Pembroke: The chef went through the roof

BAD NEWS for Marco Pierre White, the flamboyant chef celebre. His attempts to shake off a reputation as the enfant terrible of the culinary demi-monde have come unstuck after a Yorkshire court ruled against him in proceedings brought by the Box Tree restaurant in Ilkley.

The owner, Helen Avis, alleged that he had damaged a ceiling in the kitchen of her posh Yorkshire restaurant during a spell as consultant chef there last year. Last week, a judge awarded Mrs Avis damages and court costs of pounds 880, with further costs to be determined later by the court.

Mr White did not appear or send a lawyer. The previous day he faxed Mrs Avis to say he did not consider the matter sufficiently important for him to attend and give evidence in his defence.

The mercurial Marco obviously changed his mind since he told the Independent last summer that he intended to accept the summons and fight it.

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I CANNOT let pass the regrettable demise of a greyhound accessories supplier (dog food and vitamin tablets mainly), which is being liquidated by Kallis & Co, the insolvency practitioner. Its directors surely gave a hostage to fortune when they christened the business . . . Gone To The Dogs.

GOOD COMMUNICATIONS CORNER: Well done to the folks at the European Commission's London office, who responded to a request for information on the British Steel price-rigging affair with a five-page press release. In French. 'Do you have an English version?' an exasperated monoglot colleague inquired. 'No.' 'But I thought English was one of the community's official languages?' 'Er, it is, but we won't have an English version for five days. . .' Sacre bleu]

WHILE ON THE CONTINENT, let's hear it for the Hotel Regina Titlis, in Engelberg, Switzerland. The management there really rolled out the red carpet for the traders and clients of a certain posh British merchant bank on a recent skiing jolly. They even personalised the menu - pity they headed the list of delicacies with the words 'Humbros Bank'.

THREE CHEERS also for Pan Andean Resources, the Irish oil exploration company, which is paying for the Bolivian football team to travel to Dublin in May for a World Cup warm-up match with Jack Charlton's Republic of Ireland. Pan Andean has two sites in Bolivia, and the company's chairman, John Teeling, is a keen supporter of the Latin Americans' World Cup bid. This all sits a bit oddly with an earlier burst of national pride. Dr Teeling set up the Cooley distillery, following the fall of the Irish whiskey industry to the French, in the shape of Pernod Ricard in the 1980s.