When is a pea not a pea?
Winter must be a busy time for development chefs, particularly those working with casual dining operations. Not only is there pressure to come up with ever more creative ways of serving cranberry and turkey combinations for Christmas dishes, now they must produce headline-grabbing plant-based plates to satisfy the phenomenon that has become Veganuary. The only problem is that, unlike at Christmas, there are no familiar combinations to fall back on – so the world is your salt-baked celeriac "oyster". This year Wagamama has introduced vegan "tuna" made from watermelon (which the PR admits has a "look and texture… incredibly similar to tuna sashimi, although the flavour remains reminiscent of watermelon"), while Pizza Hut has launched a vegan "pepperphoni" pizza (pictured) made from pea protein and Violife vegan "cheese". It's enough to turn dry January diners back to drink.
Dude, where's my alpaca?
The UK's budget hotel groups delight in revealing the bizarre items left in rooms by forgetful guests. Several times a year press releases arrive exclaiming the discovery of King Philippe of Belgium or the lost treasure of Blackbeard the pirate in a room verlooking Pease Pottage service station, just off the M23. This heart-warming tradition is running a rather predictable course and every year the items left behind become more ridiculous. This week Travelodge has claimed that a guest staying at its Stratford-upon-Avon hotel left two alpacas behind. That's right, two alpacas – who, obviously, were called Ant and Dec. This rat has done some Google-based research and found the hotel has little green space beyond its car park, so can only assume the alpacas were staying in one of the new business-floor rooms and observing the noise policy so diligently that they blended into the background, as alpacas are known to do.
Clawing to the top
There's a new PR force in town with Jess Corrigan (yes, that Corrigan), Tom Rogers (yes, that Rogers) and Tessa Berry having teamed up to launch Crab Communications this week. Having cut their teeth under the tutelage of PR grande dame Maureen Mills, and most recently Sauce, it seems likely their claws will be snapping around some big names soon... although a bet on their first client is a safe one. Keep your eyes peeled for news from London's favourite jovial Irishman!
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