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All Posts By FEAST Editorial Team

Searches for London Hotels go Through the Roof During Tube Strike

By Posted on 3 m read

Hotel bookers were playing it cool this week, with late searches for London hotel rooms increasing by an astonishing 261% at the height of the Tube Strike, according to data from hotel booking experts LateRooms.com.

The strike last week  saw an across-the-board double digit increase in hotel searches for the city as commuters sought to stay overnight in the capital rather than risk lengthy journeys home caused by the strike.

But when LateRooms.com data experts tracked same day searches for London hotel rooms via people using the LateRooms.com mobile app, they found even greater increases in same day searches, with two massive spikes during the day.  The data suggests that people were waiting later than ever to decide whether they should stay in the city, or find a route back home.

They compared searches made for London on a standard Wednesday (29 July), the week before the latest strike, with searches made on two Tube Strike days – July 8 and August 5.

LateRooms.com spokesperson Andrea Tarpey, said: “In the first strike, same day searches on our app were almost the same as a standard day (up 2%).

“However, in the second strike, we saw an overall double digit increase in same day searches for London on the app of 16%, suggesting that during the second strike people were keener to stay in the city overnight rather than head home.

“More interestingly, of those searches made during the second strike on 5 August, we saw a couple of very significant and telling spikes throughout the day.”

Between 7 – 9am on August 5, searches for that same night were up 187.5% when compared to searches made during the same time in the previous week. And, between 9 – 11pm, searches were up an enormous 261.9% on the same time the previous week.

LateRooms.com experts believe this shows that people were leaving it later to either make a decision to stay over in the city that night, or were confident that they could leave it much later to start looking for their hotel for that same night.

LateRooms.com also saw increases during the July strike but not to the same extent.  On July 8 the searches made between 7 – 9am were up 137.5% compared to a standard day. And between 9-11pm, searches were up 47% on usual.

The data suggests that following the first strike, people have become more confident about waiting until later to look for their hotel stay (evidenced by the 267.9% increase in 9 – 11pm searches yesterday against a 47% increase for the same period during the first strike).

On July 8, 53% of all London searches made on the LateRooms.com app for that night were made between 2pm and 11pm. But during the second strike yesterday, almost 70% (68%) of all searches made that day were made between 2-11pm.

Andrea Tarpey continued, “We know that people are increasingly comfortable in using mobile apps to make late or spontaneous bookings, and in fact 40% of bookings made on our app are for stays the same day. But the London searches we saw through the app during this week’s tube strike show that significantly more people were searching for a late stay in the city.”

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Union Hand-Roasted Coffee Celebrates Bumper Crop of Great Taste Awards

By Posted on 2 m read

Pioneers in speciality coffee since 2001, Union Hand-Roasted has this week reaped an outstanding 10 accolades at this year’s Great Taste Awards.

Four of Union’s single origin coffees scooped the most coveted 3 gold star award (exquisite), with a further 2 single origins and 4 espresso blends achieving a 1 gold star award (simply delicious).

Administered by the Guild of Fine Foods, the prestigious awards are given to products judged to be of exceptional quality and taste in a blind taste test, with each category judged by a panel of experts including retailers, chefs, restaurant critics, food writers and industry experts.

Union’s winning single origin and espresso blends were as follows:

3-stars:

  • Organic Ethiopia, Yirgacheffe – Single Origin
  • Fazenda Ambiental Fortaleza Microlot 550, Brazil – Single Origin
  • Emporium Caturra Microlot, Panama – Single Origin
  • Yayu Wild Forest Coffee, Wutate Co-Operative, Ethiopia – Single Origin

1-star:

  • Equinox Seasonal Blend
  • Revelation Blend
  • Bright Note Blend
  • Organic Natural Spirit
  • Colombia, Asprotimana- Single Origin
  • Rwanda, Maraba – Single Origin

Union has received over 40 Great Taste Awards in the past seven years, proving its unquestionable expertise in speciality coffee. Founder and Director of Union, Jeremy Torz, attributes their success to two elements fundamental to the company: the Union Direct Trade sourcing principle based on enduring symbiotic partnerships with farmers, ensuring exceptionally high quality coffee, and the incredible collection of experts that make up the team at Union Coffee.

