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Alan Yau: a true food visionary

first_imgIn a corner at the back of the dining area, the man who has curated this culinary scene sits in quiet contemplation – turning down the offer of food himself and ordering only a jasmine tea. He prefers not to eat and talk at the same time, he says, as some chilli and shallot cashew nuts, edamame beans and grilled Iberico ham are brought out to keep the rest of the troops happy (ish… it is lunch time, some of us are hungry and the smells are tantalising).We are upstairs in Duck + Rice, restaurant entrepreneur Alan Yau’s latest venture, which combines the great British institution of the pub and a Chinese restaurant. It is easy to forget these days, with the myriad street-food and mono-food outlets everywhere, that not so long ago good-quality ethnic fast food was largely the preserve of one-off restaurants or dedicated districts. Hong Kong-born Yau played a major role in changing that, first by founding the Wagamama food chain, which he sold in 1997, and then raising the bar further with London restaurants Hakkasan and Yauatcha.Now he is moving the gastronomic goalposts again with Duck + Rice, which opened its doors in April in Soho, and Babaji, which opened in December also in Soho, and he hopes will bring the pide – a Turkish version of pizza – to the masses. He reveals to Property Week what inspires him to come up with such quirky ideas, what his aspirations are for the two new formats and what he thinks about the competition.Multicultural conceptBut first thing’s first, he wants to make one thing clear: Duck + Rice is not a gastropub. “A gastropub is really almost the kitchen taking over the pub, so the majority of the place becomes a sit-down venue,” he says. “To maintain the independence and integrity of the pub, we created a separate dining room so the pub area remains a pub. Journalists said that Duck + Rice was the next evolution of the gastropub. But what you’ve got is a pub and a dining room.”If Heston Blumenthal is a molecular gastronomist who has made cooking a science, Yau is a social one who has made it a multicultural concept, and not a particularly politically correct one at that. “A lot of the time, I do what I do here because I find the whole thing quite enjoyable to dissect and put together,” he says. “The essence of a pub is about humour and I was quite sure that if I put an old chop suey house into the mix with the pint it would work, because in their own way they have become their own British institution: a chinky and a pint.”He happily concedes that some journalists don’t get it. “They think it’s a bad idea to retrospectively go back to something that’s not credible in the first place, but I like that way,” he says. “If someone doesn’t get the joke, it’s fine.” And he really is, perhaps because many do get it – and of those who don’t, most do get the food. The menu is not purely devoted to Chinese food, as proved by the Iberico ham. It is devoted to food that tastes good, most of which happens to be Chinese. In terms of the drinks on offer, the star beer is an unpasteurised Pilsner Urquell from the Czech Republic.“This is based on the anglicised Chinese cooking of yesterday,” he says. “The evolution is that we are not selling authenticity. The fact is we’ve put a Spanish ham on the menu. I do it for the love of the dish and it goes really well with a pint. The intellectual argument is not about authenticity. Chips and curry sauce – it’s about that.”It is hard to believe that the seed of Duck + Rice (and the predecessors that earned Yau an OBE in 2006) were sown in the 1970s in, of all places, King’s Lynn, Norfolk, where he moved when he was 12. He is not keen to reminisce about his childhood there, but it has undoubtedly spurred him on to achieve the successes he has and arguably shaped his culinary vision. While the first Duck + Rice came about because the property was available, the unusual concept was simmering away for years.