|TV Dinners Spoil Ramsay’s Top Rating|
As Harden’s places La Trompette in London's Top Ten Gastronomic Experience
He’s the latest in the line of celebrity chefs to set his sights on Chiswick, but all is not well in Ramsay’s empire according to the latest Harden’s London Restaurant Guide 2008 published this week. The highly regarded annual survey of 8,000 regular restaurant-goers showed for the first time since 2000, Gordon Ramsay failed to pull off a ‘hat trick’ in the poll. In recent years, Restaurant Gordon Ramsay has not only won the vote for ‘Top gastronomic experience’ but has also achieved the ‘Highest food rating’ and the ‘Highest overall rating’ (which combines ratings for food, service and ambience). This year Restaurant Gordon Ramsay retained only the first of these three ‘trophies’, and then only by a much-reduced margin.
Situated a stones throw from Ramsay’s newest venture, Devonshire Road’s La Trompette made it onto the list of London's Top Ten Gastronomic Experiences alongside Chez Bruce who emerged for the first time as the survey’s highest-rated destination for food. Wandsworth's Chez Bruce also retained – for the third consecutive year – its poll position as Londoners’ Favourite Restaurant’.
Peter Harden, co-editor of the guide, observes, “Until this year, the survey has always been very clear in recent times that you found the best overall food in London at Restaurant Gordon Ramsay, and that restaurant was clearly London’s best overall too. Neither is true any more.
Gordon Ramsay’s huge international reputation has been built on the strong foundation of Restaurant Gordon Ramsay, which until this year has simply not been challenged as London’s best restaurant by far. This foundation is suddenly looking very shaky”.
Co-editor Richard Harden adds, “With Gordon spending so much time on television, both in the UK and the US, various 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 the survey now finds the cooking to be mediocre. And it is not just in New York that newly-launched Ramsay restaurants have been getting a rather rocky reception: survey respondents have greeted his Knightsbridge newcomer La Noisette as a fully-fledged Kitchen Nightmare.
“Perhaps most worrying, however, for ‘brand Gordon’ is the fact that regular restaurant-goers are simply losing interest, with his three most notable restaurants sliding down the list of places people talk about most. Failing some major re-direction of Gordon’s energies back to his London restaurants – and away from America, TV studios, and pubs – this is beginning to look like the end of the era of Ramsay’s unchallenged dominance of the high-end culinary scene.”
August 29, 2007