2014: Review of the year

23 December 2014
2014: Review of the year

As 2014 draws to a close, we take a look back at some of the year's most popular stories and remember those industry figures who passed away

Tom Aikens Restaurant to close

Hoteliers hit hard by storms
Hoteliers and restaurateurs were left to count the cost of hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of lost business over the festive period of 2013/14 after the UK was battered by storms and floods. One business particularly badly hit was the four-star 57-bedroom Mercure Boxhill Burford Bridge hotel near Dorking in Surrey, which was forced to close on Christmas Eve after 27 guests and nine members of staff were rescued by boat when the nearby River Mole burst its banks. It didn't reopen until September.

Marcus Wareing at the Berkeley to close for renovations
Marcus Wareing announced that he would temporarily close his two-Michelin-starred restaurant at the Berkeley hotel in London's Knightsbridge to revamp it as a more casual eaterie called Marcus.

Dinner closed after Norovirus outbreak
Heston Blumenthal's Dinner at the Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park was forced to close in January and only re-opened in early February after 23 diners and 21 members of staff were taken ill with suspected cases of norovirus. It was not the first time one of Blumenthal's restaurants was hit by the virus. In 2009, his three-Michelin-starred Fat Duck in Bray was closed for two weeks after hundreds of diners were hit by the virus.

Bo London closes
Alvin Leung's Michelin-starred Bo London closed in mysterious circumstances. The business initially claimed it was closed for a refit, before then blaming a water leak. It later transpired that the company operating the restaurant had gone into administration.

Gordon Ramsay buys site of Aubergine restaurant
Gordon Ramsay bought the former site of Aubergine, the restaurant that launched his career as a chef-restaurateur and where he subsequently won his first brace of Michelin stars. He became head chef of the site at 11 Park Walk in London in 1993, working for A-Z Restaurants, and was later given a 25% stake in the business.

Three major caterers in top team reshuffles
Centerplate, Delaware North and Searcys all announced high profile new appointments in the same week. Centerplate president of UK operations Adam Elliott left the business while Adrian Dishington became the new chief operating officer. Meanwhile Searcys chief executive Doug Tetley left to take up the top job at Delaware North, with Searcys' former sales and marketing director Chris Maddison becoming MD.

Dorchester Collection responds to boycott
The chief executive of Dorchester Collection spoke out in response to a worldwide boycott by prominent members of the fashion, media and travel industries who were angry at the implementation by the Sultan of Brunei of a series of harsh new Islamic laws. The hotel chain is owned by the Sultan of Brunei's sovereign wealth investment agency. Christopher Cowdray said the company's policies were "far removed from the politics of ownership".

Bovey Castle sold to Eden Hotel Collection
The 64-bedroom Bovey Castle hotel in the Dartmoor National Park, Devon, was set to undergo a major refurbishment after it was acquired by the Eden Hotel Collection for an undisclosed sum. It was originally put on the market two years before by property investment company Delancey for £17.5m and had previously been sold by Peter De Savary in 2006 for £26.4m.

Nobu Matsuhisa honoured at the Cateys 2014
Iconic chef-restaurateur Nobu Matsuhisa won the inaugural International Outstanding Achievement Award at the Cateys, which took place at a glittering awards ceremony at London's Grosvenor House, A JW Marriott Hotel. The chef - famed the world over for his Nobu group of restaurants and emerging hotels brand - appeared in person to collect his award, alongside more than 1,200 of his peers at what is regarded as the Oscars of the hospitality industry. Meanwhile, William Baxter joined the likes of Albert and Michel Roux, Anton Mosimann and Richard Shepherd in winning the Lifetime Achievement Award and Oliver Peyton, founder of caterer Peyton & Byrne and judge on BBC TV show Great British Menu, picked up the Special Award.

IHG and Supreme Hotels part company at InterContinental Westminster hotel
InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) lost the management contract to run the Westminster hotel it opened with considerable fanfare less than two years ago. Supreme Hotels, part of the Splendid Hospitality Group and owner of the 256-bedroom property, and IHG mutally agreed to part company, and Supreme signed a franchise agreement with Hilton Worldwide to rebrand the InterContinental Westminster as the Conrad London Westminster.