Jeremy commented: “We are thrilled to have won so many awards across our range. It is testament to the teams’ hard work – from Pascale, our incredible Producer Relationship Manager and Q grader based in Latin America who liaises directly with the farmers, to Rudy our talented Q Grader cupper who works with our gifted roasters – sustainable relationships and discovering extraordinary coffee is at our core.”

This year, over 10,000 products were entered into the awards and only 130 products achieved the highest rating of 3-stars whilst 31% of entries were accredited.

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Little Black Classics Boxset

By Posted on 2 m read

Penguin’s celebrated Little Black Classics – now in a beautifully designed, limited edition boxset

From gothic fiction to Haiku, Norse sagas to Greek fables, pioneering essays to gem-like short stories, the 80 complete miniature books in the Little Black Classics series highlight the huge range and diversity of Penguin Classics. They take readers around the world and through the centuries, offering a taste of authors such as Chekhov, Dante, Homer and Whitman – with one reviewer describing the experience as “like being let loose in a sweet shop”. This highly collectible boxset contains all 80 Little Black Classics, ordered by number in a monochrome case embellished with an individual quote from the books. It’s a dream gift for literature lovers: a complete world of books in one box.

This extraordinarily successful series has now sold over 950,000 books in the UK alone. The Little Black Classics made their way into the retailer Tesco, and the series’ most popular book, The Communist Manifesto, reached the Sunday Times bestseller list. Journalists were quick to report on how the Little Black Classics reflected our general reading habits, with four of the top ten most popular titles non-fiction works, and the top-selling authors ranging from Nietzsche to Tolstoy to Austen.

 

Praise for the Little Black Classics

“Contemplating the books en masse is like being let loose in a sweet shop. Austerely desirable, but also playful in their way … Buying the lot doesn’t seem like a crazy extravagance.” Nick Lezard, Guardian

“This current treasure trove of miniature gems sparkles” The National, UAE

“Tesco should prepare for some truly unexpected items in the bagging area … In an election year, these books prove that readers – and voters – are thinking outside the political box” Charlotte Runcie, Telegraph

“Whoever claimed that ‘you can’t teach an old dog new tricks’ evidently has much to learn from the publishing house, which appears to be getting progressively more exciting with each passing year.” It’s Nice That

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Top 10 Brothers on Film: Rise of the Krays lands on DVD & Blu-ray

By Posted on 4 m read

The complexities of relationships between siblings is an endlessly fascinating topic for a film-maker to explore, and over the years cinema has given us countless portrayals of brother and sisters (whether completely fictional or based in fact) to mull over. To celebrate the release of crime drama The Rise of the Krays (available on Blu-ray, DVD and digital platforms from 31st August 2015, courtesy of Signature Entertainment) we take a look back at some of the best brothers to grace the big screen…

The Rise of the Krays (2015)

The early years of the most notorious criminals Britain has ever produced are portrayed in visceral brutality in this crime drama, which charts Ronnie and Reggie Kray’s reign of terror, that would endure and come to define London’s East End for years to come. From protection rackets to members clubs, from brutal street brawls and arson to blackmail extending to the Cabinet Office, the Krays rained red on anyone who crossed them. Simon Cotton and Kevin Leslie brilliantly bring the brothers toxic relationship to life, pulling no punches and portraying the complexities of their personalities and motives with aplomb.

Out of the Furnace (2013)

Scott Cooper’s thriller stars Christian Bale as Russell Baze who must protect his brother Rodney (Casey Affleck) when he becomes embroiled in a murky underworld led by ruthless drug dealer, Harlan DeGroat – played by Woody Harrelson. Set in the borough of North Braddock, Baze works in the local steel mill with the mill’s furnace representing his attempts at living a life on the straight and narrow. However, in seeking justice, Baze is forced to embed himself into DeGroat’s murky underworld in such a way that revenge will hit them the hardest.

Lawless (2012)

Nick Cave penned this Depression-era crime drama, which recounts the lives of the three Bondurant brothers- Forrest (Tom Hardy), Jack (Shia LeBeouf) and Howard (Jason Clarke), who are forced to contend with the corrupt District Attorney Mason Wardell (Tim Tolin) and Special Deputy Charles Rakes (Guy Pearce), after refusing to pay the bribes required to maintain their bootlegging and distillery business. Chastain turns in a wonderful supporting performance as Maggie, a dancer from Chicago with a hidden past, who Forrest hires as a waitress for the distillery, and who he eventually falls in love with.

