A kitchen nightmare for 'mediocre' Ramsay as restaurant loses its crown
HE HAS reigned for years as Britain's best-known chef with a string of Michelin-starred restaurants.
But Gordon Ramsay's empire is losing its lustre with restaurant-goers, according to a leading food guide, which says his "mediocre" cooking signals the "end of an era" for the hot- tempered cook.
The latest edition of food bible Harden's London Restaurants says Restaurant Gordon Ramsay has lost its crown as London's best overall eatery for the first time in seven years and warns diners are losing interest due to Glasgow-born Ramsay's constant exposure on television.
It warns newer rivals such as Chez Bruce, the Wandsworth restaurant run by Bruce Poole, are in danger of stealing a march on Ramsay's venues.
Richard Harden, co-editor of the guide, said: "With Ramsay spending so much time on television, both in the UK and in the US, aspects of his empire are beginning to show signs of stress.
"It is not only at Restaurant Gordon Ramsay that standards have declined, but also at his other 'name' restaurant, Gordon Ramsay at Claridge's, where our survey now finds the cooking mediocre."
He added: "Perhaps most worrying for 'brand Gordon' is regular restaurant-goers are losing interest. Failing some major redirection of Gordon's energies back into his London restaurants, this is beginning to look like the beginning of the end of an era of his dominance of the high-end culinary scene."
Restaurant Gordon Ramsay, which opened in 1998, is no longer Harden's highest-scoring restaurant, knocked-off the number one spot by Petrus.
Although Petrus is part of the Ramsay chain, it is run by hands-on chef Marcus Wareing.
The guide is compiled from an annual survey of more than 8,000 regular diners.
Peter Harden, co-editor of the guide, said: "Gordon Ramsay's huge international reputation has been built on the strong foundation of Restaurant Gordon Ramsay which, until this year, has not been challenged as London's best restaurant. This foundation is suddenly looking very shaky."
Donald Reid, editor of The List Eating and Drinking Guide, said: "It is inevitable that, given the speed of his expansion and the scale of his success, Ramsay would eventually suffer from a backlash.
"Diners tend to be hyper- critical when eating at restaurants which have been given a lot of hype and publicity. After all, they are spending a lot of money."
Tom Kitchin, whose Edinburgh restaurant, the Kitchin, has a Michelin star, said: "When you put your name above the door, diners expect to see you. My customers can see me [in the kitchen], which is important.
"These super-power chefs like Ramsay groom others until they can be trusted to run restaurants to the standards he and his customers expect, so he has the right to open more than one restaurant."
Ramsay, 40, is now best-known for his Channel 4 series Gordon Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares.
His Glasgow restaurant, Amaryllis, closed in 2004.
No-one at his company was available for comment yesterday.
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