Up the creek: The chef that started it all has missed the boat
It's trouble in paradise for the rude dude that made being a chef cool, as his empire continues shrink. And nobody else is to blame, says Precious de Leon.
October 17, 2011 5:03 by Precious de Leon
None can argue that he had first mover advantage when he opened Verre in Dubai back in 2003 at the Dubai Hilton Creek Hotel.
But news of Gordon Ramsay severing ties with the Verre Dubai branch has just diminished all value and advantage that came with being the first foul-mouth, attractively rude TV chef in this region.
Did Ramsay Holdings, there I say the chef himself, really think that his legendary persona is enough to keep customers coming back to his restaurants? Somebody’s definitely dropped the ball here. I’d imagine a very big juicy meatball, and a very important ball at that.
In this day and age, when Youtube is littered with foodies-turned-pseudo-chefs and the dime-a-dozen TV chefs who’s as tough and debatably witty as the last one, someone forgot to tell Gordon Ramsay to innovate.
In an article published in The National, Stefan Bregof of F&B consultancy Tribe Restaurants Creators in Abu Dhabi said, “He’s in Old Dubai. Back in the day, that was a hot part of town and Dubai has changed. I wouldn’t be surprised if we see him resurface somewhere else at some point. It’s not an indication of Gordon falling off a cliff, or Hilton changing their strategy. It just makes sound business sense.”
Yes, good business sense. Maybe, it’s because of Old Dubai. But is it really just because the restaurant is in a part of town that’s not ‘hot’ anymore that may have contributed to this downfall? After all, the move follows the closure of several Ramsay restaurants, including those in Cape Town and London. The company, as it stands, is barely beyond bankruptcy.
All of these elements point to one thing: complacency—even the meanest chefs need a bit of reinvention.
And if this downfall can happen to the great Gordon Ramsay, then it certainly can for a lot of the fat cats across any sector. At the end of the day, the lesson here is it doesn’t matter if you’re the first, we’re always only as good as the last thing we’ve done. So don’t forget to always be on your toes…and to keep innovating.