Thursday, 20 January 2011

Michelin stars released by the new Michelin guide

Michelin has released its 2011 guide for Great Britain and Ireland and has awarded two stars to Cornwall-based chef Nathan Outlaw and French female chef Hélène Darroze.

The guide, which this year celebrates 100 years since its first publication in 1911, also awarded 12 restaurants in London and England with their first stars. There were no new additions in Scotland, Wales or Ireland and 10 establishments lost theirs stars. However, the results bring the total of Michelin-starred restaurants in Great Britain and Ireland to 143, the highest number in the guide's 37-year history of awarding stars.

A total of 26 restaurants were named Bib Gourmands for offering good food at moderate prices.

Commenting on the results, new editor in chief Rebecca Burr, who has replaced outgoing editor Derek Bulmer, said: "There is no doubt that 2010 was a difficult year but those hotels and restaurants that represented value for money, at whatever price, were the ones best placed to weather the storm. We found 12 new one-star restaurants but also awarded 26 new Bib Gourmands, which our readers particularly appreciate for their moderate prices."

Nathan Outlaw has debuted in the guide with two stars, having previously been tipped by Michelin as a rising two-star chef for two consecutive years in 2008 and 2009. He relocated his restaurant from the Marina Villa hotel in Fowey to the St Enodoc hotel in Rock last year, where he also runs a more casual Seafood and Grill restaurant.

Meanwhile, French chef Hélène Darroze has been awarded her second star having held one star since 2009 following the opening of her eponymous restaurant at London's Connaught hotel in 2008. Last year, Darroze lost one of her two Michelin stars at her restaurant in Paris in the 2010 edition of the Michelin guide for France.

Among those operators celebrating their first star are newcomers including Nuno Mendes's Viajante, Philip Howard and Rebecca Mascarenhas's Kitchen W8 and Alexis Gauthier's eponymous restaurant in London; as well as the 10 in 8 restaurant group's Paris House in Woburn, Bedforshire.

Gordon Ramsay Holdings has gained a star at the relaunched Pétrus, which reopened last March a stone's throw from the original, now occupied by Marcus Wareing at the Berkeley.

More established restaurants being awarded their first Michelin star include Petersham Nurseries in Richmond; the Curlew in Bodiam, East Sussex; and the Pony & Trap in Chew Magna, Somerset.

The Michelin guide for Great Britain and Ireland this year celebrates its centenary as it has been 100 years since the very first edition was published in 1911 (it was published from 1911-1930 and then returned in 1974).


Hélène Darroze at the Connaught, Mayfair

Restaurant Nathan Outlaw, Rock, Cornwall


Kitchen W8, Kensington
Petersham Nurseries, Richmond
Viajante, Bethnal Green
Galvin La Chapelle, Spitalfields
Pétrus, Belgravia
Seven Park Place, St James
Gauthier Soho, Soho

The Curlew, Bodiam, East Sussex
Pony & Trap, Chew Magna, Somerset
Adam Simmonds at Danesfield House, Marlow, Buckinghamshire
The Black Rat, Winchester, Hampshire
Paris House, Woburn, Bedfordshire


The Marquis, Alkham, Kent
Artichoke, Amersham, Buckinghamshire
The Black Swan, Oldstead, Yorkshire
Castle Terrace, Edinburgh


Nahm (at The Halkin Hotel), Belgravia
Roussillon, Victoria

Drakes on the Pond, Abinger Hammer, Surrey
The Goose (closed), Britwell Salome, Oxon
West Stoke House (closed), Chichester/West Stoke, West Sussex
The New Angel (closed), Dartmouth, Devon
Harry's Place, Grantham/Great Gonerby, Lincolnshire
The Star Inn, Helmsley/Harome, North Yorkshire

Summer Isles, Achitibuie, Highland

Deanes, Belfast, Antrim


Goldfish City, City of London
28°-50°, City of London
Charlotte's Bistro, Chiswick
Trullo, Canonbury
Morito, Finsbury
Canton Arms, Stockwell
Simply Thai, Teddington
Zucca, Southwark
Galvin Café a Vin, Spitalfields
Iberica, Regent's Park & Marylebone
Polpo, Soho

