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Gordon Ramsay is Going Downscale
Wednesday, August 23, 2006 | posted by Mike

Gordon RamsayThe British press has its bangers in a mash over news about Hell’s Kitchen and The F-Word star Gordon Ramsay’s latest culinary entrepreneurial endeavor. Rather than expanding his upscale UK restaurant empire, word on the street is that he is on the market for a number of neighborhood pubs that he will turn into a chain of food-and-ale establishments. Coverage is in The Independent, The Guardian and The Scotsman.

This is interesting because, here in the US, most of the “branding” and marketing that takes place around TV chefs is centered on food products, kitchen equipment or general lifestyle items like magazines. I can only think of one chef-branded chain, and that would be Wolfgang Puck’s Express locations. Of course, those were built specifically for the purpose of becoming Express restaurants, so buying existing places and turning them into a chain is something altogether different. I think it’s a strategy that we could see work well in major metropolitan areas here in America.

As you would expect, there is some question as to whether a man known for Michelin stars can make food for the people. But you have to remember the Beef Wellington. I say that for two reasons:
Reason #1: All of the talk about Gordon Ramsay bringing back the Wellington makes you think that he can go beyond the latest trends and overly-fancy plating and put together a menu of food to eat with a lager. Criticize his personality all you want, but he seems to know how to make food that people love.

Reason #2: You’d be shocked by the number people who come to this site after Googling the words “Gordon Ramsay Wellington,” and I’m not at all above compromising my editorial integrity by including them in this post to drive up traffic.
Seriously, though, this is something totally different than products like Emeril bottled sauces because Ramsay doesn’t have to worry about losing control of the quality when it enters the home kitchen. He can create restaurants with very good, inexpensive food and do it in a location that allows people they’re getting a chance to eat at a celebrity’s establishment. Plus, it has the added bonus of being an authentic restaurant rather than a pre-fabricated McPub.

Of course, to really seal the deal, they’ll need to install a loudspeaker near the kitchen which will, at random times, blurt out obscenities and insults to the customers and staff. No sense in cutting corners on the full experience.



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