Giraffe founders Juliette and Russel Joffe resign
Juliette and Russel Joffe, co-founders of restaurant group Giraffe, resigned from the business. The pair launched Giraffe in 1998 alongside lifelong friend Andrew Jacobs and built it up to 60 UK restaurants, five of which are located in airports, and two in the UAE. Last year, Tesco bought the business for £50m, at a time when it had 48 sites. The deal allowed private equity firms 3i and Risk Capital Partners to sell their stakes in the company.

Westbury Street Holdings buys Searcys
Westbury Street Holdings (WSH) acquired Searcys for an undisclosed sum following months of speculation over the future of the boutique caterer. Searcys was put on the market in November 2013 with a price tag of £25m to £30m, with adviser BDO appointed to manage the sale. WSH snapped up the business in its entirety despite speculation in February that the company might be broken up in a bid to attract buyers.

Claude Bosi acquires Ludlow hotel with brother
Two-Michelin-starred chef Claude Bosi acquired a hotel with his brother Cedric in his old haunt of Ludlow, Shropshire. The two brothers took over the 10-bedroom Town House hotel and undertook "a light redecoration" before reopening in September.

Alan Murchison resigns from L'Ortolan
Chef Alan Murchison resigned from L'Ortolan in Berkshire after 13 years. He reopened the restaurant in Shinfield near Reading with new owner Peter Newman in 2001 and retained a Michelin star at the site ever since 2003. The restaurant also won a fourth AA rosette in 2013. L'Ortolan was operated for a number of years by Alan Murchison Restaurants Limited but the gradual demise of 10 in 8 Group, which owned the company, saw Alan Murchison Restaurants Limited enter liquidation in late 2013. The operation of L'Ortolan was then taken over by Newman's company Newfee Limited, with Murchison staying on as executive chef.

Elior buys Lexington Catering
Elior, one of the largest foodservice operators in the UK, bought Lexington Catering, the boutique London firm founded by a trio of former Elior personnel. Chief executive Mike Sunley, and directors Katharine Lewis and Rachel Lindner, who all previously worked for Elior's former business & industry brand Avenance, launched Lexington in 2002. The caterer, which operates in London and the South East, reported an annual turnover of £33.2m for 2013, up 25.8% year-on-year, while pre-tax profit for the period rose 29.6% to £1.5m.

Sale of Village Urban Resorts marks the end for De Vere Group
The final chapter of De Vere was written with the sale of its Village Urban Resorts brand to an American private equity company. An affiliate of KSL Capital Partners fought off competition from around 20 interested parties from around the world to acquire the 25-strong group, with a further three hotels under development, for an unconfirmed sum of around £485m. The sale of the business, once a giant of the hospitality sector that was born out of the Greenall's brewing company, marks a return to the helm of Village Urban Resorts for Gary Davis. He will take over as chief executive, a role he stepped down from in 2011 to take over as chief executive of Malmaison and Hotel du Vin, which KSL acquired last year. The sell-off of the De Vere Group is now complete with the disposal earlier this year of its conference and training division De Vere Venues to the Starwood Capital Group for £231m, alongside the sale of individual properties within the hotels portfolio, including the Grand in Brighton, and the six-strong collection of De Vere golf hotels, which were merged into QHotels.

Beer tie to be scrapped following government defeat in Commons
The centuries-old beer tie is set to be scrapped following a government defeat in the House of Commons over the control that major tenanted pub companies exercise over pubs. MPs voted 284 to 259 in favour of an amendment that will allow landlords an independent rent review and to buy their beer on the open market. The vote is a major blow for leading pub operators such as Enterprise Inns and Punch Taverns, while supporters of the amendment - such as the Campaign For Real Ale and the Federation of Small Businesses - welcomed the news. The British Beer & Pub Association described the vote as "hugely damaging" as it could lead to the closure of up to 1,400 pubs.

Just one third of F&B managers 100% ready for allergen labelling
Only one third of food & beverage managers polled said they were 100% ready for the new allergen legislation, which came into force in mid-December. That was according to independent research carried out by technology business Caternet. The survey found that 20% of responding businesses admitted that no plans had yet been put in place to meet the new requirements that have been imposed upon all food businesses. The changes were introduced across Europe, following new EU legislation.

