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After weeks of tension, chefs across the country can finally breathe a sigh of relief – or disappointment. The Michelin guide for 2020 has been announced, and 29 restaurants across Great Britain and Ireland have been awarded shiny new stars. One hundred and eighty-seven Michelin-Starred Restaurants are featured for 2020, including one new Three Star, four new Two Stars and 23 new One Stars.

Three restaurants have been promoted from One to Two Stars: La Dame de Pic in the City of London (Anne-Sophie Pic); The Dining Room at Whatley Manor in Malmesbury (Niall Keating); and The Greenhouse in Dublin (Mikael Viljanen).

Meanwhile, Aimsir in Celbridge – where Jordan Bailey focuses on foraged and preserved produce – enters the guide for the first time with Two Michelin Stars.

The Lake District is a big winner, with three restaurants gaining One Star: the sweet, intimate Old Stamp House at Ambleside; Allium at Askham Hall in Askham, which makes great use of produce from its gardens and estate; and hidden gem The Cottage in the Wood in Braithwaite.

One Star is awarded to Interlude in the Leonardslee Gardens in Lower Beeding and to Pensons in Tenbury Wells, which both focus on local and garden produce; meanwhile, Nottingham’s new One Michelin Star alchemilla really brings plant-based ingredients to the fore.

London has a good geographical spread of new One Stars, with intimate Mãos in Shoreditch; Da Terra in the restored Town Hall Hotel in Bethnal Green; Dysart Petersham, set in a charming early1900s house in Richmond; and Japanese Endo at The Rotunda in the old BBC Building in Shepherd’s Bush.

Other city establishments include sophisticated Indian restaurant Opheem in Birmingham and stylish Mana in Manchester, which receives the city’s first Michelin Star in over 40 years.

The Republic of Ireland also has much to celebrate, with intimate wine-bar-cum-bistro Bastion in Kinsale being promoted from a Bib Gourmand, and funky modern Variety Jones in Dublin and grand hotel dining room The Oak Room in Adare both receiving One Michelin Star.

“This is an amazing year for the Republic of Ireland, with five new Michelin Stars being awarded – two of them at Two Star level. This brings the total number of Starred restaurants in Ireland up to 18 and is just reward for the determination of young chefs who are keen to make their mark on the Irish dining scene,” says Rebecca Burr, Director of the Michelin Guide Great Britain & Ireland.

Remarkable Achievement of Aktar Islam

Aston-born chef-owner Aktar Islam is probably the first British Bangladeshi Chef in the UK to be awarded a Michelin Star.

Birmingham based chef Aktar Islam won Gordon Ramsay’s F-Word back in 2009. Akhtar Islam now won first Michelin star for his Birmingham’s Summer Row restaurant Opheem, which was announced early October 2019.

In a heartfelt message on Facebook, Aktar wrote: “Gordon Ramsay, ten years ago you gave me my big break and yesterday Opheem was awarded its first Michelin star.

“Thank you, chef, for setting me up for this incredible journey.”

Restaurant fined after avoiding safety warnings from council

The Sagar Indian restaurant in Seaham, County Durham, has been fined almost £7,000 after Durham County Council food safety officers carried out tests and confirmed that the curry was misleading and sold as nut-free to one of the officers, who clarified specifically that she had a peanut allergy in November 2018, and requested a curry to be made without any peanuts.

The Newton Aycliffe Magistrates Court heard that, despite the reassuring from the staff that the curry provided would be nut-free, it was confirmed after analytic tests that small amounts of peanut protein was still present in the curry, which made it dangerous enough to induce an allergic reaction also known as an anaphylactic shock.

The food safety officers returned to the premises in January 2019, to do a safety check and where the issue of cross-contamination had been discovered. This was from the result of uncovered nut powder that was stored next to other spices and very close to the stove where the cooking takes place.

This wasn’t the first time the restaurant had been under investigation, back in 2015, The Sagar, had already received a warning from the council, which again confirmed through a test, that traces of peanuts were still visible in a confirmed nut-free dish. Upon confirming this news previously, the restaurant was invited to attend free training and support on the topic of food safety and allergens, but this was ignored and nobody decided to take the issue seriously. 

