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Curtis Stone Plans Cruise Ship Restaurants; Starbucks and Lyft Partner Up

Plus Burger King brings a Hawaiian burger to South Korea, and the last remaining location of the chain Happy Chef is on the market.

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— Top Chef Duels host Curtis Stone (Maude, Los Angeles) is the latest chef to open a restaurant aboard a cruise ship. Stone is teaming up with Princess Cruises to launch three concepts: The main dining rooms on each ship will feature "Crafted by Curtis" menu items, each ship will feature a restaurant concept which will debut in December, and the Curtis Stone's Chef's Table experience will be rolled out across the entire fleet starting in 2016. Chef Thomas Keller (Per Se, NYC) signed with a cruise ship company earlier this year and chef Geoffrey Zakarian (The Lambs Club, NYC) launched a cruise ship restaurant in 2013.

— Starbucks rejected driver service Uber and is now partnering with its competitor Lyft. All Lyft drivers will have the option of becoming a "gold level member" of Starbucks loyalty program. Both drivers and riders will also have the chance to earn Starbucks points while using the Lyft app. Plus, customers will be able to send their Lyft drivers Starbucks eGift cards through the app if they want to "thank their driver in a more personal way," (though surely, a driver would much rather receive a cash tip?). Starbucks also plans to test a program with Lyft to provide affordable rides to and from work for its employees.

— Burger King is launching a Hawaiian-themed burger in South Korea "in celebration of the summer season." The sandwich, which is simply called the Hawaiian Burger, is actually a chicken sandwich made with a spicy chicken filet, "a thick slice of canned pineapple," lettuce, and something known as a "white pine sauce." Unfortunately for South Koreans, Burger King has no plans to introduce a Loco Moco-inspired burger.

— The first location of Minnesota-based chain Happy Chef is up for sale. It is the last remaining location of the restaurant, and when it is sold it will mark the end of the company that was started over 50 years ago in the town of Mankato by three brothers. Co-founder Tom Frederick Sr. says he is selling the restaurant in anticipation of planned highway construction that he says will keep "too many customers away."

— A new bill passed by the House yesterday makes it so that food companies do not have to disclose if their products contain genetically modified ingredients. Representative Mike Pompeo, the bill's sponsor, notes: "The reality is, biotechnology has time and time again proved safe... we should not raise prices on consumers based on the wishes of a handful of activists." However, proponents of GMO labeling say that consumers have the right to know what's in their food. Those concerned about GMOs should frequent Chipotle, which recently announced that it no longer uses GMO ingredients.

— And on that note, people apparently don't mind paying more for Chipotle. The burrito chain recently raised its prices by seven to 10 percent in the San Francisco-area to "offset an increase in the minimum wage." The city's minimum wage rose to $12.25 per hour in May and will hit $15 per hour by 2018. Chipotle did not see a drop in sales, however: The chain notes that lines were still "snaked out the door" and no jobs needed to be cut.

— Food Network host and chef Michael Symon continues to expand his restaurant empire. Symon is opening a location of his burger concept B Spot in Indianapolis this weekend. It is his first restaurant in the city but he may have plans for more: "We really try to invest in the city and invest in the community and the restaurant community there, so we're starting with B Spot and it may lead to other things." Symon is also in the midst of working on a "new style of barbecue" for his upcoming Cleveland restaurant Mabel's BBQ which is slated to open next month.

— Jeannette McNeil Cathy, the wife of Chick-fil-A founder Truett Cathy, has passed away. The Associated Press writes that Cathy was surrounded by family when she died at the age of 92. Jeannette met Truett — who passed away last year at the age of 93 — when she was just eight years old. The couple's son, Dan T. Cathy, now runs the restaurant chain.