Thor (2011)

This Marvel superhero-based film was an instant hit in theatres, capturing audiences with its simplicity, non-stop action, and brilliant rapport between hero and villain- who happen to be brothers. The film follows Thor (Chris Hemsworth), who is set to inherit the throne from his aging father, king of the Norse gods, Odin (Anthony Hopkins). Things are set to go as planned until Thor’s brutal and thoughtless actions against their enemies force his father to banish him to earth as punishment. Robbed of his powers, Thor falls in love with scientist Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) – but all the while Thor’s brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston) usurps the throne of Asgard for evil gain and begins to plot his revenge…

The Fighter (2010)

After a stint playing John Connor in Terminator Salvation (and the on-set outburst at a crew member which hit the headlines), Bale shed some more pounds yet again to play Dicky Eklund, older brother to boxing champion Micky Ward (Mark Wahlberg), in David O. Russell’s The Fighter. Stealing scenes with aplomb, this was the role in which Bale won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor- thanks in no small part to his excellent chemistry with his co-star.

Ocean’s Eleven (2001)

This remake of the 1960’s crime caper won over fans and critics alike, due in no small part to the outstanding chemistry between the cast, which included George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Julia Roberts, Bernie Mac and Elliot Gould. Focusing on the exploits of a group of rag tag con-men who plan to rob three Las Vegas casinos simultaneously, this Soderbergh-directed crime comedy pays brilliant homage to old Hollywood, whilst keeping the humour distinctly modern. Providing constant comic relief are Casey Affleck and Scott Caan, who play Virgil and Turk Malloy; the brothers who happen to be brilliant at conning, but utterly hopeless at getting along for more than two minutes.

From Dusk Till Dawn (1996)

This cult classic stars George Clooney, Quentin Tarantino, Harvey Keitel and Ernest Liu, and follows the exploits of the sadistic Gecko brothers, Seth and Richard (Clooney and Tarantino respectively) and the family they’ve taken hostage (Keitel, Liu and Juliette Lewis). After a string of robberies the siblings head to Mexico and kidnap the Fuller family to cross the border. Arriving at a bar, they quickly realize they’ve inadvertently stumbled into a venue teeming with horrific, blood-sucking vampires. Engaged in a fight for their lives, the Fullers and Geckos are forced to band together to take on the supernatural beings.

The Godfather (1972)

Francis Ford Coppola’s unrivalled crime drama focuses on the fallout when ageing crime boss patriarch Don Vito Corleone (Marlon Brando) decides to transfer his authority to one of his subordinates. The decision invariably leads to a series of unfortunate events which ultimately begin a war between the major crime families. Al Pacino and James Caan take the roles of Don’s sons, Michael and Sonny, who couldn’t be more different. Cool, reserved and level-headed Michael would rather put plans into motions behind the scenes, whereas Sonny prefers to settle all matters with his fists and street-wise nature. The polar differences between the brothers, and yet their bizarre dependency on each other, is played off brilliantly by Caan and Al Pacino, with fantastic support from a cast that includes Robert Duvall, Diane Keaton and Richard S Castellano.

The Rise of the Krays is available on Blu-ray, DVD and digital platforms from 31st August 2015, courtesy of Signature Entertainment

See more great Top 10 Lists, Movie News, Reviews and Competitions on Top 10 Films.

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Virgin Movies Reveal the UK’s Movie-Viewing Habits as it Celebrates 10 Years of Pay-Per-View

By Posted on 1 m read

This July, Virgin Media celebrates the 100 millionth movie watched on Virgin Movies within just ten years – which is equivalent to watching the silver screen for 30,251 years, with the average movie length of 159 minutes*.
To help reach this blockbusting milestone, Virgin Media customers have been watching movies through its Virgin Movies pay-per-view service, either through its TiVo set-top box or through the Virgin Movies website. Virgin Movies boasts over 500 feature films available to watch at any one time, from the very latest releases and big action blockbusters, to the guilty pleasures and all-time favourites – with many available in HD, most available on the same day as DVD, as well as a range of 3D movies.
The 100 millionth movie watched was Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb, by a movie-fan who like all Virgin Movies customers renting films in July will be entered into a prize draw to win a trip to Hollywood.
The most viewed film by Virgin Movies customers since the service began in 2005 is The Hunger Games, followed by Mission Impossible III and National Treasure 2: Book of Secrets. Comedy films consistently top the viewing charts on the small screen (20%), closely followed by Action and Adventure (17%). Horror and Romance prop up the pack with 7% and 5% respectively.
See the full top 10 on Top 10 Films.

