Friday Five: the week's top news

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

Friday Five: the week's top news

Related tags: Hospitality

This week's main hospitality news stories include Elizabeth Haigh being hit with plagiarism allegations, the closure of 1,000 licenced premises since July, and a delay to planned business rates reform.

Elizabeth Haigh's debut cookbook Makan has been pulled from shelves amid allegations that she plagiarised recipes and personal stories from another Singaporean chef​. Haigh, who runs Borough Market restaurant Mei Mei, released Makan earlier this year. The book was widely praised, with a BigHospitality​ review​ describing it as "a surprisingly accessible affair that balances familiar Asian dishes - including wok-fried noodles, satay, char siu, chicken noodle soup, and sweet and sour pork - with the less so". However, it has now been revealed that publisher Bloomsbury Absolute has withdrawn the book from circulation after New York-based chef Sharon Wee accused Haigh of copying recipes and other content originally published in her own cookbook, Growing Up in a Nonya Kitchen, which was first published in 2012.

An average of 16 licensed hospitality premises have closed everyday since the market fully reopened in July​, the new Market Recovery Monitor from CGA and AlixPartners reveals. A total of of 980 sites have closed between July and September, further emphasising that the hospitality industry remains under severe pressure from the effects of Covid-19, as well as a range of operational challenges including labour shortages, disruption to supply and rising costs. The Market Recovery Monitor indicates that small businesses have borne the brunt of closures.

- Plans for a major overhaul of the business rates system have been shelved​, with Chancellor Rishi Sunak now only expected to unveil smaller scale tweaks in this month's Budget. The Telegraph​ reports that 'wholesale reform' of the controversial levy have been 'thrown into the long grass' so ministers and officials can undertake further work. Government sources said the Chancellor is committed to reforming the system in England, but has not had enough time to consider the impact of a significant shake up due to the pandemic. The Treasury is still expected to publish its review into business rates at the Budget on October 27, after it was delayed beyond the earlier Budget in March this year. Trade body UKHospitality has subsequently said it will be requesting an urgent meeting with the Treasury​ to gain clarity on this matter and push for the Government to reconsider.

- Sustainability-focused concept Fallow is relocating to a permanent home in London's St James's Market​ following a prolonged residency at rotating pop-restaurant 10 Heddon Street in Mayfair. Launching next month, the new 150-cover site will boast a 65-cover dining room with a bar, wraparound terrace, and seven-seater chef’s counter overlooking the open kitchen. Founders Will Murray and Jack Croft will use the space to continue their culinary approach, which combines ‘creative cooking and sustainable thinking’. Much of the produce will be sourced from the pair's small holding near Esher, and there will be particular focus on whole animal butchery with the downstairs kitchen boasting a dry-ageing room.

D&D London has announced it will be permanently rolling out its chef training programme​ that it launched over the summer. In partnership with Electric Mayonnaise, D&D will be offering two training schemes that will operate on a monthly basis and take place at the group's 100 Wardour Street restaurant in Soho. The first will be an intensive, five-day course created in collaboration with Electric Mayonnaise's Into Hospitality initiative, which will see successful participants awarded with an Entry 3 Introductory Certificate at the end and secure employment in one of D&D’s restaurants. A second and more advanced option will be the Chef De Partie course - an eight-week deep dive, designed to cover all the basics that an NVQ level 2 in professional cookery would cover.

Check below for more of this week's headlines, or click here​.

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