collapse of his marriage. "My life felt like it was in decline. I felt exhausted and desperate…" he explained. The chef, who is currently writing his autobiography, has just released a new DVD, Antonio Carluccio's Southern Italian Feast, and has a new recipe book out in the autumn. He has also re-established links with the Carluccio's chain he and his wife founded in 1991 and floated in 2006. After two year's absence, he has signed up as a consultant for the chain for two days a month - but adds that he fears it will be hard to maintain quality at the level of expansion envisaged - 15 March, Read the full article in the Sunday Telegraph >>

By Angela Frewin

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