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Morning Briefing for pub, restaurant and food wervice operators

Fri 18th Aug 2023 - Michel Roux Jr to close Le Gavroche after more than 55 years
Michel Roux Jr to close Le Gavroche after more than 55 years: Michel Roux Jr has announced the closure of Le Gavroche at its Upper Brook Street site, in London’s Mayfair, where the restaurant has operated for more than 55 years. The restaurant will close in January 2024. Originally opened in 1967 by Michel’s father Albert and uncle Michel, Le Gavroche was the first restaurant in the UK to gain one, two and three Michelin stars (it currently holds two) it has become known as “the last bastion in London of classically rich French haute cuisine” and a London institution, internationally recognised for its “culinary excellence and unparalleled attention to detail”. Michel Roux Jr, who has headed the restaurant since 1991, said that he is looking for a better work/life balance without the “daily demands of a busy Michelin-starred restaurant” and that the upcoming end of his current lease gave him the opportunity to assess and consider his future. He said: “The pressure to be able to deliver the high quality that everyone expects is wearing when it’s every day, and every plate. The closure of Le Gavroche at this site is about turning the page and moving forward so I can focus on my family as well our other businesses.” These businesses include Chez Roux, which provides hospitality at sporting events, and has expanded to offer catering at home or a chosen venue, as well as cookery classes and culinary consultancy from a hand-picked team led by Emily and Michel Roux. Roux Jr will continue to head up the F&B operations at The Langham, London; working with the ICMI Hotel Group operating the Roux restaurants in Scotland; consulting for Compass Group; and catering at major sporting events with them including the Wimbledon Championships. He said: “I’ve also recently announced a collaboration with Cunard at Sea, and of course I will continue to create my cookbooks and TV series.” Michel’s daughter, Emily, and son-in-law, Diego Ferrari, will continue to operate their Notting Hill restaurant Caractère, and Roux Jr will cook there from time to time for special events. The Le Gavroche brand and the limited company will be retained by the family and will be used for special events and pop ups, private and public, in different locations, potentially around the world. “I am pleased to have made this decision and excited to take Le Gavroche on the road, to be a master of Le Gavroche rather than it being my master,” said Roux Jr. The restaurant staff will be going through redundancy consultations over the next few weeks. For those staff who do not qualify for redundancy, Roux Jr said he will ensure they are properly looked after too. He said that he and his Le Gavroche team will be planning to “go out with a bang!” so he can give his special thanks to everyone who has supported the restaurant over the decades. There will be a series of public dinners celebrating the menus over the decades since the restaurant opened, which will start this November and go through until the restaurant’s closure in January next year. Family members and familiar faces who have worked at Le Gavroche in the past will be making appearances at these events.

Councils and police urged to ignore pubs serving alcohol outside of usual Sunday hours ahead of Women’s World Cup final: Councils and police are being urged to ignore instances of pubs serving alcohol outside of their usual Sunday hours ahead of the Women’s World Cup final. In Cornwall, authorities have already announced they will not take enforcement action for early trade, reports the BBC. It comes after pubs called for licensing laws to be relaxed to allow venues to serve drinks from 10am ahead of the match. The government called for “rapid” action from councils. When pubs can sell alcohol depends on each venue’s licence. Most are likely to be unable to serve alcoholic drinks until 11am, with some being restricted until midday. Temporary blanket tweaks to licensing laws that apply in England and Wales for special events have to be approved by both the House of Commons and the House of Lords under the Licensing Act 2003. This has been done in the past ahead of big celebrations such as the Platinum Jubilee. Individual pubs can apply for a temporary event notice (TEN) to vary their hours, although that requires five working days to process, so pubs would have had to have applied by last Friday. However, as Parliament is currently in recess, the government is not planning to recall MPs to make the change ahead of the England versus Spain final. Communities secretary Michael Gove instead wrote to council leaders on Thursday calling on them to speed up applications for these temporary notices. If any individual venues had waited until the day of the semi-final to apply for a special exemption to serve alcohol earlier, it would likely have been too late to gain permission for Sunday’s final. Cornwall Council and Cornwall and Devon Police have taken the decision that they will not be enforcing licence conditions for pubs who open earlier than they would usually be allowed. Linda Taylor, leader of Cornwall Council, said: “Although it is too late to issue licences to allow our pubs and clubs to open, this is a sensible way forward, ensuring their businesses can benefit from the occasion, and so people can come together to enjoy the match together. I am delighted the police are supporting this move as well.” Conservative MP Sir Michael Fabricant has also suggested the police force in his constituency “turn a blind eye” to any pubs opening early. In a letter to Staffordshire Police chief constable Chris Noble and Staffordshire police and fire commissioner Ben Adams, the Lichfield MP wrote: “As you know, the Women’s World Cup Final will be held at 11:00 BST on Sunday. I think it would be a marvellous gesture if pubs could be allowed to open early and, although this would be contrary to the law, the police might turn a blind eye on this one occasion only.” The Home Office has also reportedly written to police chiefs encouraging them to work with councils to ensure as many venues as possible can open. The British Beer & Pub Association, which represents more than 20,000 pubs, told the BBC it did not believe many pubs would have applied for the temporary notice for the big match. Chief executive Emma McClarkin said it hoped that other councils would follow Cornwall’s lead.

Further train strikes announced: Train drivers at more than a dozen companies will strike on Friday, 1 September, and refuse to work overtime on Saturday, 2 September, union Aslef has said. The overtime ban will coincide with a strike by other rail workers, such as guards and station staff, in the RMT union, in a separate dispute. The RMT also has a strike on Saturday, 26 August. Aslef’s latest action follows a series of six-day overtime bans this summer, which have caused reductions in services and cancellations. The companies affected are: Avanti West Coast, Chiltern Railways, c2c, CrossCountry, East Midlands Railway, Greater Anglia, GTR Great Northern Thameslink, Great Western Railway, Island Line, LNER, Northern Trains, Southeastern, Southern/Gatwick Express, South Western Railway, TransPennine Express and West Midlands Trains.

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