Gordon Ramsey is continuing to expand his empire around the globe but he may have bitten off more than he can chew with his latest venture by opening a restaurant in one of the most prestigious places in France, the palace of Versailles. After a few years of rapid expansion Ramsey's restaurants can now be found in such far flung places as Dubai, New York, Dublin and Tokyo. Most of the restaurants have been a massive success with only The London in New York coming under pressure with the opening being delayed and restaurant reviewers being mixed. Overall the restaurants have been a success and even though Ramsey himself spends minimal time in each one the level of service and the quality of food have remained high enough to ensure they have received excellent reviews and made Ramsay's pockets deeper.
I have a feeling though that taking on the French in their own back garden could possibly be the biggest mistake he has ever made. See the French are a peculiar bunch and I can guarantee you that if there is one thing that will really piss them off and boycott a restaurant it will be an English chef coming into a sacred palace and aiming to take on their own chefs in the race for 3 prestigious Michelin stars.
I am a huge fan of Ramsey but I really do think he is making a move that he will regret for a long time by trying to move into France. I have worked in the French Alps as a head chef for 6 months in the past and believe me the French do not take kindly to foreigners, especially "les Rosbeef" as the affectionately call the English, coming into their country and trying to beat them at the profession they are best known for! I personally think Ramsey is doing it more for PR reasons and to raise his profile further rather than for pure culinary reasons.
As I said I am a massive Ramsey fan but if he succeeds with this one I would be very surprised indeed! When the French kick him out with his tail between his legs don't say i didn't tell you so!
Saturday, March 15, 2008