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Devilishly Good: Q&A with Gordon Ramsay

Devilishly Good: Q&A with Gordon Ramsay

He may love playing the bad boy, but Gordon Ramsay is very good at what he does.

Libby Platus | Restaurant Hospitality

With his feverish pace and feisty personality, chef/entrepreneur Gordon Ramsay is one of a kind. The first Scot to earn a Michelin star, he now has more of those stars than anyone in the world except Joel Robuchon and Alain Ducasse. An outstanding businessman, Ramsay owns the new Gordon Ramsay at the London West Hollywood plus a collection of well-received restaurants around the globe. Add to that a growing list of pubs, Tante Marie School of Cookery and his newest book, Fast Food, an ode to good food made quickly. And, if you’ve seen Hell’s Kitchen or Kitchen Nightmares on TV, you’ve watched him play hardball with chef wannabes and restaurant owners. The (yes, really) charming Ramsay recently took a time-out with RH contributor Libby Platus before the opening of London West Hollywood.

RH: Did the Hell’s Kitchen shooting schedule influence your decision to open in Los Angeles?

Ramsay: I fell in love with LA when I came here for the 1994 World Cup Finals. I was brought to the Bel Age Hotel three years ago and was asked, “would you be interested in opening here?” The potential was extraordinary. It’s been 2½ years in the making. And here we are.

RH: The transformation of the old Bel Age is astonishing. Who’s the designer?

Ramsay: Yes, this is chic. It was Debbie Collins. She has designed three of my restaurants. The last time I came to Bel Age, I was shooting for Fox. I said, “you have to get me out of this ghastly shit hole!”

RH: Have you designed with any particular Hollywood needs in mind?

Ramsay: All my customers are special…they’ll get treated like my mother…and like the Queen. I’m not into ass-kissing celebrities. Everyone’s dollar is welcome. No, I don’t have secret hangouts, passageways, red carpets and private rooms.

RH: There seems to be a certain sameness in high-end big city restaurants. They have similar items on their menus: beet salad, seared ahi tuna, molten chocolate cake. But not your places.