“I tend to think about ideas intellectually; it develops like a set of algorithms,” Yau says. “They naturally develop until they are strong enough. Trends and fads don’t worry me. What worries me is that I have something that is fully resolved in terms of the idea. This is a fun thing; it’s nice to do an English pub with a Chinese kitchen serving comfort food.”You almost pity the agent tasked with satisfying such an exacting requirement. Yau is advised by occupier-only property advisers DeVono and it sounds as though they are going to be busy in the coming months. Duck + Rice is a three-floor establishment covering 4,600 sq ft. What Yau would ideally like is either 5,000 sq ft or 3,000 sq ft on a single floor, but he is not the only one looking for that sort of space. “There is a lot of competition with the pubs themselves. Everyone has a price and space tends to be very expensive.”Despite the “perverse economics” involved, he says he has the funding in place to implement a significant rollout of Duck + Rice. He hopes to open two more outlets next year, initially in central London, and by 2017 to have three to five further sites in central London, plus one in Dubai. Once those are up and running, he would like to appoint a pub industry chief executive and go to a second round of fundraising, at which point he would focus on the UK – big style. “The internal market is so strong, I don’t need to go anywhere else. I would be happy for this to go to 100 units.”It sounds ambitious, but you wouldn’t bet against the man who came up with Wagamama, and his aspirations for Babaji are no less bold. “I hope I can elevate pide into an acceptable alternative to the pizza,” Yau says. “The aspiration is to mimic the business model of Pizza Express. I don’t have a problem if we don’t achieve that in my lifetime. I would consider it a success if we become the forerunner in taking pide out of the ethnic backwater into the mainstream.”Mono maniaAgain, Dubai features in his plans. The short-term intention is to open a second site, in Dubai, after Christmas, he says. “That’s going to be a dry concept and will be bigger because that’s going to be our flagship,” he says. “Following that, in the last quarter of 2016, we’re opening a second site in Dubai.”And again, the initial focus will be London. This time, though, the units will be supported by a central kitchen, allowing it to reduce the size of the property to 2,000 sq ft. “The ideal is to have two to six units open in 2016 and five more in 2017,” he says, adding that while the central kitchen has not yet been acquired, he is eyeing Hackney: “We haven’t found a site, but we have a location in mind.”The last year has seen a proliferation of mono-product restaurants and Yau is fascinated by the concept, so much so that it is what he would like to have done with Babaji, and may still do. “The numbers show that the more you narrow the focus, the better your product will be,” he says. “In Japan, mono products are a given if you want to give yourself more credibility. I love mono products as a concept.”The problem, he says, is that if a restaurateur comes up with a winning concept, they will inevitably try to upscale the operation and “lose the plot” by shifting their focus away from the integrity of the food to the property required. “You need to grow the offer in order to go to your new equilibrium. It doesn’t work.”Not as a mass-market proposition anyway, which, as Yau points out, he has spent a lifetime pursuing. The culinary polar opposite is, of course, Blumenthal’s molecular gastronomy, but each to their own, he says. “I admire the enquiry side, but he is a chemist. What he does is more science based. I see cooking as a craft.”Yau draws inspiration from Japan, where ingredients are everything. “They say a craft-based Japanese bartender will only offer a Bellini six weeks of the year because the white peach comes out at the end of July and finishes in the first week of September,” he says. “Then they will move on to something else. That is more to my spirit.”The irony in aspiring to the mass market is that he sold Wagamama before it achieved that status. Yau is not bitter, but you get the sense he would like to stay a little longer at the helms of Duck + Rice and Babaji. “I prefer not to comment on Wagamama,” he says. “It’s a concept I always wanted to become mainstream and I was involved in for five years. With Babaji and Duck + Rice, I’ve found a better way to expand, which is about putting in senior management to each of the two to give them better focus.”Yau is clearly confident Duck + Rice and Babaji have the capacity to grow significantly. They may not win him Michelin stars but, as he says, “each has the potential to attract a certain type of people” – and you would think rather a lot of them, thanks to Yau’s unique fusion of British and ethnic culinary sensibilities.last_img read more