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Nothing New in BBC Culture’s “Top 100 Film” Poll

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The cinema’s elite critics tell audiences what the best films from America are. But do we care? After all, Hollywood wouldn’t be Hollywood without mainstream cinemagoers who’d rather watch Spider-Man 3 than Mulholland Drive. Top 10 Films asks what the importance of such polls are and how this latest “best of” list offers nothing new to film criticism or appreciation.

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Apex Hotels Searching for the Next Industry Stars

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Scottish hotel group Apex Hotels is searching for a group of six budding hospitality stars to join its team as part of The Scottish Apprenticeship in Hospitality programme which is currently offering 22 places in a number of different locations across the country. Two of the six places will be available at the new four star Apex City of Glasgow Hotel which is currently undergoing a £10.5 million refurbishment, due to be fully operational in early October.

This world-class, industry-led programme is a partnership between some of Scotland’s leading hotels including Apex Hotels, Gleneagles, Blythswood Square, Cameron House and others. It offers young people a route to gaining qualifications alongside practical experience in some of Scotland’s leading hotels.

Commenting on the scheme Robert Allan, HR Director at Apex Hotels said: “The Scottish Apprenticeship in Hospitality gives bright and motivated 17-24 year olds an opportunity to get on the career ladder within the hospitality industry, working in a number of exciting and varied roles.

“It is a great opportunity for us to nurture and develop the next generation of highly skilled talent for the Scottish hospitality industry, which offers a huge variety of career options. There’s never been a better time to join the industry in Scotland – with the legacy of the major events of 2014, tourism is booming.”

The three year long programme, which is backed by the Modern Apprenticeship Hospitality framework, is open to 17-24 year olds and the high calibre of partners involved gives them the opportunity to experience working across a range of hotel operational areas in addition to hands on workshops and masterclasses.

Olivia Mitchell, one of nine apprentices on the scheme since September 2014 and currently working at the Apex City Quay Hotel and Spa said: “I joined the programme last autumn and I have already gained invaluable experience which will stand me in good stead to progress my career within the industry.

“I chose to do an apprentice programme as opposed to going on to further education as I wanted to gain hands on experience while learning, something I have certainly been getting since I started. It really is a great opportunity to begin your career at a young age while earning a salary at the same time.”

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Breeze by Lebua Opens in Frankfurt

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International luxury travel brand, lebua, which operates a number of distinctive hotels, fine restaurants and bars around the world in has launched its first venture in Europe, by bringing Breeze restaurant and bar to the Steigenberger Hotel in Frankfurt.
At its home in Thailand, Breeze is located on the 51st and 52nd floors of the Tower Club at lebua, the only luxury executive all-suite and all-club hotel in Bangkok. The restaurant is known in the region as ‘the new face of Asian dining’ with stunning views, unparalleled service and delicious cuisine.
The unique restaurant menu combines modern Asian flavors with traditional wines local to the hotel and the region. Whilst the bar menu includes an impressive selection of experiential cocktails and unique liquor suppliers, such as Koval Whiskeys from the USA.

Frankfurt’s newest luxury restaurant “Breeze by lebua” has opened in the centre of downtown Frankfurt. Located in the Steigenberger Hotel “Frankfurter Hof,” Frankfurt, visitors can expect first-class pan-Asian cuisine and unparalleled service in an atmospheric setting. The new restaurant is operated by esteemed international luxury travel brand, lebua Hotels and Resorts.

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Laterra Artisan Harvest, Cooking Sauces & Marinades from Mexico Launch in the UK

