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 top news stories include the sad death chef Alastair Little, Café Wolseley being 'forced to close' by its landlord, and Dmitri Magi being appointed culinary director at Claridge’s.

- Chef, restaurateur and cookbook writer Alastair Little has died at the age of 72​. Widely credited with the modernisation of British cuisine, Little was dubbed 'the Godfather of modern British cookery' and one of Britain’s most celebrated chefs. He was a leading figure in the UK for developing the movement away from French haute cuisine in favour of food based on simplicity, seasonality and taste, often with Mediterranean influences. Leading tributes to Little on Instagram, Quo Vadis chef Jeremy Lee called Little 'a great man'. “Alastair Little was a godfather of modern British cooking and a champion of keeping it simple,” he said. “His cooking was just incredible x peerless. Unique, charming, brilliant x a joy to cook with x a huge inspiration x a great pal and a great boss x gone too young x too soon x much missed and never to be forgotten.”

The Wolseley Hospitality Group (TWHG) says it has been 'forced to close' its Café Wolseley restaurant at Bicester Village against its wishes​ after having its lease prematurely terminated. In a statement, TWHG, which previously operated under the Corbin & King moniker and rebranded back in June after Minor International acquired full control of the group from co-founder Jeremy King, claims the owner of Bicester Village, Value Retail Group, has 'taken advantage of a technicality in the lease to force the closure of the restaurant'. The group suggests that Minor's takeover of the business back in April following a prolonged and very public battle for ownership with King is behind Value Retail's move and that it has lobbied to have the decision changed, but to no effect.

- Chef Dmitri Magi has been appointed to the newly created role of culinary director at top-end Mayfair hotel Claridge’s​ and will relaunch the space that previously housed Davies and Brook later this year. The promotion from executive chef to overseeing the entirety of the property’s culinary output follows the departure of long-standing Claridge’s executive chef Martyn Nail earlier this year. As well as overseeing the whole of the hotel’s F&B offer - which includes The Foyer and Reading Room restaurant, private events, room service and Claridge’s bars menus - Magi will also help spearhead the ‘future culinary vision and evolution of new restaurants’.

- Rafael Cagali’s second venture at Bethnal Green’s Town Hall Hotel will be named Elis​ in tribute to his mother’s first restaurant and will offer a more relaxed interpretation of the two-star chef’s Brazilian-Italian heritage. Expected to open this autumn in the space that was once Corner Room, the restaurant will be a counterpoint to the chef’s adjacent Da Terra flagship, offering an a la carte menu and wines selected by the team at Noble Rot.

- Blue Mountain School founders James and Christie Brown will launch a new restaurant this October in collaboration with former Akoko and Portland chef Theo Clench​. Meaning kitchen in Old English, Cycene will take over two floors of the restored Shoreditch townhouse including the first-floor rooms that were previously home to Mãos, the duo’s previous culinary project which closed earlier this year. The two floors are currently being ‘extensively remodelled’ to create a bar on the ground floor, a significantly larger kitchen and a 16-cover, first floor dining room.

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

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