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Rachel Glucina is New Zealand’s reigning gossip queen and author of The Diary.

The Diary: Sainsbury ponders TV projects

But road-trip down south is first on the list for outgoing host.

Mark Sainsbury began hosting Close Up in 2006. Photo / Greg Bowker
Mark Sainsbury began hosting Close Up in 2006. Photo / Greg Bowker

While TVNZ is smarting from Paul Henry's rebuff following long-held discussions to front Close Up 2, affable outgoing host Mark Sainsbury says he's looking forward to a break before embarking on future projects.

Close Up gets the axe in nine days, and Sainsbury will get a suitably warm send-off after 31 years at the state broadcaster. He says he is looking into a variety of different options following the daily rigour of current affairs.

"I'm considering a whole range of things and a couple of TV projects. But a big break first and a road-trip down south," Sainsbury told The Diary.

The father-of-two said it's too early to discuss the nature of the television projects. "I've had a few approaches over some quite exciting ideas, but you know how these things are ... never get too far ahead of yourself."

Life after TV anchoring invariably means a move into the corporate sector for some.

Brendon Pongia, the former Good Morning host, does contract work for Te Puni Kokiri. Former Prime News anchor Suzy Clarkson (nee Aitken) is head of corporate affairs for Coca-Cola Amatil, while Neil Waka runs publicity for Holden.

As for Close Up 2, the search for a host remains. Producers have been recruited and Heather du Plessis-Allen and Craig Stanaway have been added to the reporting team.

KIWI CHEF JOINS WORLD'S BEST

As far as invitations go, this was an RSVP Auckland chef Geoff Scott was sure to accept.

He joined some of the world's best cooks in Monaco at the weekend to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Alain Ducasse's hallowed Le Louis XV restaurant at the principality's famed Hotel de Paris.

To honour the quarter century, Paul Henry Ducasse, 56, hosted a three-day chefs' summit, gathering an international culinary family. He invited 240 chefs from 28 countries - with a combined 300 Michelin stars among them - to take part in the celebrations.

Scott joined legendary names such as Raymond Blanc, Marcus Wareing, Michel Roux jun and Pierre Troisgros.

Scott, owner/chef of Herne Bay eatery Vinnies, trained under Ducasse at Le Louis XV and described the reunion as "a sight to behold".

"I met several of my old buddies [from] both back and front of house ... The highlight was meeting George Blanc again, who I did my first training session with back in 1988," Scott said on Facebook.

"A special crane was parked outside the Grand Casino - normally the home of the latest Ferrari and Rolls-Royce - to photograph the chefs in starched jackets and aprons in front of the Hotel de Paris ...

"There is a great camaraderie among those gathered."

Ducasse, described as the godfather of French cuisine, hosted a lavish gala dinner and a pop-up local farmers' market inside Le Sporting Monte-Carlo complex where 14 chefs cooked lunch using ingredients from local producers.

Prince Albert and his wife, Princess Charlene, were among the guests at the gala reception, which also included Princess Caroline of Hanover and the Infanta Pilar of Spain, Duchess of Badajoz.

"It was an incredible night. I am still getting my head around it and my feet on the ground - and this is not from a hangover!" Scott said.

Ducasse has 27 restaurants in eight countries and 21 Michelin stars to his name. He now runs a global empire which includes restaurants, luxury hotels, books, cooking schools and even creation of astronaut meals for the European Space Agency.

Depot growing SkyCity eatery Depot, which counts multiple Michelin-star chef Gordon Ramsay as a fan, is expanding.

Al Brown told The Diary he will be taking over the neighbouring establishment next year. "We are still crossing the Ts and dotting the Is at the moment, but we have a cool concept we're working on," he said.

Brown will take over the Red Hummingbird site, the watering hole Coldplay partied at this month.

SkyCity spokeswoman Kelly Armitage said, "We're keen to build on the successful relationship we have with Al and to develop another leading restaurant."

HENRY RE-SIGNS

Paul Henry has re-signed to MediaWorks - in what capacity is yet to be determined.

Bosses Sussan Turner and Paul Maher put a lot of ideas on the table last week and reminded him of his contractual obligation to the company.

A year ago Henry jumped when media mogul Lachlan Murdoch came wooing. He left for Australia, but kept an indentured foot in the MediaWorks camp with minor media roles.

Turner is now all too aware of how far Henry's star has fallen.

Nevertheless, losing him to the state broadcaster was one card she was not prepared to play.

So, the ego is staying - but at what cost? There is little love for Henry in the TV3 newsroom and any suggestion he will replace John Campbell would create a mutiny.

Henry is expected to be named a judge on the much-hyped talent quest X Factor NZ, alongside Stan Walker, but this will do little to remedy his image as a hard news interviewer, of which TV3 has no shortage.

Henry deserted New Zealand last year, flaunting a proverbial two-finger salute. Let go by Network Ten, he's coming home - let's face it, not by choice.

He has a hard road ahead winning back the trust of colleagues and Kiwis.

- NZ Herald

Rachel Glucina

Rachel Glucina is New Zealand’s reigning gossip queen and author of The Diary.

Rachel Glucina is New Zealand’s reigning gossip queen, notorious for breaking celebrity scoops and dishing dirt on the country’s best known personalities. She’s feared. She’s loathed. She’s courted by anyone with skeletons in their closet. Rachel knows where the bodies are buried. Mick Jagger wined and dined her. Mike McRoberts devoted a chapter to her in his memoirs. And John Key has her on speed dial.

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