Weekend on a Plate

The weekend digested: allergies on the rise and food poisoning from lamb

The news, reviews and trends from October 20-21, including Gaucho’s resurrection plan and Gordon Ramsay’s potential burger chain.

22 October 2018
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Food news

Child allergies inflamed

As concern continues over hidden allergens in food, NHS Digital has published figures that show the number of children hospitalised due to food allergies has risen 76% since 2013. “Today, every school class has one or two children with a food allergy, while several decades ago it was unheard of,” Paul Turner, a clinician scientist in paediatric allergy and immunology at Imperial College London, told the Sunday Times. His statement is backed up by official estimates that allergies affect up to 8% of children compared to 2% of adults.


Steering Gaucho back into green pastures

A truncated wine list, overpriced meat and undifferentiated individual locations all contributed to Gaucho’s business troubles, according to Martin Williams. The entrepreneur hopes to guide the steakhouse back toward success following a bruising year that saw the demise of sister brand Cau and the arrangement of a company voluntary agreement (CVA) to stave off administration, reports the Sunday Times.

image credit: Getty Images

More Patisserie problems

The trials and tribulations of Patisserie Valerie continue to make headlines. The Sunday Times reports that law firm Teacher Stern is preparing to launch a group action against the company for its “misleading statements.” Meanwhile, the Financial Times questions whether the government needs to curb the tax breaks attached to shares on the Alternative Investment Market (AIM), following the collapse of alcohol vendor Conviviality and the current problems with Patisserie Valerie.


Feel-good vibes

Researchers from the University of Innsbruck have found that uplifting music in a restaurant increases the likelihood of a bigger tip. Melancholy music also has a positive effect on gratuity compared to neutral background tunes, reports the Telegraph.


Ramsay gets his buns out

The Mail on Sunday speculates that Gordon Ramsay is about to launch a new burger chain, after the celebrity chef registered trademarks for Great Burger in the EU and the US.

image credit: Getty Images

Lambs to the slaughter

The Food Standards Agency has stepped up hygiene checks at slaughterhouses, following a marked increase in food poisoning associated with lamb and mutton, according to the Times. “A total of 118 infections were reported in Britain between July last year and May,” writes the paper, adding that there have been a further 165 cases since then.


Well-aged staff

People over the age of 50 make for better waitstaff than millennials, according to Jeremy King, co-founder of the Corbin & King group. The man behind such restaurants as The Wolseley and Brasserie Zedel tells the Telegraph he finds older restaurant employees are more engaged and engaging.


Food trends

Jacked up

The Sunday Telegraph finally catches onto the jackfruit as a vegan meat alternative trend, highlighting its presence in supermarkets like Waitrose and Sainsbury’s as well as restaurant chains such as Pizza Express and Gourmet Burger Kitchen.

image credit: Getty Images

Food reviews

Träkol, Gateshead NE8 2BH

‘Live fire,’ ‘fiercely seasonal’ and ‘nose to tail’ are the buzzwords of this eatery, which Jay Rayner dubs “outrageously good.” From the grilled pork jowl with XO sauce to the salt-baked tomatoes with slices of pink lamb heart, everything has an invigorating brush with flames. Most impressive of all is the Take Middle White Pig, a two-parter consisting first of a 1kg chop, “charred outside, slightly pink within, with thick discs of black pudding, its exterior crisped,” followed by half a pig’s head. Treading in the footsteps of Tomos Parry’s much-lauded Brat, there’s also a whole grilled turbot on the menu.


Kym’s, London EC4N 8AR

Cantonese-style roast meats have been given star billing at Andrew Wong’s second outing, writes Marina O’Loughlin, tucking into “insanely moist” soy sauce chicken and sweet and sour pork ribs with sesame, “the almost slurpable meat as dark and glossy as patent leather.” Noting its status as a diffusion brand for A Wong, she described the concept as a “palpable, scalable, eminently saleable hit.”

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