Work begins on Perth’s new Food and Drink Park

WORK began today on the development of Perth’s new Food and Drink Park in the city’s North Muirton area.

The development of the seven hectare site for business use is expected to create 36 jobs during the construction phase alone and, once fully developed, will create or safeguard up to another 400 jobs in the city.

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The creation of the park has been made possible by Perth and Kinross Council’s Commercial Property Investment Programme.

A spokesman for Perth and Kinross Council said: “The aim of the CPIP is to build on existing strengths and opportunities in key sectors such as food and drink and support local economic growth by providing business space and infrastructure that will help attract companies to locate and/or expand in Perth and Kinross.

“Developing the Perth Food and Drink Park could initially support up to eleven businesses in the food and drink sector and once fully developed aims to create or safeguard up to 400 jobs.”

Local economy

Councillor Ian Miller, the leader of the council and convener of the Strategic Policy and Resources Committee, said: “The industrial space we will provide on this site is a demonstration of Perth and Kinross Council’s commitment to support our local economy. The investment this Park is expected to attract will not only benefit the city of Perth but also have a spin-off for smaller communities across the wider Perth and Kinross area where many of our suppliers of fresh produce are based.”

He added: “Today is significant because it marks the start of the council’s programme of investment which will support and expand our local economy. Our ambition is to grow the business sector and to bring greater prosperity and employment opportunities to this area of Scotland.

“We have identified food and drink as an area of outstanding opportunity for growth and we are therefore committing substantial investment into developing this key business sector. I believe that investing in key business sectors such as food and drink is vital to our future and I am sure that this development will act as a catalyst for growth.”

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London Food And Drink News: 28 November 2013

Airport Excellence
Not long after it was announced that Heston Blumenthal will be opening in Heathrow T2, American website Daily Meal has listed their pick of the world’s top 35 (we’re not sure why that number) airport restaurants. London came in second place (after New York) with three making the list: Jamie Oliver’s Union Jacks at Gatwick at 19, Giraffe at Heathrow at 18, and Plane Food by Gordon Ramsay at T5 at 12.

Shoe Shopping Pit Stop
Few guys could claim to enjoy shoe shopping, but this could all change thanks to serial restaurateur Mark Hix, who has opened up a bar in the men’s shoe-wear department of Selfridges. Serving cocktails designed by Nick Strangeway, Mark’s own oyster ale and restorative espressos, it’s a handy place to hide-out during Oxford Street Christmas shopping even if you’re not in the market for any footwear. Women can, of course, pop by too.

 

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The team behind restaurant sensation Polpo open Ape & Bird in Soho today. Featuring four bars over three floors, the concept behind it is simple: a gastropub with good food, good beers and good service, the latter being particularly key. Set near touristy Leicester Square, where pubs are usually more comparable to rugby scrums than restaurants, it will be interesting to see how this pans out. We’ll be down to check it out soon.

Also open
Swinging open their doors this week is Boopshi’s, a new Austrian-themed joint for Fitzrovia specialising in schnitzels (chicken, pork and humanely-reared rose veal) and spritz. Kitchenette has launched in Putney serving sunny Mediterranean dishes, the first UK branch of a chain with outposts in New York and Moscow. Following the success of the Kentish Town original, a new Chicken Shop has opened in Tooting (a saturated market, you might think). And seafood-serving street food gang the Mussel Men have today officially launched their Kingsland Road residency.

Happy New Year
Looking further ahead, this week has seen some interesting announcements for 2014. Plush Japanese robatayaki restaurant group Roka will open two new sites, one in Mayfair in February and one in Aldwych in the summer. Sourdough pizza restaurant Franco Manca, which started in Brixton Market, has plans to open five more central London venues following its recent Tottenham Court Road launch. And celeb chef Raymond Blanc is in the process of bringing three new gastropubs to the capital.

