Jellyfish to debut on Michelin menu in Spain - For more hospitality stories, see what the weekend papers say

Monday 29th September 2008 10:42

Jellyfish to debut on Michelin menu in Spain
Catalan chef Carme Ruscalleda – who has won five Michelin stars worldwide – plans to introduce a range of jellyfish-based dishes at her flagship Sant Pau restaurant in Sant Pol de Mer near Barcelona next year if she gets the go-ahead from scientists and food regulators. She has experimented to date with dishes such as jellyfish soup and blanched vegetables with julienned jellyfish using Chinese-sourced species. However, she plans to switch to Mediterranean species which have proliferated, according to some environmentalists, to fill the gap left by over-fishing – 16 tons of jellyfish were washed up last year in Andalucia alone. Spain’s environment ministry has suggested that jellyfish could be a healthy superfood. Although 95% is water, the rest is protein, with almost no fats, cholesterol or carbohydrates. – 27 September, Read the full article in the Independent >>

Leading organic supplier plans chain of neighbourhood restaurants
Riverford, the UK’s biggest organic farmer and its largest supplier of “vegetable boxes” is planning to set up a chain of neighbourhood restaurants supplying hearty meals at less than £10 a head.  Founder Guy Watson hopes they will be centrepieces of urban communities and become the first national organic chain offering cheap, healthy alternatives to pizza and burger chains. “Geographically, we probably need to start with a couple, maybe one in Bristol and one in London," said Watson. ”We would be looking at an area where there are lots of families – it would be off the high street”. The restaurants would be like a “homely Carluccios” with 60 to 80 seats run by local people and serving a limited or set menu of dishes such as roasted root vegetables, winter salad with pears and Moroccan lamb soup. – 27 September, Read the full article in the Independent >>

One in five Punch pubs are seeking new licensees
Concern is growing over the sustainability of Punch Taverns business model as it was revealed that one in five of its pubs were seeking new licensees. This accounts for some 1,400 of its 7,560-strong estate of leased pubs. Analysts suspect that big pub companies are charging too much rent from tenants already hit by cheap supermarket alcohol, the smoking ban, taxation and a general fall in beer drinking. Punch chief executive Giles Thorley insisted there would be no problem finding new tenants. “We leased more than 800 pubs in the year to August and we did 100 in August alone,” he said. Thorley also dismissed fears that Punch would struggle to redeem a £295m convertible bond that is due by December 2010.  The market value of the group – which has a net debt of £4.7b – has slumped from a 12-month peak of £4.76 in October to just £432.5m.  – 28 September, Read the full article in the Sunday Times >>

Devolved governments oppose Westminster campaign to grow GM crops
The devolved governments of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will vigorously oppose Westminster’s new campaign to allow genetically-modified crops to be grown in Britain. Despite public hostility and official trials that found GM crops harmed wildlife, Britain has remained the most pro-GM member of the European Union. Earlier this month an environment minister seemed to reverse the precautionary principle by claiming it was up to opponents, rather than suppliers, to prove GM crops were harmful. Wales says its has “cross-party support” to remain GM-free, while Northern Ireland plans to join forces with the Republic to keep the technology out of the island. – 28 September, Read the full article in the Independent on Sunday >>

Trendy hotel of the future opens in toughest district in Paris
Serge Trigano, the son of the Club Med founder, has opened the most trendy and talked-about hotel in Paris in the city’s least fashionable district. The 172-bedroom Mama Shelter opened two weeks ago in the 20th arrondissement – the poorest, most troubled, most racially mixed part of Paris which, however, retains some of edgy atmosphere of pre-war Paris that has been lost in the general tide of gentrification. The décor, by French designer Philippe Starck, retains much of the graffiti from the venue’s origins as a multi-storey car park. Trigano believes Mama Shelter represents a new kind of hotel for a new kind of urban tourism to rediscover great cities.  It aims to combine the informality of a student hostel with the qualities of a top-class hotel at affordable prices that range from  €79 to €200.” - 27 September, Read the full article in the Independent >>

Breast milk is mooted for soups, sauces and ice-cream
Swiss chef Hans Locher has recently announced plans to serve soups and sauces made from 75% breast milk in his Swiss restaurant while animal rights group Peta (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) is urging US manufacturer Ben & Jerry’s to use milk from nursing mothers rather than cows in its ice-creams. Locher has posted adverts in local villages appealing for donors, offering a rate of £3 per 14 ounces (398ml) of breast milk. Peta argues that breast milk would be both kinder to cows and more nutritious - and less hazardous – for consumers. “Dairy products have been linked to juvenile diabetes, allergies, constipation, obesity, and prostate and ovarian cancer," wrote Tracy Reiman, executive vice president of Peta. However Ben & Jerry’s, which is known for its ethical stance and its eccentric flavours, has baulked at the suggestion. As 50% of each 500ml  tub of its ice-cream is made from milk and cream, consistent supply would be a challenge. – 28 September, Read the full article in the Independent on Sunday >>

By Angela Frewin

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