No longer with us

Derek Balls

The former master of the Worshipful Company of Innholders and the co-founder and honorary patron of the Master Innholders, Derek Balls, died aged 90 in the spring of 2014. The well-known wine merchant Balls (of wine merchants and bars Balls Brothers) was born in 1923, became a liveryman of the Worshipful Company in 1944, and master in 1997.

Bernard Brindley
BII chairman Bernard Brindley died aged 63 in April 2014. Prior to his appointment as chairman of the BII in 2012, Brindley, a long-standing publican, was a regional chairman of the organisation. He also chaired the Pub Independent Rent Review Scheme.

Ross Burden

TV chef Ross Burden died in July at the age of just 45. The chef, who appeared on Ready Steady Cook, died in New Zealand while being treated for leukaemia. It later emerged that he had contracted Legionnaires' disease during his treatment.

Tony Clivaz
Tony Clivaz (A C Clivaz), former director of catering for British Airways, died aged 96 in April. His career started at Lyons & Co where he rose to become manager of the Trocadero, Piccadilly. He served in the British Army Catering Corps and was on the beaches at Dunkirk before taking the British Airways role where he was on the steering committee for the development of the 747 and Concorde.

Clarissa Dickson Wright TV chef Clarissa Dickson Wright, former presenter of BBC programme Two Fat Ladies with the late Jennifer Paterson, died in March aged 66. Dickson Wright, who was from St John's Wood in London, died in Edinburgh. The daughter of a surgeon to the Royal family and an Australian heiress, Dickson Wright was firstly a barrister - the country's then-youngest at the age of 21 - before turning her hand to cooking.

Gordon Haggarty

Gordon Haggarty, the chairman of Accent Catering Services, died in August aged 60, after a battle against leukaemia. Well-known, respected, and liked, he teamed up in 2002 with his wife Clare and finance director Derek Warman, to fulfil his dream of launching a new independent caterer, Accent Catering Services.

Joe Hyam

Former editor of The Caterer Joe Hyam died in March at the age of 80. He spent 15 years at
the helm of The Caterer (then Caterer and Hotelkeeper), initially as editor and later as editorial director. He was responsible for introducing a host of awards, competitions and conferences, including the Cateys in 1984.

Denver Jeffrey

Denver Jeffrey, the director of food and beverage at Sopwell House hotel, died suddenly in June aged just 46. A popular figure in the industry, as well as being an accomplished toastmaster, Jeffrey joined Sopwell House (part of AB Hotels Ltd) in January 2013, having enjoyed a highly successful career with Marriott International.

Pierre Martin
Pierre Martin, Independent Restaurateur of the Year at the 1986 Cateys and the man credited with changing the face of serving fish in London's restaurants, died in France at the age of 75 in August. At the height of his success in the 1970s and 1980s, Martin operated five restaurants in London: La Crosiette, Le Suquet, L'Olivier, Lou Pescadou and Quai St Pierre.

Karim Miftah

Karim Miftah, restaurant manager at Bibendum restaurant, died of cancer aged 49 in December. A respected and experienced manager, Miftah oversaw a team of 30 and had worked at Bibendum for 24 years. He started in the restaurant as a waiter in 1990. Following a period as maitre d'hotel, he then became restaurant manager in 2000, and was much loved by colleagues and patrons alike.

David Nicholson
David Nicholson, who together with his wife Patricia formerly owned Holbeck Ghyll country house hotel in Troutbeck, Windermere, died in January aged 60. The couple bought the hotel in 1988 and won an RAC Blue Ribbon in the early 1990s, four AA red stars, and a Michelin star in 2000, making it one of the top hotels outside London.

John O'Connor

John O'Connor, professor at Oxford Brookes, died in July. Colleague Donald Sloan, head of the Oxford school of hospitality management, described O'Connor as "one of the most significant figures to have worked in hospitality management education".

Joe Tyers Young chef Joe Tyers, who worked for Nathan Outlaw at the St Enodoc hotel in Rock in Cornwall, died at the end of September in a car accident. Tyers, from Leicestershire, was the only occupant of a silver VW Polo, which crashed on the B3314 in Cornwall.

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