Carl Bernstein Addresses Pierson Grads

first_imgThe Pierson hill was the stage of the Commencement Exercises for the Class of 2019 on Saturday, June 29. Salutatorian Emily Hallock and valedictorian Hannah Tuma addressed their fellow classmates and the friends and family who had gathered to celebrate the students’ many achievements. The presentation of the numerous scholarships and awards was followed by the commencement address, given by the well-known investigative reporter and author, Carl Bernstein.He told the graduates, “Don’t be afraid to cause trouble for the right reasons.” As one of the original journalists involved in uncovering the Watergate scandal, he also stressed the importance of always seeking out the truth. Members of the Class of 2019 were awarded diplomas by Superintendent Katy Graves, Principal Jeff Nichols, and the Board of Education President, Diana Kolhoff. The Pierson Band and the Sag Harbor Community Band provided the music and the evening ended with the Pierson traditional tossing of the caps. Sharelast_img read more

Kelington secures first gas supply contract

first_imgGet instant access to must-read content today!To access hundreds of features, subscribe today! At a time when the world is forced to go digital more than ever before just to stay connected, discover the in-depth content our subscribers receive every month by subscribing to gasworld.Don’t just stay connected, stay at the forefront – join gasworld and become a subscriber to access all of our must-read content online from just $270. Subscribelast_img

Spain leads EU with most LNG regasification capacity

first_imgSubscribe Get instant access to must-read content today!To access hundreds of features, subscribe today! At a time when the world is forced to go digital more than ever before just to stay connected, discover the in-depth content our subscribers receive every month by subscribing to gasworld.Don’t just stay connected, stay at the forefront – join gasworld and become a subscriber to access all of our must-read content online from just $270.last_img

GAC adds another in Brazil

first_imgHLPFI reported on July 28 that GAC had opened its seventh Brazilian office at the Acu port complex in Rio de Janeiro.”By opening offices first in Açu, then in Vitória, we are well placed to optimise the strategic opportunities that will make GAC stand out from the competition,” said GAC’s group vice president – Americas, Lars Heisselberg.Providing shipping, forwarding and clearance services, the office is located in one of Brazil’s largest port complexes, which serves as a distribution hub for a range of products and is also home to offshore support bases for the country’s oil and gas industry.  www.gac.comlast_img read more

Gordon Dadds completes £27m Ince deal – but overseas offices left out

first_imgShares in the listed firm Gordon Dadds resume trading today after it announced the completion of its acquisition of City practice Ince & Co. The merged firm begins life today after months of negotiations, but the deal will not include Ince’s international network of firms (except those in China) after it was not possible to agree terms, a statement said. Instead offices in mainland Europe, Singapore and the Middle East will be part of a network sharing arrangement, while the two China practices and Ince’s UK business will trade as Ince Gordon Dadds. The reduced scale of the acquisition has resulted in the total value of the deal coming down from £43m, as previously estimated, to £27.3m. This is payable in cash over four years and with a grant of options on up to three million new shares. Gordon Dadds has confirmed it has arranged new borrowing facilities of £12.5m to finance the acquisition. Gordon Dadds said the deal will be earnings-enhancing in the current year and ‘significantly’ earnings enhancing from 1 April as duplicated costs are eliminated. Shares in Gordon Dadds Group plc are expected to recommence trading on the AIM market of the London Stock Exchange today. Adrian Biles: ‘landmark in our development’Adrian Biles, chief executive, said the Ince deal was a ‘landmark in our development’ as hundreds of new colleagues join the firm. ‘It increases our capacity hugely and we expect it to boost revenue significantly in the coming years,’ he said. Biles said the firm will foster ‘close working relationships’ with its international network, which will remain separate businesses trading under the Ince name. The decision to exclude affiliated entitles was taken after detailed due diligence found it would not be possible to agree arrangements and obtain local regulatory approvals by the end of 2018, he said. In terms of the acquisition, payments will be made equivalent to a percentage of the turnover generated in the first three years by the members joining Gordon Dadds, with Ince fee earners granted options to acquire up to three million ordinary shares at 140p. The 24 equity partners of Ince UK will join Ince Gordon Dadds and have committed to Ince Gordon Dadds LLP for a minimum of 18 months. Gordon Dadds says it will pursue a ‘refined’ acquisition strategy in future, with targets of UK firms with more than £10m annual fee income, international businesses adding to the depth of its core business, and smaller acquisitions which can be absorbed into existing offices. The firm also reported that its profit before tax increased 91% to £1.1m in the first half of 2018, on revenue up 56% to £20.1m. An interim dividend of 2p per share will be paid in April.last_img read more

