Dashwood: Wagamama founder Alan Yau is cooking up a Hakkasan rival

Dashwood: Wagamama founder Alan Yau is cooking up a Hakkasan rival

As Yau announced last August: “This is the end of the line for me. I’m changing profession.” But what will the man who has said he wants to be “much more intuitive, both spiritually and creatively”, do next?

Last orders for Marco Pierre White pubs

It’s time at the bar for the association between the independent pub company Powder Train and chef Marco Pierre White’s Wheeler’s empire.

The celebrity gastrophile lent his “name, his knowledge, his food and his décor” to two of the five pubs owned by Powder Train – Sussex hostelries the Chequers Inn and The Kings Arms (now known as The Handsome Pig). But despite White’s endorsement, Powder Train has fallen into the hands of administrators Begbies Traynor, with the company’s five pubs put up for sale through leisure property specialists Christie & Co.

White is, as Dashwood writes, far away from the drama in Los Angeles.

But a source close to the star of ITV’s Kitchen Burnout says that the Wheeler’s branding – after the flagship Wheeler’s of St James’s restaurant – was “just franchising the name, it was never a partnership”.

And the financial details of that non-partnership? “Confidential,” alas.

Foreign Office treasures its £20m antiques

Phew. At least one pocket of the Government is solvent. Dashwood can reveal that the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) – the well-heeled Whitehall eyrie that spent £10,000 restoring Albert the stuffed anaconda – owns a collection of antiques and artworks worth £19.64m.

That’s £13.04m for the overseas estate, and £6.6m for the UK estate, as of March 31 2012 – although treasures provided from “other collections”, such as the Government Art Collection, are excluded from this tally.

“Many items in the collection are unique historic heirlooms and they have been acquired as a donation or indirectly when the FCO purchased a property, including contents,” says my Lovejoy-like source.

Charming. But could some of that treasured family silver be sold off for the benefit of UK Plc?

A Freudian slip from Howard Archer, chief UK & European economist at IHS Global Insight. Or did the financial seer get a glimpse into the UK’s bleak future when he wrote the following – hastily corrected – analysis ahead of the release of the Treasury’s public sector finances data on Thursday? “Meanwhile, the public finances are likely to have been limited by disappointing tax receipts in January, and the data will likely maintain expectations that at least one credit rating agency will very soon strip the UK of its AA credit rating.” Can you spot the (not-so) deliberate mistake?

Don’t be seduced by the sweet-talk

Gina Miller, the co-founder of wealth manager SCM Private, has lifted the lid on her contemporaries.

Miller has painted an unflattering portrait of fund managers on The Steeples Times blog, where she compares her own tribe to lotharios who are only after one thing – your money.

“When you meet your wonderfully charming or slick fund manager, they try to seduce you with flowery words and jargon [that is] designed to prevent you from understanding how your money is really invested,” she says of the “smoke and mirrors” suitors.

Of course, Miller knows all about lotharios – she once dated a famous model “who was known in the UK for taking his jeans off in the laundrette”. Sadly, there was “not a lot of substance beneath”, she reveals. Caveat emptor.

Reverend George Hargreaves was no doubt too busy doing God’s work when he missed the deadline for filing the little-known Christian Party’s 2011 accounts. Unfortunately, the Electoral Commission is singing from a different hymn sheet – it has fined the biblical beancounter £4,125 for not delivering the numbers on time, despite a seven-month extension. This isn’t the first time Rev Hargreaves has been in hot water over his accounting – he was fined for failing to provide the previous year’s accounts too. Little surprise, then, that the Christian Party’s leader is “no longer the registered treasurer”. Amen to that.


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