Korea opportunities: Once Asia’s least trendy food, now everyone’s getting in on the kimchi act

First came “K-pop”; now, get ready for “K-food” as Korea’s national cuisine attempts to shake off its also-ran status in the Asian food stakes and attract a new audience. With his catchy tune and crazy dance moves, Psy paved the way for fellow Korean pop-stars to break into international markets. And now restaurateurs and retailers are leaping on the Gangnam bandwagon by following K-pop with a host of K-pop-ups, namely Korean-influenced food trucks that are proving popular from Birmingham to Glasgow.
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Chefs are getting round the stumbling block of unfamiliar dishes – anyone for kkakdugi? – by slipping Korean flavours into old favourites such as hamburgers and tacos. The Hawksmoor steakhouse chain peps up its burgers with kimchi (chilli-spiked fermented cabbage), while barbecue specialist Neil Rankin uses gochujang, a hot-pepper paste, to spice up his chopped brisket.
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And the trend isn’t limited to modish joints in the capital: supermarkets from Tesco to Asda are increasing their ranges of punchy Korean delicacies such as meat marinades, including bulgogi sauce, and crispy seaweed snacks.

Tesco recently extended its Korean ranges from three stores last year to 49 stores in Greater London after seeing sales jump by 140 per cent. It is poised to roll out the range to other parts of the UK if demand continues to grow. Matt Clark, Tesco’s head of world foods, said the move was a “direct result” of Psy’s influence as a “brilliant ambassador for Korean culture in the UK”.

The supplier CJ Foods said Korean food imports into the UK jumped 135 per cent in the past 12 months. And Dan Suh, managing director of a rival company, Korea Foods, described demand as “phenomenal”, adding that sales to major retailers had doubled during the past two years. He said the trick was making Korean flavours “relevant, because they risk being too niche in their original form”.

One man who has big plans for the UK is Dong Hyun Kim, a businessman from Seoul who spotted a gap in the market back in 2003 and started selling Korean food in north London. After his Kimchee restaurant proved a hit in central London, he developed a smaller Kimchee To Go format; he hopes to open 15 outlets by 2015. Mr Kim is backing his own cuisine alongside Japanese food: he owns the rapidly expanding Wasabi sushi-and-noodle chain.

Danny O’Sullivan, 30, from Belfast, started his street food stall Kimchi Cult in east London after returning from a teaching stint in Korea with his girlfriend. “It’s getting more popular. People ask me what kimchi is a lot less now, which is good,” he said. The pair are planning to move to Glasgow after Christmas, to open a restaurant there.

In London, Linda Lee, who founded Koba and Nizuni, will build on the success she has already had with a third restaurant, On The Bab, which opens later this month. She said her national cuisine, which spans grilled meats, hotpots, and rice and noodle dishes, suits the British palette, plus “it has lots of healthy foods, so fits well with the current trend for healthy eating”.

12 Hottest Food Trends for 2014

Every year around this time, my husband The Restaurant Consultant consults his crystal ball and issues a report on how the world of restaurants and hotels shapes up for the year ahead.

It tends to be heavy reading since he’s a heavy thinker, but interesting pictures and a sardonic style make the 15-page forecast fun to read. What’s struck me profoundly is the report’s emphasis on luxury. Lofty tasting menus in elite restaurants can run, with wine pairings, $1000 for two with tax and tip, and these are booked out for weeks and months. There are places around the country where a roast chicken for two can run $70. One New York restaurant actually has a carrot for $20! And in the US, Spain and China, brand name chefs are adding costly theatrical hijinx to enhance their guests’ dining experience: laser light shows, video projections, high-definition audio — all changing with each dish that’s served, all very costly. You can read about these trends and more here.

All this is taking place while our economy is still limping and food stamps are on the chopping block. Which seems to underscore the opinions of some economists that income distribution indeed is skewed.

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I also was struck by the report’s observations that department stores and other retailers are getting back into the restaurant business. In the early 1980’s I was the executive chef for all of Lord & Taylor’s restaurants around the country and recall fondly how our company, and its competitors, all had in-store dining destinations. But about 30 years ago they began shutting them down and sending their customers into shopping center food courts, which, of course was a big mistake. So I smiled reading that Brooks Brothers is opening a mammoth steakhouse in New York, the first of a planned chain; that Tommy Bahama’s stores with restaurants vastly outperform those without food, that Restoration Hardware is working on a wine bar concept in Boston and that Nordstrom has plunked down a bar smack in the middle of their women’s fashions (so men can cry in their beer).

