Business Diary: January 24

An Italian businessman was so impressed with the tapas at a Yorkshire restaurant that he is having one of his company’s state-of-the-art dishwashers shipped to El Gato Negro in Ripponden from his company’s base in Venice.

Alberto Spinetti, of Italian industrial group, DIHR, was in town to meet Stephen Baxter, CEO of JLA Group, and the two ate together at the renowned El Gato Negro.

Stephen says: “I remember that Victor Kiam liked his Remington shaver so much he bought the company.

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“We didn’t quite go that far, but Alberto enjoyed his meal so much he is sending over one of his dishwashers!

“We’re hoping to do business with DIHR in the future, and we’re off to a great start thanks to the team at El Gato.”

Good omen for new owner at bistro

BUSINESSMAN Andrew Wilson could be forgiven for thinking his latest venture was a calling.

He has taken over premises in Addingham, formerly The Good Food Shop. Previously, having run a restaurant in London, which was, by strange coincidence, also called The Good Food Shop, Andrew said it “seemed like an omen” when he first saw the business.

Frewin’s Bistro will officially throw open its doors today.

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The bistro, which is now re-opening with a new name and under new ownership, saw demolition workers called in three years ago when eyewitnesses noticed the end of the building had begun to break away from the rest of the row.

Following the removal of part of the first floor and second floor, structural repairs were carried out.

Andrew said: “We serve hearty, globally-inspired dishes such as cassoulet from France, Greek skordalia and even palaver sauce from West Africa, as well as British favourites like toad-in-the-hole.”

During the day Frewin’s offers a café menu.

Andrew, who lives in Silsden, says the new bistro will reflect his personal ethos by sourcing local and fair-trade supplies and using energy from environmentally friendly sources.

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He has offered apprenticeships to four local young people who will study catering and hospitality at nearby Craven College, in Skipton.

Mistaken for a more famous face

SOMETIMES it’s hard being in the public eye.

Gary Verity, the chief executive of Welcome to Yorkshire, has had plenty to celebrate recently.

His team walked away with a world travel award earlier this month, so it’s hardly surprising that his face is becoming well known.

Mr Verity was recently visiting an exclusive club in London, when a woman seemed to recognise him.

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Had she perhaps been inspired by his efforts to promote Yorkshire to a global audience? Or perhaps she wanted to say how much she was looking forward to visiting Brontë country?

Sadly, not.

“Aren’t you Hugh Bonneville?” she asked.

Mr Bonneville is, of-course, best known as one of the stars of costume drama Downton Abbey.

Mr Verity told Diary about this tale of mistaken identity when he attended the Sheffield Business Awards.

Diplomatic words from City’s Lord Mayor

CITY lawyer David Wootton has a very special honour this year.

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He is the first Yorkshireman to hold the office of Lord Mayor of the City of London since 1955.

The Bradford-born partner at Allen & Overy was on diplomatic form when Diary caught up with him last week.

Asked how a typical Yorkshire businessman viewed the City, he said: “I think in the larger business end in Yorkshire, which is very well run, and in the professional services, that they have a pretty sensible view of the City.

“In my own profession of the law, Leeds has done very well. It’s the second legal centre in the country and can hold its own to put it mildly.

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“There are always complaints against any capital city but I’m expecting to find that people have a pretty balanced and measured view of the City.”

Mr Wootton was speaking during a visit to Leeds.

He spent the weekend in Bradford and yesterday visited leading businesses in the city.