Wine of the month

My wine discovery of the month is M&S Vintage Cava 2011. This is an impressive sparkling wine that is just as good, if not better, than many of the more expensive sparklers including some of the cheaper champagnes. At about £15, I shall be stocking up. Please buy it and join me in my plight against the ghastly Prosecco revolution and return Cava to well-deserved glory. I served this recently when I hosted a wine gang reunion dinner to celebrate us all passing our exams. We each brought a bottle and had fun blind-tasting them all. They all agreed on the quality of this Cava.

Marina development

I am keeping my fingers crossed for an improved Marina experience given the huge redevelopment that is currently underway. Malmaison have taken over the Seattle hotel and are in the process of transforming it to fit the Malmaison brand. A recent lunch there gave me hope of good things to come. There are lots of new venues opening, including an independent artisan deli amongst the various chains.

HarBAR – new opening

I am quite excited about the opening of the Brighton Harbour hotel and its new bar and restaurant. We still need good quality venues on our seafront and it will be good to give Hotel Du Vin a bit of competition. Both will need to be at the top of their game and the new Harbour, on the corner of West Street, will be boasting a roof top swimming pool as their trump card. I will be attending the launch event in July and will report back.

Chichester College set for change

Students and visitors to Chichester College will soon be benefiting from a major revamp of their kitchens and restaurants. The College is investing nearly £3million in the project, which is partly funded by a significant grant made by the Coast to Capital LEP (Local Enterprise Partnership). As part of the refurbishment, a new state-of-the-art kitchen for student training will be installed and the college will also be unveiling a new student run restaurant and bistro, which will be open to the general public. Café 19 and 64 Restaurant & Bar promise diners a stylish environment to savour culinary delights, cooked and served by the talented hospitality and catering students at the college. I went along to visit and spent some time with Julie Kapsalis, Chichester College Vice Principal: “The refurbishment will provide the college with state-of-the-art training facilities for our students, including new kitchens and restaurants. This work is vital to ensuring we continue to produce students who can meet the catering industry requirements in the region.” The new facilities will open in the autumn and I will be going along to sample the delights of the kitchen. I’m keen to support and promote anything that nurtures talent in the hospitality and tourism industries for our region. After all, this is a critical part of our economy. More to follow.

Food Awards

Celebrate your favourite Brighton & Hove food, drink and hospitality businesses by voting in this year’s annual city-wide food and drink awards. Public nominations are open until the end of August with categories ranging from best Restaurant and International Cuisine through to Cocktail Bar and Food Pub. During September the panel of expert judges will secret shop and interview the top three in each category to find the best of the best in the city. You can nominate today via the Brighton & Hove Food and Drink Festival website www.brightonfoodfestival.com

Click here to read the complete article in the Sussex magazine