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: http://www.caterersearch.com/Articles/2010/11/23/336026/Northcote-unveils-Obsession-food-festival-line-up.htm

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.

For more information please visit: http://www.caterersearch.com/Articles/2010/11/16/335929/Hospitality-expected-to-benefit-from-royal-wedding.htm

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.