St. Kitts-Nevis Lifts Curfew and Shelter-in-place Orders

first_imgThe St. Kitts and Nevis government has lifted a curfew and shelter-in-place orders that had been put in place as part of the measures aimed at curbing the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. A government statement said that as of last Saturday, new Emergency Powers (COVID-19) (No. 14) Regulations, 2020 come into operation and will expire at midnight on Saturday, September 26. “Social distancing and physical distancing protocols still apply, and establishments are expected to make the necessary arrangements to facilitate them,” the statement said, noting also that all public educational places of instruction may reopen as long as they comply with the minimum standards set out in the Schedule. St. Kitts-Nevis has recorded 17 positive cases and no deaths from the coronavirus. The latest five curfew, which had been reduced by two hours, had been put in place on August 8 and the statement noted “now with the removal of the curfew, residents of St. Kitts and Nevis can move freely at any time of the day.center_img “All religious places of instruction or worship may reopen “in accordance with the provisions of these Regulations and any other conditions or directives given by the National COVID-19 Taskforce,” the statement said, quoting the necessary regulations informing persons that they “should be encouraged to connect to virtual church services from home or may attend a separate early morning service designated for that purpose”. “Both Curfew Schedule and Shelter in place therefore no longer appear as Regulations -and the terms of a curfew schedule are therefore no longer set out in Schedule I,” the statement said. CMClast_img read more

South African banker quits over Twitter race comment

first_imgChris Hart, a white South African banker has resigned over a tweet about race relations that prompted widespread outrage, Standard Bank, his employer said.Hart on his post on Twitter in January suggested that more than two decades of black majority rule had perpetuated poverty and entrenched a tendency to blame whites for all of the country’s ills.Youths mostly black protested outside Standard Bank’s downtown Johannesburg office following the comment.Hart was suspended, and the bank’s chief executive, Sim Tshabalala, described racism as a drag on the economy.Hart apologized at the time and suggested the comment had been misunderstood when taken out of the context of other tweets.In an interview with Talk Radio 702 on Tuesday, Hart denied racism. “Chris Hart I don’t believe is a racist, because I do believe I’ve got respect, I don’t look down at people because of their race,” he said.“Chris Hart, an Investment Strategist at Standard Bank Wealth and Investment, has resigned and has left the employ of the bank,” the bank said in a statement.The episode highlighted how racial tensions simmer in Africa’s most industrialized economy more than two decades after the end of white minority rule under apartheid and the election of Nelson Mandela as the country’s first black president.last_img read more

Kurt Jeremy is Princess Cruises’ Tour Guide for 2015/2016 cruise season

first_img Share BusinessLocalNews Kurt Jeremy is Princess Cruises’ Tour Guide for 2015/2016 cruise season by: – November 26, 2015 Tweet Share Sharecenter_img Sharing is caring! 356 Views   no discussions Kurt Jeremy with Ships Hotel Manager 2015At a small ceremony on Thursday November 26, 2015 on board the MV Royal Princess, Kurt Jeremy was presented with the Tour Guide of the Season Award for the 2014/2015 Cruise Season in the port of Dominica, for providing exemplary service to Princess cruise passengers.Princess Cruise Lines, renowned for its upmarket cruises and discerning guests, continuously monitors what is called the ‘Moment of Truth’, which is the instance that a Princess passenger comes into contact with the guide or driver and forms a first impression. Kurt Jeremy with Award 2015This first impression is a lasting one, therefore, this moment of truth has great impact on that guest’s overall satisfaction with the cruise and tour experience. This means that many guests have specifically mentioned Kurt’s name as providing personalized quality service while he was their tour guide on one of their Adventures Ashore Tours while in Dominica.As the only male Tour Guide to be awarded this coveted Tour Guide title in the last 10 years here in Dominica, an elated Kurt Jeremy, a 4th season tour guide with Wacky Rollers said that he “really and truly never expected to be where he is today”.He feels that he won this award because he puts his all into everything he does. Kurt reflected on the fact that when he started training as a Tour Guide he sought the assistance of his co-worker, Steline Joseph, a two time winner of the same award. He has now challenged himself by saying ‘the student will surpass the teacher only if I am able to win the award again next year’. In addition to this being a personal achievement, Kurt says ‘I feel very proud to know that I am making a positive contribution to the tourism industry in Dominica’. Kurt Jeremy is also the winner of the first ever, Wacky Rollers Social Media Challenge 2014/2015.Yannick Xavier Tour Supervisor receiving for Wacky RollersWacky Rollers Tour Supervisor, Yannick Xavier confirms that Kurt did set out to win this award and put all his efforts into it, so as Yannick said “actually winning this award is an excellent example of what one can accomplish when they put their mind and efforts into something. Congrats Kurt!”Presenting the prestigious award to Kurt Jeremy was the ship’s Hotel General Manager, Martin Bristow and Glenda Simms, Shore Excursion Manager (seen in the photos). Also present at the ceremony this morning were Lisa Ball – Cruise Director, Naindo Vinelli – Food & Beverage Director, and Rosbert Gracias – Assistant Shore Excursion Manager, all of the M/V Royal Princess. Wacky Rollers also received the award for “Low Volume Tour of the Season”.Wacky Rollers joins in congratulating Kurt on his achievement and thanks Princess Cruises yet again for this recognition which is never taken for granted.last_img read more