The New Inn, Bristol, Backwell
The Jolly Cricketers, Beaconsfield / Seer Green, Buckinghamshire
Chilli Pickle, Brighton and Hove, West Sussex
Carpenters Arms, Burford, Oxon
Pea Porridge, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk
Freemasons Country Inn, Clitheroe/Wiswell, Lancashire
La Locanda, Gisburn, Lancashire
Crown, Maidenhead/ Burchett's Green, Windsor & Maidenhead
The Magdalen Arms, Oxford, Oxforshire
Purefoy Arms, Preston Candover, Hampshire
Black Rock, St Ives, Cornwall
The Cat Inn, West Hoathly, West Sussex
The Bull Inn, Wimborne St Giles, Dorset

Osso, Peebles, Borders

O'Dowd's, Roundstone, Galway

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Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Cameron says fund to create 50,000 tourism jobs is on target to reach £100m

A new four-year campaign which aims to market Britain as "the greatest show on earth" would create 50,000 tourism jobs and bring in an extra one million overseas visitors to the UK, the prime minister announced this morning.

Cash and payment in kind has been pledged by the likes of Radisson Edwardian, British Airways, and P&O to help match the £50m of public money already committed by VisitBritain, to create a total fund of £100m.

David Cameron told a reception at Downing Street, attended by representatives of some of the companies which have already showed their support, that the eyes of the world will be focused on Britain as never before over the next two years.

"A Royal Wedding, Her Majesty's Diamond Jubilee and of course the London Olympic and Paralympic Games offer us a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, not just for national pride and celebration, but also to promote this country as the perfect tourist destination, helping to create 50,000 new jobs and bring £2b more visitor spending to the UK," Cameron said.

"Last year we challenged British businesses to help us put together the best tourism marketing campaign ever for Britain - something that will make us the must-see destination for visitors from new growth markets in Asia and Latin America, as well as core ones such as Europe and the USA.

"The response has been magnificent, with pledges of cash and kind from companies that mean we are well on the way to our target."

Jeremy Hunt, secretary of state for culture, Olympics, media and sport, said that British companies had already dug deep to back the Government in promoting the campaign.

"And I hope that others will pitch in, too - to become part of the global launch to market Britain as quite literally the greatest show on earth," he added.

The companies that have been announced so far are just the first raft of the founding partners of the campaign. Other companies involved in the tourism industry are being urged to sign up, too.

Jasminder Singh, chairman and chief executive of the Radisson Edwardian Group, said that his company was proud to be playing a part in promoting the country as a tourism destination, working in partnership with both trade and Government.

"We have 13 individual hotels in fantastic locations across London and Manchester which we hope will benefit from this partnership and provide both sides with some key opportunities for growth," he said.

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Thursday, 9 December 2010

Christmas party bookings sour

Hospitality operators look set to benefit from the return of the Christmas party, with reports from one bookings firm that bookings are up more than 70% on last year.

Online booking service BookaTable said it had registered a 73% rise in bookings, with Friday 10 December as the most popular day for celebrating.

But the traditional Christmas meal seems to be losing popularity, with an increased number of Brits choosing dishes like tagliatelle and tiramisu over turkey and Christmas pudding, according to the sites. The most favoured food for Christmas party meals this year is Italian with 62% of revellers choosing this cuisine, compared with French (12%) and British (6%).

Jemima Bird, marketing director from Tragus Group, which includes Strada, Bella Italia and Café Rouge, said: "We've seen a significant rise in group bookings for Christmas parties, especially compared with last year. Interestingly, it seems our customers are not only ordering from a Christmas menu, but plenty are requesting Italian menu options instead. It might be that they are happy to wait till Christmas Day for their turkey with all the trimmings."

A spokesman for the British Hospitality Association said: "It's great for our industry that consumer confidence has returned to the extent that Christmas party bookings have seen such an increase. Restaurants rely on being full in December to cover the quieter times so this should stand them in good stead for the New Year."

Celia Pronto, managing director - consumer marketing for BookaTable, added: "The Christmas party is back with a bang in 2010 as it seems businesses are able to begin rewarding their employees again. Although many places are now fully booked, those still looking can find some fantastic deals."

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Northcote unveils Obsession Food line up

Nigel Haworth and Craig Bancroft (pictured) have announced the line-up of the 2011 Obsession Food Festival at their Michelin-starred Northcote in Lancashire.

The 10-day gastronomic celebration, which will run from 24 January to 2 February 2011, will feature some of the UK's most talented chefs, who will each cook an exclusive "one night only" menu.

