Heston Blumenthal considers court action over norovirus outbreak – For more hospitality stories, see what the weekend papers say

22 March 2010 by
Heston Blumenthal considers court action over norovirus outbreak – For more hospitality stories, see what the weekend papers say

Heston Blumenthal considers court action over norovirus outbreak Three Michelin-starred chef Heston Blumenthal is considering taking ‘criminal action' against the firm that supplied his Fat Duck restaurant with sewage-infested oysters and razor clams more than a year ago. The contaminated seafood sparked an outbreak of norovirus, or winter vomiting disease, that affected more than 500 diners and closed down the restaurant for three weeks, costing the chef around £160,000. "The insurance company are now looking at taking criminal action against the oyster people or the water authorities because we had no idea we brought in oysters that were infected," Blumenthal said at the Royal Television Society Awards in Mayfair. Meanwhile, the group's annual accounts revealed that the chef has received £204,043 in compensation over the incident. Many affected customers are seeking compensation from the restaurant through Axa direct. - 21 March, Read the full articles in the Sunday Telegraph and the Mail on Sunday >>

Alcohol duty forecast to rise by 5% or more in the BudgetRead the full article in the Sunday Times >>

UK's first dedicated cheese restaurant opens in Chelsea
The UK's first cheese-only restaurant has opened just off the King's Road in Chelsea, London. L'Art Du Fromage is the brainchild of co-proprietors Julien Ledogar and Jean-Charles Madenspacher, both 24, from a village near Strasbourg in Alsace. They hope to enthuse the British about cheeses other than cheddar, which is off the menu. Instead, the restaurant ships in a selection of nearly 100 cheeses from Lyon each week, including Roquefort, Langres (bathed in Champagne), the pricey Salers de Buron and the famously smelly Munster. The cheese-based menu covers fondues, raclettes, a three-cheeses-on toast dish and even cheese ice-creams and sorbets. - 20 March, Read the full article in the Independent >>
Gourmet Burger King boss buys a stake in Tortilla
Paul Campbell, chief executive of Gourmet Burger King (GBK) owner Clapham House, has bought a "meaningful holding" in Mexican restaurant chain Tortilla. Campbell, who has become a director of the company, has the option to enlarge his stake if Tortilla prospers. "Tortilla really reminds me of GBK," said Campbell. "Mexican food is growing in popularity in Britain and Tortilla is a great business." Tortilla currently has four restaurants in London serving burritos and tacos and intends to open four more in and around London this year. It is run by Brandon Stephens, a Princeton graduate who came to Britain from California in 2003. - 21 March, Read the full article in the Independent >>
Marco Pierre White to promote Bernard Matthews turkey
Celebrity chef Marco Pierre White is to become an ambassador for East Anglian poultry giant Bernard Matthews in a bid "to put turkey back on the menus across the UK". Britons consume half the amount of turkey eaten in France and Italy and tend to see it as a Christmas-only meat. "Turkey is the nation's favourite roast on the most important family day of the year, so why not all year round?" said White, who has a similar deal with Knorr chicken stock cubes. White will devise a new range of processed products for the company designed to give turkey all-year round appeal. Bernard Matthews switched to farming only British birds after imported birds from Hungary sparked an avian flu outbreak at a plant in Suffolk. - 19 March, Read the full article in the Independent >>

Greggs targets the café breakfast market
Greggs the bakery chain is hoping to lure the breakfast market away from high-street coffee shops such as Starbucks with the launch of its £1.29 bacon or sausage breakfast roll. The group has sold one million rolls since their introduction last month, and was also doing well with a coffee meal-deal with a roll for £1.99. "Traditionally early morning is a quiet time for us and we want to increase our breakfast and coffee sales," said chief executive Ken McMeikan. "Our deal is great value when you think that for £1.99 you would only get a coffee at other stores. We are giving more choice to high street breakfast shoppers." Greggs, which plans to open up to 60 new stores this year, recently announced an 8% rise in pre-tax profits, to £48.8m, in the year to 2 January on sales up 5% to £658m. - 19 March, Read the full article in the Daily Express >>

Fine wine merchants merge
London fine wine merchant Goedhuis & Co has bought its rival, Suffolk-based rival David Roberts Domaines for an undisclosed sum that included a mix of cash and shares. The enlarged, £15m-turnover operation will have offices in London, Suffolk and Hong Kong as well as a storage centre in Northampton. Johnny Goedhuis, founder of Goedhius & Co, said the merged business would have greater powers to negotiate with wine producers, especially the prestigious Bordeaux growers, in the face of stiff competition from the Far East. 21 March, Read the full article in the Sunday Times >>

Pompei snack bar reopens after nearly 2,000 years A popular snack bar in the ancient Roman city of Pompei, which was destroyed by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in AD79, reopens for business tomorrow. Visitors will be given guided tours of the snack bar (or thermopolium) and taste some of the dishes once popular in Pompei. The restored restaurant comprises a large, L-shaped, decorated counter with cylindrical holes containing glass jars of food. The healthy diet was based on cereals, vegetables, cheese and fish, with just a little meat, but sticky honey-and-ricotta-filled desserts were especially popular. The house speciality was baked cheese smothered in honey. Customers would either buy takeaway food or sit inside in the dining area (the triclinium) or an internal garden (the viridarium). - 20 March, Read the full article in the Independent >>
By Angela Frewin

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