Thirty-Nine Successfully Trained in Customs Brokerage

first_img Share Compete Caribbean Guest Speaker, Courtney Oliver LindsayThirty-nine participants have successfully completed the 2019 Customs Brokerage course.Completion of this course, funded by the Government of Dominica and Compete Caribbean, permits participants access to the automated system for customs data (ASYCUDA) world system to conduct business with the Customs and Excise Division.Compete Caribbean is a multi-donor facility designed to support Caribbean islands for increased productivity and is a means for Caribbean firms to contribute to economic growth.At the closing ceremony on Friday 20th December 2019, Courtney Oliver Lindsay of Compete Caribbean encouraged the participants to put their knowledge into practice for Dominica’s trade development.“If you just get the training or you sit in the training and go back to work and its business as usual, then the country won’t get the benefit. So for that we have three challenges for you: the number one challenge is to use what you have learnt in the training. Because as I said, for the country to see increased, improved and more efficient trade facilitation, you will have to apply this training to your work daily,” Lindsay advised.His second challenge was to form a Customs Brokers and Tariff Clerks Association expressing that, “this would really help to develop the level of professionalism in the industry and the sector as a whole.”He also encouraged the Customs and Excise Division to widely disseminate relevant information from the ASYCUDA to stakeholders.Lindsay urged, “ASYCUDA is one of those platforms which produces a lot of information and rich data and we are asking the division to, when you have this data, don’t just keep it or use it collectively to show trade facilitation and what is happening in the country.“That is good, but to also share that data with individual companies, individual customs brokers, so they can look at it and see the performance, not just at the higher level but their individual level as well. And to share with each individual company and to let them know how they are performing and where they are falling short so that they can step up their game and improve their work processes.”At the end of the ceremony on Friday, the participants reported that the course was useful and expressed determination to apply their newly acquired knowledge to work.The Training was conducted by Claude Paul (Lead trainer), Irvine Phillip (HS Classification), Mervin Anthony (Customs Procedures), Brinder Green- Charles (ASYCUDA), Timothy Thomas (Technical Support), and  Kayode Ducrey (Technical Support).The Participants are as Follows:BrokerageCarmanthia AntoineChanette StuartCurlysia WalshDania EmanuelGaron DucreyGenelle TaverniereKaihil CharlesKathyann CharlesLester FregisteLucia Antoine-LaurentMagdelene FergusMarinka JosephMighan SmithNasio CoipelNinette GeorgeOdera BaronRaleighson PascalRicardo ElwinRoyette LaurentSandy Joseph LockhartTessa AlexanderTevin AntoineTimaeus GarrawayTriston BarobTyron DeschampsVernicia SeamanManifestBeyounca JamesCheston ClarkeIttha MatthewJulius CarriereJennifer AirdKaestel EtinofeMarie Ellisa TongueRhoda St. JohnRonalda EdwardsTyron Benjamin Share Sharing is caring! EducationLocalNewsRegional Thirty-Nine Successfully Trained in Customs Brokerage by: – December 23, 2019center_img Share Tweet 397 Views   no discussionslast_img read more