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Gordon sells out! The decline of the celeb chefs?


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A pertinent point is raised here. Let's just think about it for a moment shall we...

Gary Rhodes, an alleged "celebrity chef" endorses margarine. That is MARGARINE by the way. Factory distilled chemical kak with no natural, let alone redeeming, features whatsoever.

God help us all!

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Despite the to-ing and fro-ing, I still can't shake the opinion that if you go to a Gordon Ramsay restaurant expecting the man himself to cook your dinner, you're a fool!

Of course, I'm also of the opinion that if you go to a Gordon Ramsay restaurant and expect it to be brilliant merely because his name his over the door, you're a fool.

If a restaurant is good, it's good, and I don't care who is doing the actual cooking. Why should I? It seems to me that those who care more about the cook than what's on the plate are the ones buying into the celebrity chef culture. I don't care what name is over the door, is the food good?

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There's seems to be some crossfire between two parallel and non-contradictory arguments based around two separate points, both of which I think most on here would agree with:

Point 1: Is the current obsession with celebrity chefs at breaking point (and are they due a fall?)

I think it probably is overstretched, as are the individual chefs, and the concept will undoubtably fall back from favour in the media and the public. That's natural and cyclical and down to human nature. We probably all are a bit sick of it but as with most things some chefs "brand" themselves with more success and integrity than others.

Ultimately this whole process is self-selecting. If chefs choose to do "roll out" then that is their right - and let's not knock people for running a financially successful operation - and if they are successful then it is because a) they are very good at it and/or b) there is a public appetite for it. If they are incompetent and/or dishonest in what they are doing then ultimately they will get found out.

Point 2: Should a chef always (or largely) be cooking at a restaurant with their name over the door?

Counter-intuitively I say no, I don't think so, especially if it is made clear that the extension/presence of the chef's name is to flag up that fact that their style, ethos, standards will be present in the new venture, not the wo/man themselves. If some restaurants don't labour this point? That's marketing. If some people don't realise this? They're idiots.

Ultimately, as mentioned above, I don't care as long as I have a good meal at said restaurant. That doesn't mean though that I don't have the utmost respect for chefs who have no interest in playing the media game, and who dedicate themselves to the kitchen for love not money. That's level of passion and commitment is wonderful and compelling in any field of endeavour.

If I could choose a perfect restaurant to eat in it would be a one-man-one-passion operation like the Merchant House, full of individuality and personality and a feeling of being unique and almost fragile. If though it was a choice between a mediocre chef-patron restaurant or a wonderful restaurant that was an efficiently administered part of a star-chefs stable then I'd take the latter.

Ultimately if I enjoy the food I'm happy, and everything else is irrelevent except for firing up some feisty online debate.

Cheers

Thom

Edited by thom (log)

It's all true... I admit to being the MD of Holden Media, organisers of the Northern Restaurant and Bar exhibition, the Northern Hospitality Awards and other Northern based events too numerous to mention.

I don't post here as frequently as I once did, but to hear me regularly rambling on about bollocks - much of it food and restaurant-related - in a bite-size fashion then add me on twitter as "thomhetheringto".

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Ramsay constantly spouts this line when ever he is put under pressure for never been in his kitchens. Ramsay didn't even coin this phrase, he nicked it from Gary Rhodes (another one who spreads himself as thin as the magarine he endorses!)

um... that is certainly not something nicked from gary rhodes.

it originally came from Robuchon, quite some time ago I believe.

A meal without wine is... well, erm, what is that like?

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Thats right, I heard it from somebody who looked and sounded just like Rhodes. Hmm. My mistake. The hours must be getting to me. I tell you what these look alikes are getting sooooooooo much better nowadays. Phew!, thanks for that.

Edited by food1 (log)
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Thats right, I heard it from somebody who looked and sounded just like Rhodes. Hmm. My mistake. The hours must be getting to me. I tell you what these look alikes are getting sooooooooo much better nowadays. Phew!, thanks for that.

yeah, cause the guy who plagiarises someone elses thoughts, becomes the original source to be cited doesn't he? maybe you are working too hard :laugh:

incidentally what restaurant do you run?

