Gordon Ramsay’s Chelsea restaurant has dropped off the list of the world’s top 100 restaurants.
The San Pellegrino World’s 50 Best Restaurants list, organised by Restaurant magazine, is chosen by 806 chefs, critics and industry experts.
While Gordon Ramsay Royal Hospital Road (London’s only Michelin three-star) appeared at number 13 in 2008, it doesn’t feature anywhere among the favourite dining spots of the expert panel – which includes some of Ramsay’s own protégés.
Another of Ramsay’s London restaurants, Maze (a Michelin one-star), plummeted from 57 to 91.
Some commentators suggest that like all such lists it should be taken with a pinch of salt.
‘The Restaurant magazine list is a snapshot of what the restaurant in-crowd thinks, and there’s always a slight suspicion they’re nominating restaurants based on accepted wisdom, rather than personal, critical choice,’ Peter Harden, of Harden’s Restaurant Guides, told decanter.com.
Harden pointed out that Royal Hospital Road continues to win praise from the public who participate in Harden’s surveys, and that until recently, Ramsay was the darling of most of the same insiders who ignored him this year.
‘It’s all about fashion. The judges are mostly foodie luvvies – largely European and particularly British journalists. What makes the grade are places they think their peers will approve of each year,’ said Harden.
‘It’s difficult to believe the restaurant could have declined so much in just one year.’
Ferran Adria’s El Bulli (Spain), came in first for the fourth year running, while Heston Blumenthal’s The Fat Duck (UK) held second. Rene Redzepi’s Noma (Copenhagen) moved from 10th place to 3rd.
As soon as the results were made public, a frisson of schadenfreude passed through the UK press and restaurant trade.
Former Ramsay colleagues and employees – many now competitors – noted how low his star has fallen in recent months, while press reports cited financial and personal woes, a vermin scare at his restaurant in Claridges, and recent revelations that some of Ramsay’s restaurants use pre-made meals.
Former Ramsay stable chef Marcus Wareing, whose six-month old restaurant in the Berkeley Hotel (on the old site of Ramsay’s restaurant Petrus) broke into the 2009 list at number 52, said modern chefs ‘would only be successful if they cook in their own kitchen’.
While many other restaurant in the top 100 are part of chains, Wareing’s comments were a clear jab at Ramsay for spending more time cultivating his ever-growing restaurant and media empire than cooking.
Written by Maggie Rosen