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 the publication of the Michelin Guide Great Britain & Ireland, BrewDog taking on the BBC, and Covid's impact on hospitality two years on.

- Simon Rogan's flagship Cartmel restaurant L'Enclume has been awarded three stars with Ikoyi in London and Ynyshir in Wales among those promoted to two stars in the Michelin Guide Great Britain & Ireland 2022​. This week's digital event to commemorate the launch of the latest edition of the red book saw a total of 25 restaurants receive new star ratings, with five new two-star restaurants announced and 19 new one-star restaurants recognised. Elsewhere, Moor Hall in Lancashire and Pensons in Worcestershire are among nine new restaurants to be awarded a Michelin green star​, which highlights those at the forefront of the industry when it comes to their sustainable practices; while the Selby brothers, Welsh restaurant SY23 and chef Phil Howard were among this year's Michelin Special Award winners​. 

BrewDog is to lodge an official complaint with the BBC and the regulator Ofcom over a recent documentary​ that the group's CEO claims contained 'dozens of inaccuracies and false claims'. In a recent Disclosure​ documentary broadcast by BBC Scotland, BrewDog co-founder and CEO James Watt was accused of inappropriate behaviour towards women and abuse of power in the workplace. Last week in a blog posted published via his LinkedIn page, Watt responded to the documentary and confirmed the group would be launching an official complaint against the state broadcaster. He said: "We knew full well the documentary was never going to be anything other than the ‘malicious hatchet job’ our legal counsel described it as. Watching it, alone, in my office was savage. This was simply not the BrewDog I know and love. It was a malicious caricature, based largely on untruths. I utterly refute the characterisation of me as well."

- The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic has led to a loss of nearly £115bn across the hospitality sector​, according to new figures from UKHospitality. Hit first and hit hardest by Coronavirus, the sector has racked-up £114.8bn sales lost versus what was expected for 2020/21. With a full 24-months of data available, hospitality, which in normal times generates up to £140bn-a-year, has lost 43% and 45 full weeks of sales since March 2020. On top of these catastrophic losses, UKHospitality notes that the sector is facing rising costs across the board and is again urging the Government to continue its support to the industry by keeping VAT at its current level of 12.5%, rather than returning it to the pre-pandemic level of 20% in April as is currently planned.

Corbin & King has fought off a High Court challenge to a proposed multi-million rescue package, leaving it free to pursue funding from US investment firm Knighthead​, the FT​ has reported. In a hearing held yesterday (15 February), a subsidiary of Thai hotel operator Minor International – the restaurant group’s majority shareholder – attempted to block it from repaying debt to the Thai company, after Minor sought to call it in. Minor wanted £34m in the repayment of loans within 24-hours as part of a long-running dispute, which saw administrators appointed to Corbin & King last month. MI Squared are attempting to stop Corbin & King’s co-founders Jeremy King and Chris Corbin from accepting financial backing from Knighthead Capital in order to repay the debt to Minor, claiming it breached their shareholder agreement. Justice Foxton said he was “not persuaded” to grant the injunction and would set out his reasoning in a ruling.

- High profile St Petersburg-based restaurateurs Madina Kazhimova and Anna Dolgushina will make their UK debut later this year with a restaurant that celebrates ancient open-fire cooking techniques​. On Soho’s Poland Street in the site that was once home to Corazón, Firebird will serve largely European dishes with a focus on pickling, fermenting and curing as well as cooking over both charcoal and wood in a fully-open kitchen. Opening in late spring, the restaurant looks to be a major departure from the pair’s irreverent Wong Kar Wine flagship in St Petersburg, which serves modern Thai cuisine. As with Wong Kar Wine, wines will be curated by sommelier Dolgushina who typically works with small-scale producers who ‘operate in the low-intervention sphere’. But in another departure from the duo’s flagship cocktails will be placed on equal billing to the wine with eight to 10 available to be paired throughout the meal.

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

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