The line-up of participants includes Michelin-starred chefs Martin Wishart, Martin Burge, Simon Rogan, Lisa Allen and Sat Bains, as well as Kenny Atkinson, James Martin, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, Claire Clark and Vivek Singh.

Bancroft, Managing Director of Northcote, commented: "The event develops its own momentum, in a way it's a thank you to our customers for supporting us. It is also an opportunity for the staff to gain invaluable experience from some of the greatest chefs in the industry."

Tickets for the event, priced £100, are available on 01254 244508.

For more information please visit:

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Hospitality expected to benefit from royal wedding

Prince William's wedding to long-term girlfriend Kate Middleton is expected to boost business for the hospitality industry.

Due to take place in London in the spring or summer of next year, the wedding will mark the start of an unprecedented period in which the world's eyes will be focused on the UK, with the event being followed by the Queen's Diamond Jubilee and the London Olympics in 2012.

Visit England chief executive James Berresford said he was thrilled for William and Kate, and for tourism as well.

"The wedding next year will mean that once again the eyes of the world will be turned to our nation. We will have a wonderful opportunity to showcase all that is best about the country," he said.

VisitBritain research shows that the monarchy and associated places, events and history generates directly and indirectly more than £500m a year in revenue for the British tourism industry.

Latest figures from the Office of National Statistics show that the number of visits made to the UK by overseas residents in the first nine months of this year totalled 22.48 million - a 2% dip on the same period in 2009. Spending by overseas residents during UK trips so far this year has reached £12.57b - 1% down on the January to September 2009 figure.

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Thursday, 11 November 2010

Excellent British holidays are boosting domestic tourism

"Excellent" holiday experiences and concerns over job security will help boost the popularity of the staycation in the future, VisitEngland has said.

According to UK Tourism Survey figures releases yesterday by VisitEngland, 4 per cent fewer domestic holiday trips were taken this year compared to 2009, although the UK saw an increase in 13 per cent on 2008.

The figures, says James Berresford, chief executive of VisitEngland, reflects not only consumers’ increasing desire to cut back on leisure spend, but the quality of British holiday being offered.

“Our research shows that the England holiday experience remains an overwhelmingly positive one,” he said. “84 per cent of English break-takers rated their holiday experience as excellent or very good.
“69 per cent of people who had switched from an overseas holiday to one in England agreed that in the longer term, beyond 2010, they will take more domestic breaks than they did previously, which demonstrates that last year’s uplift in tourism has fundamentally changed perceptions of holidaying at home for the better.”

VisitEngland will next February launch a multi-media advertising campaign to help boost domestic travel figures during the Easter holidays.

Friday, 5 November 2010

Paul Heathcote sells five restaurants to Living Ventures

North-west-based chef-restaurateur Paul Heathcote has sold the majority of his restaurant portfolio to Living Ventures, owner of the Gusto, Blackhouse Grill and Est Est Est brands.

The former two-Michelin-starred chef has sold five of his nine remaining restaurants to the group, which was founded by Tim Bacon and Jeremy Roberts, for an undisclosed sum. They include three Olive Press sites in Manchester, Liverpool and Cheadle Hulme as well as Grado in Manchester and London Road in Alderley Edge.

The move comes just weeks after Heathcote was forced to close his Liverpool flagship Simply Heathcotes and the Leeds branch of his Olive Press group of restaurants.

The deal leaves the chef with four sites including his former two-Michelin-starred Longridge Restaurant in Preston, Heathcotes Grill & Bar in Clitheroe, which opens next week, and two Olive Press sites in Preston and Bolton. Heathcote is currently looking to sell the Bolton site.

Heathcote said the deal would allow him to concentrate on gaining recognition for a small group of restaurants.

"I have always said that at 50 I would change the way I worked. After nearly 35 years in the business I still have ambitions, including gaining Michelin recognition for Longridge," he said.

"I have known Tim Bacon, CEO of Living Ventures, for many years. He is a very good operator and has had great success in growing his two brands - Gusto and Blackhouse Grill - so I know the restaurants are in good hands."

Heathcote and Living Ventures have entered a licensing agreement over joint continued use of the Olive Press brand, with both parties set to decide on future branding of these outlets in due course.
"There is every chance that I will look to rebrand the Preston restaurant in the New Year but a final decision has yet to be made," added Heathcote.