spin the wheel for a game of Ramsay Roulette. Just go
to gordonramsay.com, click on "UK Restaurants"
and place a virtual chip on which restaurant name you
expect to disappear the next time you visit the site.
The smart money had been on the recently closed La Noisette
as far back as November last year when rumours of the
imminent departure of chef Bjorn Van Der Horst began
to circulate. The only people surprised by the closure
in late February appeared to be Ramsay's central reservation
service, who described it as "unexpected",
and the British press who ran their stories on 5 March,
five days after I posted about the closure on egullet.org.
may have something to do with that fact that all mention
of the restaurant had been quietly removed from Ramsay's
website yet no press release was forthcoming from Sauce
Communications, Ramsay's PR company. Perhaps they hoped
that by closing the restaurant and not telling anyone,
the failed restaurant would simply dissipate into the
ether, like a bad smell. No one would draw attention
to the fact that it was the second Ramsay run restaurant
on that site with the lifespan of a mayfly. Pan-Asian
disaster Pengelley's lasted a mere ten months while
Noisette managed a slightly more respectable eighteen.
theory, the number of Ramsay's casual restaurant The
Boxwood Café should be up next. The Berkeley
Hotel announced redevelopment plans back in July 2007
that included the closure of the restaurant. However,
persistent rumours of a serious falling out between
Ramsay and his old friend Marcus Wareing could mean
that Petrus, where Wareing currently holds two Michelin
stars, could be the next restaurant to fall.
has worked with Ramsay since 1993, when he joined Ramsay's
first restaurant Aubergine as sous chef. Their close
relationship was evident from the Channel 4 TV series
Boiling Point where they appeared to be inseparable,
and there was a time when you couldn't switch on a boxing
match in the TV and not see Ramsay and Wareing side
by side ringside.
has always been seen as the blue eyed boy of the Ramsay
organisation. He was the first chef Ramsay set up with
his own restaurant at L'Oranger, and then the original
Petrus restaurant, both in St James Street, London.
Wareing was then given the responsibility of re-launching
The Savoy Grill and later the hotel's Banquette restaurant.
recently, Wareing appears to have been somewhat sidelined.
Mark Sargeant, head chef at the money spinning Claridges
restaurant that has been named executive chef for Ramsay's
burgeoning chain of pubs. Sargeant has also been given
the task of overseeing the food at Foxtrot Oscar, Ramsay's
newly opened casual bistro a few doors down from his
flagship three Michelin starred restaurant. Ramsay has
recently announced plans to roll out both the pub add
bistro concept nationally.
its relative newcomer to the Ramsay group Jason Atherton's
Maze concept that is being replicated around the world
rather then Wareing's Petrus restaurant. New York has
a Maze, as does Prague with potentially Amsterdam and
Singapore to follow. Ramsay's next London projects,
a restaurant in a boutique hotel and a new Italian restaurant
Murano will both have Angela Hartnett at the helm.
Petrus is a busy, successful and critically acclaimed
restaurant, it is something of an anomaly in the current
Ramsay portfolio. It's the only fine dining restaurant
in the group that doesn't bare his name, and the most
similar to the flagship Gordon Ramsay restaurant in
Royal Hospital Road.
the London in New York is anything to go by, Ramsay's
worldwide fine dining restaurants will be made in the
image of Royal Hospital Road and not Petrus, leaving
Wareing out on a limb. That can only lend further credence
to the whisper that Wareing is currently in talks to
open a hotel restaurant outside of the Ramsay organisation.
he does go, Wareing won't be the first of Ramsay's long
standing loyal lieutenants to leave the Ramsay organisation.
Neil Ferguson had been with Ramsay since the Aubergine
days, but that didn't save him from the axe when Ramsay's
New York restaurant, where Ferguson had been appointed
head chef, received mixed reviews.
caused the rumoured rift between old friends Wareing
and Ramsay is anyone's guess. It will no doubt be a
sad day for both men should Wareing walk away from Petrus,
but it could potentially be the best move Wareing ever
makes. As much as Ramsay likes to be seen nurturing
and promoting his chefs, they are doomed to work under
the shadow of his huge media profile. By breaking out
on his own, Wareing could give himself the chance to
be properly recognised as the culinary talent he surely