The Italians are coming

Hi All

I am sure you all had the same Christmas experience as us, December started full of promise and then the weather struck, what looked like being a busy end to the year turned into a disaster. People stayed at home, fish got stuck in port, and the price of salmon went through the roof. Salmon prices look set to stay at current levels as fish farms attempt to claw back the business lost over the last month.

Now the new year is here we should be looking forward with optimism. This was helped last night by seeing England thrash the Australians in the final match of the ashes. My wife can’t understand why it’s necessary to stay up through the early hours of the morning to watch the match live when I could so easily hear the result on the radio the following morning. So will have to suffer a few days diet of cold shoulder and tongue. It’s open season for Australian jokes so what do you get when you mix an Oxo cube with an Aussie ………………… laughing stock, I have more of those if you want them.

On the wildlife front more good news from the Environment Agency, water quality on English and Welsh rivers has improved year on year for the past 20 years and are now considered their healthiest for over 100 years. The Thames saw record numbers of sea trout last year, I think I should repeat that, the Thames saw record numbers of sea trout last year and the Tyne saw the highest number of migrating salmon since records began. This prompted the environment agency to hail this as the best decade for British waterways since the Industrial Revolution.

2011 marks the start of the Italian invasion. Adriano Cavagnini from the Hotel Eden in Rome arrives in London to open the Amaranto Restaurant in the Four Seasons Hotel. After a 125 million pound makeover the hotel is due to open next month. The restaurant designed by Paris designer Pierre-Yves Rochen, who was responsible for the Savoy refurbishment so let’s hope they have corrected the height of the banquette seating. Massimo Riccioli is opening Massimo’s at the new Corinthia Hotel in Whitehall. Gary Hollihead as the hotel's executive chef will oversee the Northall Restaurant and Grill which will be showcasing British produce. He is ably assisted by Simon Davis (ex D&D Chophouse) and Claire Clarke and hopes to be operational in March sometime.

In Tokyo a 754 lb. tuna has just been sold for a record £250,000, that equates to £334/lb. Japan remains the highest consumer of Atlantic and Pacific Bluefin tuna and buys 80% of the world’s catches. This trade is largely fuelled by the Japanese and Hong Kong sushi market but interest from China is helping to keep prices up. This trade is condemned by conservation organisations because the species has been so overfished that it is now classified as endangered. I feel guilty now moaning about salmon prices.

Now we are over Christmas why not pencil in a visit to the smokery. If you want to bring some of your kitchen or front of house team we are sure we can provide an interesting and informative day out, just give me a call any time.

More news soon.

Regards, Dai Francis