Pandora: Out of the frying pan and into the future...
Friday 29 August 2008
The chef Tom Aikens has thrown in the towel in his pitched battle with his disgruntled Chelsea neighbours.
The acclaimed restaurateur, who at 26 became the youngest person to win one of the catering industry's fêted Michelin stars, has closed his upmarket fish and chip shop, Tom's Place, only six months after it opened at Chelsea Green.
The move follows complaints by nearby residents, who were unhappy about the smell of chip fat which had wafted from the kitchen since the restaurant opened in February. Their concerns prompted environmental health officers from the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea to begin legal proceedings.
Aikens, 37, was unwilling to comment on the matter in person when I called yesterday. However, his spokesman said in a statement: "Chef Tom Aikens has announced that he has closed his Chelsea fish restaurant, Tom's Place, effective immediately.
"Citing ongoing difficulties and disputes with local residents and council planners over issues of air-conditioning, kitchen extraction and general business, Aikens has decided to cease trading until further notice."
This leaves the Norwich-born chef with two other restaurants, Tom Aikens and Tom's Kitchen, also both in Chelsea.
Shepherd's Bush hasn't lured Petra
Ever since Queens Park Rangers owner Flavio Briatore turned up to a match with Naomi Campbell hanging off his arm, his side have become very much the West London club of choice for the capital's beau monde.
However, there's been no sighting in Shepherd's Bush of the club's co-owner Bernie Ecclestone's leggy daughter, Petra, gracing the stands on match day.
"No, I've not been to QPR since the whole deal got sorted, so I don't really know much about the team," she told Pandora at the launch of creative talent site Zooqoo.com.
"But I'm definitely going up there as soon as I have time. I'm a really big football fan, I love it, it's just I'm so busy at the moment with work."
Manuva's Blunt duet
Yesterday, I reported on the hip-hop star Roots Manuva's words of advice to Tory leader David Cameron. Now, news of another unlikely collaboration involving the edgy south London artist – he is planning on recording a duet with posh crooner James Blunt.
The pair apparently plan to hook up as soon as their schedules will allow. Speaking on BBC6 Music yesterday, Manuva said: "We'll just get in the studio, have a few wines, eat some cake and go for it."
Record wait for Becky
As a double Olympic gold medallist, the British swimmer Rebecca Adlington has earned her right to a bit of prompt service since returning from Beijing. However, yesterday morning Pandora spotted her sitting in her Team GB tracksuit outside West Kensington's K-West hotel, a favoured hangout of Amy Winehouse. Becky had been kept waiting as her car had turned up late. That's no way to treat an Olympic hero.
Peter's anthemic angst
After decades spent fighting bigotry, the gay rights campaigner Peter Tatchell is turning his guns on the Royal Family. The Australian-born firebrand says he wants Britain to ditch its national anthem. "The only sour note was when the national anthem was played," he says of our recent Olympic triumphs. "I winced with embarrassment on hearing God Save The Queen. Its sentiments are snobbish, elitist and anachronistic."
Bejing handover left band bewildered
It wasn't only the Chinese waxworks who were left scratching their heads after Great Britain's ultra-naff Olympic handover in Beijing.
The classical boy band Blake – who were booked to perform at last Sunday's handover celebrations in London – were similarly bewildered.
"The whole thing was entirely bizarre," says Stephen Bowman, the band's bass baritone. "I mean: Leona Lewis standing on top of that weird contraption, that double-decker bus, David Beckham kicking a football – it was awful.
"Trying to be surreal is OK when it comes to British comedy but it was a bit much at the Olympics. I hope we do better than that in 2012, otherwise it will just be embarrassing. We've got a hard act to follow."
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