Edited by Scott (log)

A meal without wine is... well, erm, what is that like?

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Is Gordon slowly heading back to what he does best? Being a chef.

Read earlier that he has now 'handed' back restaurant number three, in as many weeks. The latest casualty, is his Paris flagship, which very recently was awarded two stars. This is interesting as G.R had banked on this restaurant being his second three star establishment in time.

We are in hard times for sure but I wonder if its also the case that the G.R name has now been streched to absolute breaking point? Just how further can his name go before quality control measures etc etc are affected. I believe he's reached that point.

Like many others, I would love to see G.R back manning his stoves in some capacity. As for G.R the chef, I still have alot of respect for him and think he still has alot left in the cooking tank. I've been told that this is a fantasy, but one wonders.

I also wonder just how comfortable is G.R with the empire of restaurants etc he has now amassed in such a short space of time? Life can't be much fun. I imagine total stress, being pushed from pillow to post. I get the distinct impression that if his father in law hadn't played such a massive part in GRH, then G.R himself naturally would not be in the position he is now. When you listen to G.R talking about his set up after set up, it looks like he isn't quite as sure as his father in law. On the face of it, it seems RHR wouldn't have come to anything without the F.I.Law masterminding the whole deal.

In the current circumstances, would it be fair to say G.R is a great chef, who has allowed his name to expand way beyond his control????

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Following food1's post please find the below:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics...e-in-Paris.html

This is worrying IMO. While the US sale was bad PR wise over there the sale of his Paris flagship which he pinned so much on (Mark Askew was there full time I understand) must mean he is in quite a bit of trouble. Also GR giving up 2 stars, would he really do that if all was ok?

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they haven't given the restaurants up - its just that instead of owning them they now just operate them - like they always did at verre for example - from what i understand.

"Experience is something you gain just after you needed it" ....A Wise man

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Not quite sure what people are getting so het up about. Definite hints of tall poppy syndrome here.

If it is as Jay Rayner outlined in his blog the other day, then it's basically sensible portfolio management. As the risk of the portfolio goes up (recession) you lower the risk exposure of your portfolio (transfer liabilities to your better capitalised partner). So what.

That's not the same thing as closing up shop. I'm sure the same people cooking in the kitchen today are the same people cooking there last week. Sure, the business may change over time as the owners have their say, but that's hardly new. Any business will change over time as the owners have their say - it's whats called day-to-day management.

What was more unusual, as Jay pointed out, was the original ownership structure, not the consultancy model its moved to. Big deal. After all Robuchon does a straight consultancy gig at Robuchon at the Mansion and Vegas and that gets, what, three michelin stars?

J

More Cookbooks than Sense - my new Cookbook blog!
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Not quite sure what people are getting so het up about. Definite hints of tall poppy syndrome here.

If it is as Jay Rayner outlined in his blog the other day, then it's basically sensible portfolio management. As the risk of the portfolio goes up (recession) you lower the risk exposure of your portfolio (transfer liabilities to your better capitalised partner). So what.

That's not the same thing as closing up shop. I'm sure the same people cooking in the kitchen today are the same people cooking there last week. Sure, the business may change over time as the owners have their say, but that's hardly new. Any business will change over time as the owners have their say - it's whats called day-to-day management....

Up to a point Lord Copper.

If this is to be believed they're going to be replacing the chef and renaming the joint within a month. How does Ramses consult on that? Unless, I suppose, it goes tits up and he gets to go back and do a Restaurant Nightmares on it.

Tim Hayward

"Anyone who wants to write about food would do well to stay away from

similes and metaphors, because if you're not careful, expressions like

'light as a feather' make their way into your sentences and then where are you?"

