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article imageCelebrity Chef Gordon Ramsay Defends His Reputation

By Alethea Borgman     Apr 17, 2009 in Food
Gordon Ramsay defended his reputation today following evidence that his London Restaurants serve ready-made meals, netting him a gross profit of about 600 per cent on each meal served.
Earlier today, news broke that Gordon Ramsay is serving boil-in-the-bag, ready-made meals in his post gastro pubs and “the ultimate bistro” Foxtrot Oscar (see our previous coverage).
GR logistics, the production arm of Ramsay’s GR Holdings, is reportedly preparing ready-made meals at his off-site factory generating profits of up to 600 per cent on each meal.
While this might not seem out of the ordinary for some restaurants, it is for one owned by Ramsay. The celebrity chef has been quite outspoken on pre-cooked meals and constantly advocates for the use of fresh ingredients.
“Food hell is any ready meal," Ramsay recently told Olive Magazine. "It’s so easy to prepare a quick dish using fresh produce such as a simple stir-fry, but people still resort to ready meals that all taste exactly the same.”
The dishes are prepared in bulk and represent half of the menu offered at The Narrow, The Warrington, The Devonshire and Foxtrot Oscar, all owned by Ramsay.
This admission will add fuel to the fire of Restaurant critics worldwide who have concluded for years that Ramsay has spread himself too thinly, and could risk losing his reputation as well as denting his $60-million fortune.
Richard Harden, the man behind Harden’s restaurant guides, told the London Evening Standard today, "This does explain what we have always said - that the gastro pubs and Foxtrot Oscar are mediocre to poor. There is normally nothing wrong with prep kitchens except I am not sure there has ever been a prep kitchen that gets top class standards."
A spokesperson for Ramsay retaliated, saying the gastro pubs and Foxtrot Oscar were too small and reheating the food, under a method known as sous vide, was tried and tested by the world’s best chefs. The spokesperson said, "The central kitchen is a state-of the-art-facility. It is a Gordon Ramsay kitchen run by Gordon Ramsay chefs cooking Gordon Ramsay food - it just happens to be off site."
The food is supplied to "...those kitchens with limited cooking space' including Foxtrot Oscar and The Narrow," the spokesperson added. "These are sealed and transported daily in refrigerated vans and all menu dishes are then cooked in the individual kitchens. Here Gordon Ramsay chefs prepare components of dishes devised and produced to the highest Gordon Ramsay standards."
This comes after another public blunder made by Ramsay; he was recently criticized for a dish he prepared while on a culinary journey to India, as he served khargosh khud (a rabbit dish cooked in a sandpit) without knowing the animal is a protected species in Rajasthan.
Subsequently, when asked in a recent interview what he thought will be the next big food trend over the coming decade, Ramsay told Olive Magazine “there’s going to be a return to Escoffier-inspired grill rooms. Expect dishes to be simpler, with the produce really speaking for itself, and looking less fussy. It’s something we’re really focusing on for the launch of The Savoy Grill later this year."
Some might argue that you can’t get easier and less fussy than ‘boil in the bag’ and ready in less than 20 minutes.
More about Ramsay, Ready meals, Boil bag, Michelin star chefs, Savoy
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