Joanne Waller, The head of community protection, said: “Recent high-profile deaths resulting from allergic reaction to food illustrate the importance of this case. The risk to members of the public who may be exposed to allergens either due to poor practices during food preparation or through undeclared ingredients can be severe.

“Customers who suffer from allergies expect food businesses to take their needs seriously. We hope the sentence imposed by the magistrates serves as a warning to food businesses that fail to control the risks posed by allergens.”

None of the staff or representatives from the restaurant attended any of the court hearings, which resulted in the company being fined £5,500, costs of £1,293.95 and victim surcharges of £170.

As a result, the company’s solicitor stated that the restaurant has now made attempts to implement some major changes, including a strict staff -training scheme, which educates on allergies, however still, the restaurant still is unable to guarantee an allergen-free meal.  

High Profile allergy related death cases are becoming a huge safety issue within the food industry and this leads us onto some of the serious issues that need to be addressed from this story being the storage of ingredients, how to handle a customer who has a reaction on the premises and how to implement good risk control measures.

Cobra Collective initiative launched in London

Cobra Beer, founded by British Indian entrepreneur Lord Karan Bilimoria, has launched an initiative designed to support the UK restaurant industry in early September, The evening brought together a panel of highly successful chefs, restaurateurs and restaurant industry entrepreneurs to form the collective circle and presented a number of issues facing the Hospitality sector and every member’s personal journey of getting into the sector over a wonderful three-course meal and a taster session of the latest version of The Famous Gluten- Free Cobra beer. The Collective group intends to roll out a programme of inspiring business master-classes, interactive workshops and ‘how to’ videos, developed to support start-up hospitality entrepreneurs and existing restaurant owners at what is a turbulent time for the hospitality sector.

The Panel members consisted of chef, entrepreneur and Master-Chef host Monica Galetti, Michelin-starred chef Andrew Wong, restaurateur Nisha Katona MBE, Podcast presenter and content creator Alexandra Dudley, Beer Sommelier Ed Hughes alongside Cobra Beer founder and CEO Lord Karan Bilimoria. Each member of The Cobra Collective will work with the Cobra brand to develop a range of exclusive and informative content and events based on their individual areas of expertise within the restaurant sector.

The agenda for the Autumn will cover interesting topics on; How to Create Cultural Harmony in the Workplace, The Highs and Lows of Business Podcast, How to Create and Grow a Brand within Hospitality Q&A, Brewed Smooth for all Food; Beer & Food Pairing Masterclass in an Increasingly Digital Landscape, How to Leverage Social Media in the Culinary World, Getting Ahead as a Female in the Hospitality Industry

Lord Karan Bilimoria comments, “Current economic forces and shifting consumer trends mean that running a restaurant business has never been harder, or more beset by external challenges.  As a brand largely stocked and consumed in pan Asian and ethnic restaurants across the UK, Cobra wants to bring a set of inspirational hospitality leaders together to support this hugely important sector of the restaurant industry. We are committed as a business to support entrepreneurs and independent restaurateurs and see the Cobra Collective as an ongoing and growing initiative; we’re delighted to announce our key members at this time and look forward to working with them over the coming months.”

A sad goodbye to the legendary Gaylord Restaurant

The exquisite Indian restaurant the Gaylord based in Central London’s Fitzrovia has closed down after 53 years in the capital. It is no longer listed in book a table or open table.

Gaylord will make way for Banjarah, the London debut for New Delhi’s Azure Hospitality. The Azure Hospitality, which is based in Delhi, runs several successful restaurants across India.

According to planning documents, the new restaurant Banjarah will occupy the basement and ground floors of 79-81 Mortimer Street and details to be worked out.

The Gaylord first opened its doors in 1966 and was famous for Indian Mughlai Cuisine.

Despite its popularity, in 2017 the Gaylord got into trouble because of serious breach of food hygiene standards. The Westminster City Council served the Emergency Hygiene Prohibition Notice and it was forced to close to make necessary improvement was carried out.

After reopen, it never really recovered to gain its reputation back and had continuous bad reviews.

Anyway, finally the site has been taken over by Azure Hospitality from India.

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