McCormack, who was executive chef at Wagamama before joining Tampopo, was appointed food manager for the pub and restaurant operator last month as it looks to meet the UK's growing demand for Asian cuisine.
M&B had looked at buying Asian fast casual restaurant chain Tampopo, which currently operates six restaurants across the UK, but it was reported last month on BigHospitality's sister site The Publican's Morning Advertiser, that the operator had called off its approach in favour of developing its own Asian brand.
A spokesman for M&B, which owns more than 1,600 pubs and restaurants around the UK, refused to comment on 'industry rumour' about developing a new brand, but said it was looking to capitalise on McCormack's vast experience in pan-Asian food for all its brands, which include All Bar One, Browns, Harvester and Sizzling Pubs.
Analysts of the restaurant sector predict a rise in demand for healthy Asian concepts over the next few years with 24 per cent of restaurant executives questioned by Allegra Strategies for its UK Restaurant Leader Summit choosing south east Asian as the fastest growing cuisine type in the next three to five years. It was beaten only by healthy eating offers (51 per cent) and Mexican (29 per cent).
In its How Britain Eats 2010 report, the company said British was the nation's favourite cuisine to eat when out of home, closely followed by Chinese.
“There will be more interest in Asian cuisine, particularly street-inspired aspects, but more so for those that are price competitive and tick the healthy option boxes too,” said Steve Gotham, executive director at Allegra.