Mitchells & Butlers has confirmed that it is has recruited the former executive chef of Wagamama and Tampopo to explore the pan-Asian food opportunity. Last week, M&C Report broke news that the company had decided against buying the six-strong Tampopo chain in favour of developing expertise in-house. The managed pub operator has recruited Adrian McCormack, former executive chef at Wagamama and Tampopo, to oversee the development of the offering. M&C Report has reported that M&B also had a close look at buying Wagamama, the Japanese noodle chain, which was recently acquired by Duke Street, the private equity group, for circa£215m and buying Tampopo. The latter, which was founded by David Fox and Nick Jeffrey in Manchester in 1997, currently operates six restaurant; three in Manchester, and one each in Leeds, Bristol and Reading. It is thought that the deal was called off after leading figures on the M&B board decided against an acquisition in favour of developing a new concept/brand in house. A spokesman for M&B told M&C Report: “There is obvious consumer appetite for pan-Asian cuisine in the UK which represents a potential growth area for Mitchells & Butlers and our existing restaurant and pub brands. “We have recruited a new food development manager, Adrian McCormack, with unrivalled experience in pan-Asian cuisine. "This appointment brings new skills to the organisation for the benefit of all of our restaurant and pub brands. “Overall we are diversifying our food sales and capitalising on new areas of growth. This has seen us in recent months begin the roll out of initiatives including take away and breakfast across some of our restaurant and pub brands where we have identified customer demand.”