Foodies will want to know about up-coming buzzwords in the forecast, so if you’re tired of kale, it is good to know that creative versions of cauliflower are on the way. Hipster Asian restaurants and Jewish fusion food (think Jewish-Japanese, for one) will be hot. A Middle Eastern dish called “shakshuka” (baked eggs in spiced tomatoes) will pop up on brunch menus across the board; I fondly recall an Arab village in the Moroccan desert, watching one of these made over a charcoal fire. Now that quinoa’s old news, you’ll see more buckwheat, freekeh (green wheat) along with trout, octopus, Mexican sandwiches called Cemitas making appearances in cooking and home-centric magazines. And if you haven’t been bombarded enough about gluten-free food, it is getting a boost for all the Paleo diet variations.

I’d watch for healthy food chains like Sweetgreen, aimed at Millennials, taking the salad bar concept upscale on a trendy locavore journey, and thoughtfully adding wine and beer.

Mary Berry: families should eat together

Families are becoming fragmented in modern life and parents should spend more time eating and cooking with their children, Mary Berry has said.

Preparing and eating food together is at the “heart of family life” and meals should be shared as a family rather than consumed in front of the television, the baking expert said.

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She added that she had regretted spending time away from her own children while they were growing up due to the demands of her work.

In an interview with the Sunday Times magazine, the Great British Bake Off presenter, 78, said her three children Annabel, Thomas and William, had all been brought up to help out in the kitchen.

“I still think it’s essential for a parent to cook with their children,” she said. “Weighing out the ingredients and learning where the food comes from is educational, but it also helps to place meal times at the heart of family life. We never had dinner in front of the TV.”

She added that she likes to do traditional “granny things” with her grandchildren, such as making, jam, playing board games and taking them fishing, rather than visiting theme parks.

“Family life is fragmenting in this modern age, but it’s up to all of us to keep it together,” she said.

Her daughter Annabel, 42, said her mother had always been a “stickler for meal times” and that the family would eat together at the same time each day, in the same positions at the table.

“Round the dinner table was where the family really connected,” she said. “Sadly, we’ve all got lazier and we’re more reliant on computer games to keep kids occupied these days, but I’m so proud that one of Mum’s legacies is to get families back round the dinner table.”

Annabel told how her mother had insisted on running the salad dressing business the two embarked on together for the first few years, so that Annabel could focus on bringing up her young children.

She said Mrs Berry had described “not being a mother” to her children as her biggest regret, and urged her not to make the same mistake.

Mrs Berry admitted she had been absent for long periods and said “there was a time when I did regret my decision”, but added that to carry on working had been the right thing to do.

She also revealed how her Christian faith had been “tested” when her son William died in a car accident in 1989, at the age of 19.

Rather than “shouting and screaming” about the situation she said she accepted it and looked on the fact he had enjoyed a happy life as a “bonus”.

The Coolest Way to Brew Tea in All of Time and Space is With This TARDIS Tea Infuser

With all this Doctor Who 50th Anniversary talk how could we not mention this sweet TARDIS Tea Infuser? Designed as a metal replica of the Doctor’s beloved spaceship the infuser steeps your favorite loose leaf tea Whovian style. Unfortunately, the infuser doesn’t make the TARDIS’ traditional “whoosh” sound as it brews the tea. Bummer.

Simply pop open the top of the TARDIS, drop in some tea leaves, and let the TARDIS go to work in a cup of hot water. We suggest pairing the TARDIS Tea Infuser with some TARDIS tea, served in a TARDIS mug. No, don’t talk crazy, there’s no such thing as being too nerdy when it comes to tea.

Don’t worry about your infuser getting lost in your mug, the Sonic Screwdriver at the end will hold your TARDIS in place.

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