31 August 2006

[distractions] Gordon Ramsay London's Top Chef Again, Again

Just caught this little gem being reported across the world on various sources: in a popular survey conducted by the guide Harden's London Restaurants 2007, Chef Gordon Ramsay was voted best London cook for the 11th consecutive year.

But that's not all: of London's restaurants, five of them (including his eponymous Restaurant Gordon Ramsay, Chez Bruce, and Gordon Ramsay at Claridge's) appeared on the top-10 list, up from three last year.

While acknowledging the Chef's apt PR acumen and obvious culinary talent, Harden's does wonder if Chef's culinary dominance of the London scene might be a bit of a straitjacket, however:
"In some cases this reflects the intrinsic merits of the restaurants, but in others it is just a function of the power of the Ramsay PR machine to generate footfall...It is no criticism of Gordon - or his vaulting international ambitions - to say that for one man, or brand, to achieve such dominance over London's top-end restaurant scene risks becoming stifling."

It's all about the branding, baby.

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2 comments:

Chef Tony said...

Chef Ramsay is a real character, and with his rep, he needs to keep people tight. I hated him at first, because I don't want us Chefs to have a bad rep, but he's passionate about the craft, and I have to respect that. Thanks for the post. I'll repost on my site as well.

Samuel John Klein Portlandiensis said...

Dear Chef Tony:

Thanks for commenting.

Yes, Chef is a hell of a character. He does have a name to uphold; in one of the many interviews with him I've been able to read, he did mention that every one of the dishes that leave one of his kitchens has his name on it; if it looks bad, he looks bad, so he keeps his standards in there. That sort of equation I think everyone understands.

As someone once said, we've upped our standards, so up yours...

Seriously, though, he's had a peculiar effect on me, and that's why I've become a Ramsay fan. The fiery theatrics got me there, but the passion that emanates from every move he seems to make kept me. He's an incredibly inspiring artist to watch!

Far from giving Chefs a bad name, he's done a lot to elevate the perception of the professional cook as not only someone who exists in the elite air of haute cuisine, but through his books extending good taste to the masses (and not snottily like some other authors I can mention), reminding us of the elevating social and familial effect of a good-quality meal shared together.

But most of all, it's his passionate approach that demonstrates how just a little passion in what one does or finding what one loves do to and attacking it with passion actually takes life from mundane to passing transcendant.

In a way, he's a Zen master of sorts. Zen Master Ramsay, neh?

Hope to see you back here often.