Nora Ephron

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Tall poppy syndrome? Come on! One thing I love/ hate about this site is how threads can lose the whole point so quickly and be twisted into something resembelling a level of resent  :hmmm:

are you saying you don't have a surprisingly high % of posts, all over the place, complaining about celebrity chef's, their success, and how it isn't fair? :laugh:

Jon's post was pretty spot on.

A meal without wine is... well, erm, what is that like?

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  • 2 months later...
Well, well, the speculation was indeed correct, due to a busy day I nearly missed this tasty morsel.

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_...icle6395950.ece

A very positive story dressed up with the usual swipes at Ramsay.

He hit problems; he (and the team) analysed the issues; he decided not to do a Aitkins or Worrall Thompson but put his hand in his pocket to keep the business going; he restructured the business (as Jon explained); and he is still in business. Good for him (and all his staff who still have jobs).

Despite the imperfections in his empire the dining scene in London (and some other cities) would be far poorer without GR than with him. I, for one, congratulate him on tackling the issues and hope it succeeds.

P.S. I assume this "positive" story has no link to him deciding to employ a PR person. He seemed to suffer a lot in the period after his previous PR left.

Edited by PhilD (log)
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I agree that the restaurant world is better off with G.R in it. I do think the writing was on the wall when it came to his rapid expansion plans and his obvious ambition to take over the world.

Maybe the hard times he has gone through will humble him slightly and help to concentrate his energies into what he does best. I certainly hope so because at the end of the day the fella really is a cracking chef.

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wish he'd do something about the york & albany - the food tastes good but the portions are pretty miserable

It looks and sounds like G.R really needs to focus on many facets of his business. For example, all I hear and read from people who visit RHR is how does the place warrant three stars. Losing a star has to be the last thing G.R wants to happen. I would imagine that could be very damaging.

It will be interesting to see what transpires over the coming months.

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I suppose what GR needs to decide is whether he's a businesman or a chef.

Chef's can realistically manage a few joints while retaining their standands, however businesmen need to consider spans of control and no matter how good you are/were, your brand is currently as strong as your weakest link.

I've got no problem with the centralised kitchen, in fact it makes a lot of sense to the company director in me, and the growth and ambition? Equally, that's fine - but the quid pro quo is a dilution of the brand. GR hasn't allowed his "proteges" enough media time to decentralise them from a now tained brand and I feel he's now suffering from the all his eggs/one basket scenario.

No doubt he will pull through, and I do hope he'll return to his core business and start adding value to the UK dining scene again; I for one am bored of watching a truly great chef demine himself trying to save 4th rate hash joints in the UK or US.

Edited by Ross Boyce (log)
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I suppose what GR needs to decide is whether he's a businesman or a chef.

Chef's can realistically manage a few joints while retaining their standands, however businesmen need to consider spans of control and no matter how good you are/were, your brand is currently as strong as your weakest link.

I've got no problem with the centralised kitchen, in fact it makes a lot of sense to the company director in me, and the growth and ambition? Equally, that's fine - but the quid pro quo is a dilution of the brand. GR hasn't allowed his "proteges" enough media time to decentralise them from a now tained brand and I feel he's now suffering from the all his eggs/one basket scenario.

No doubt he will pull through, and I do hope he'll return to his core business and start adding value to the UK dining scene again; I for one am bored of watching a truly great chef demine himself trying to save 4th rate hash joints in the UK or US.

Its plain to see G.R is more chef than businessman.

Whats bugged me for a long time is that G.R, becoming a total media tart, he seems to have lost the three most important attributes, passion, flair and culinary drive, befitting a three star chef.

I think we are all bored to death now with the over exposure, the tacky, scripted tv shows.

So will his near business collapse change anything???

Edited by food1 (log)
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... I assume this "positive" story has no link to him deciding to employ a PR person...

You're being ironic, right? :laugh:

Tim Hayward

"Anyone who wants to write about food would do well to stay away from

similes and metaphors, because if you're not careful, expressions like

'light as a feather' make their way into your sentences and then where are you?"

Nora Ephron

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