Amuse-bouches: The latest restaurant news bites

We round up the latest restaurant news, from a series of virtual events at 67 Pall Mall to front-line cooking courtesy of Tom Kerridge.

Latest figures: The latest data makes for depressing reading. With a government shutdown in force, Wagestream’s analysis has shown that the number of shifts in the hospitality industry in the UK has fallen by 97.96% in the past month, and has “deteriorated significantly” in the past two weeks. Some restaurants who were initially operating as takeaways (which can remain open) have now decided to close for good.

67 Pall Mall: Some institutions, however, are displaying ingenuity in the face of adversity. One such example is 67 Pall Mall, a private members’ club for wine lovers in London, which has launched The Virtual Club. Its events are open to anyone and are hosted three times a week on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday on Zoom. Each session has a set theme and viewers are invited to open a bottle that aligns with the subject. After the talk, the (virtual) floor is open to discussion and a Q&A, featuring wine experts, winemakers and the club’s sommelier team. Upcoming events include: Jane Anson on Bordeaux (9 April), Jasper Morris MW on the golden years of Burgundy (14 April), Marc Hochar on Château Musar (16 April), Jasper Morris MW on the future of Burgundy (21 April) and Cocoa Runners and Spencer Hyman on chocolate and wine (30 April).

Restaurant Group: The owner of restaurant chain Wagamama, The Restaurant Group, has raised £57 million through a share placing to help see it through the Covid-19 pandemic. The operator said it was working on the assumption that its restaurants would remain closed until the end of June, and that it would put in place an “extremely disciplined” reopening system from between July to December.

Mark Hix: Chef and restaurateur Mark Hix has confirmed reports this week that administrators have been appointed to his restaurants, but stated that it was not his decision. In a statement posted on Instagram, Hix explained that the decision to appoint administrators had been taken by the board of the restaurants’ parent companies WSH & Mark Hix Restaurants Limited and Hix Townhouse. He wrote that the decision did not have his support.

Tom Kerridge: Celebrity chef Tom Kerridge has helped raise £100,000 to fund free meals for frontline NHS workers during the Covid-19 pandemic through the Meals From Marlow initiative. The campaign, backed by Kerridge, raised £100,000 in just 48 hours and included a £25,000 donation from local charity the Shanly Foundation. The funds will pay for 600 meals a day for NHS staff and vulnerable citizens in the Buckinghamshire and Berkshire areas.

Wine List Confidential: For the latest happenings and picture-based restaurant news, be sure to follow the Instagram account of db‘s sister publication Wine List Confidential. The account, which is manned by guide author Douglas Blyde, can be found on the handle @winelistconfidential.

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