By Posted on 3 m read

With a passion for Mexican cuisine and a great love for their countryside, Mexican entrepreneur Carlos Sanchez Mejorada and chef Ada Valencia, created Laterra Artisan Harvest a range of sauces, marinades & dips, the authentic flavours of Mexico.
In 2008 Carlos Sanchez Mejorada had the vision to create a brand that used all natural ingredients and no artificial preservatives so future generations could enjoy the real flavours of Mexico that his mother and grandmothers prepared in their kitchens.
Carlos, already a food producer, knew exactly where to source the best ingredients from local farmers that were fresh and free from chemicals.
Carlos later met chef Ada Valencia, head of the Slow Food movement in central Mexico. Ada is passionate about preserving the traditional cooking methods of Mexico going back thousands of years and collaborates with farmers that use traditional farming methods. Carlos invited Ada to work on recipes for Laterra Artisan Harvest where she was able to create recipes that were both traditional and others that were innovative using ingredients all native to Mexico and sourced locally.
The products are all made using fresh ingredients, many of which are native to different regions in Mexico. This inspired them to name each sauce according its provenance. “Chihuahua Sauce” spicy tomato & peanut sauce, owns its name to the peanuts that are native to this northern state in Mexico. Michoacán Sauce is a Salsa Verde or Green Sauce made from tomatillos, native to this state. This Green Sauce is the most common culinary sauce in México. The Tomatillo, or Green Tomato, originated in México and is derived from the Aztec name tomatl. This sauce also contains the Serrano Chilli Pepper, the most common fresh chilli pepper in Mexico.
Carlos felt it was important to document the fascinating history of the ingredients’ provenance that goes back thousands of years. He hired historian Jose Iturriaga to research and write about each ingredient which is now found on the reverse side of each bottle.
Sylvie Perez Johns has been in the food industry and knew there was a gap in the market in the UK for Mexican sauces and marinades that used fresh ingredients and tasted better than mass produced sauces. Sylvie was introduced to Laterra Artisan Harvest by Mexican food entrepreneur and Laterra’s Marketing Director Beatriz Gomez in 2014 and the rest is history.
In the UK, Laterra Artisan Harvest has launched at some select Wyevale Garden Centre stores through Diverse Fine Foods and at Selfridges through importer & distributor MexImport. Laterra representative Sylvie Perez Johns mentioned “The response from UK consumers has been really encouraging. People are having the opportunity to sample the real flavours of Mexico without all the preservatives and characteristics of mass produced sauces and are loving them. This is a great step for authentic Mexican food and artisan food producers in Mexico. The products are ideal for adventurous cooks and food lovers who are looking for an alternative to Tex-Mex. Laterra Artisan Harvest is authentic Mexican.”
The products are all 100% natural and gluten-free with no added preservatives.

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ReFood Officially Unveils its 2015 Sustainable Visionary

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The UK’s leading food waste recycler, ReFood, has announced the winner of its Sustainable Visionaries student scholarship competition. Following a rigorous six-month judging process, Ronan Keane, a logistics and supply chain management student from Huddersfield University, was awarded the title and takes home a £5,000 bursary to further progress his studies.

ReFood’s panel of waste management experts was hugely impressed with Ronan’s industry knowledge, passion and highly creative ideas to integrate sustainability into the food waste recycling logistics process. Presenting a comprehensive proposal on implementing new techniques to close the food chain, Ronan epitomised the idea of a sustainable visionary and was presented with the industry’s very first student scholarship accordingly.

Over the next twelve months, Ronan will work closely with the ReFood team, receiving in-depth industry mentoring from the company’s waste management experts throughout his third year studies. Alongside gaining unparalleled access to the company’s logistics data and processes, ReFood’s dedicated logistics team will be on hand to further assist his wider academic research and professional development.

Philip Simpson, commercial director at ReFood, commented: “With such comprehensive industry understanding, passion for sustainability and a pioneering approach to integrating new ideas into corporate logistics, we’re delighted to announce Ronan as our 2015 Sustainable Visionary. The judging panel was hugely impressed with his initial proposal, ideas and presentation, which demonstrated a completely new approach to sustainable logistics.

“Over the next twelve months, we will work closely with Ronan to support his studies and help him to share his insight with the next generation of sustainable logistics professionals from across the country. Ronan demonstrates exactly why we launched the competition – to find a highly talented student who could fly the flag for sustainability; not just for today, but for the future.”

Ronan added: “Taking the title of ReFood’s Sustainable Visionary is an absolute honour. The food waste recycling and anaerobic digestion (AD) sector is going from strength to strength, with sustainable logistics becoming an ever-important part. As a third year degree student, understanding how the logistics sector can embrace sustainability further is something I find really interesting and want to explore further – the key reason I submitted an application to ReFood’s student bursary.”

The Sustainable Visionaries scholarship programme is part of ReFood’s ongoing initiative to inspire the food waste champions of tomorrow and eradicate food waste to landfill by 2020. The company, which operates food waste recycling services for organisations nationwide, helps companies to lower waste management costs by more than 45% and embrace an environmentally-friendly alternative to traditional disposal processes.

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