Gordon Ramsay sells US restaurant



By Alexander Lawrie

JUST a year after the glittering opening of his new LA restaurant Gordon Ramsay has been forced to sell the flagship eaterie.

Situated on Hollywood’s famous Sunset Strip, A-list stars such as Halle Berry, Scarlet Johansson and the Beckhams have all been seen dining regularly at the exclusive restaurant.

But just 12 months in, Ramsay has flogged The London West Hollywood because on some days the restaurant’s staff outnumbered its customers.

And the Scottish chef has also been dealt a blow by one of New York’s top critics who claims Ramsay has become a “great big clown”.

Ramsay’s 110-seat LA restaurant has been sold to LXR Luxury Resorts, the owners of the adjoining London West Hollywood hotel, but the foul-mouthed Scot will be kept on as a “creative consultant”.

A source at the restaurant revealed: “The economy is hurting everyone and Gordon is no exception. When it opened, we were told he wanted to dominate the Hollywood restaurant scene because that would lead to his conquering America.

“In Hollywood, everyone expects the star chef to be there. Gordon was simply stretched too thin with his TV commitments and his other restaurants.

“People would come in and ask for him and it was embarrassing to tell them he wasn’t here.

“A lot of staff are unhappy. They gave up excellent jobs because they wanted to work for Gordon Ramsay in the jewel of his empire.”

Ironically, as the restaurant has been sold, Ramsay has been spending more time at the business as he films his latest Hell’s Kitchen show in the US.

Staff have been concerned for a while as the business has shown signs of failing.

And during one recent lunch hour only five tables were seen to be occupied.

The former-Rangers star borrowed over £4 million to finance his US expansion which includes restaurants in New York and Florida.

And Tim Zagat, publisher of the best-selling restaurant guide in New York, has slated the Scot’s New York business and placed it at number 38 in the overall food rankings.

This prompted New York Post food critic Steve Cuozzo to comment: “Gordo was once a great chef. Then he became a great businessman. Today he’s more like a great big clown, with daily headline embarrassments of one sort or another.

“If “rock-star” chefs have become a joke, then Ramsay is becoming the ultimate punch line.”

Ramsay’s UK empire has also been affected by the current credit crunch, with the Michelin-starred La Noisette restaurant closing and his contract with London’s Connaught Hotel ending last year.

Last week it was revealed his company, Gordon Ramsay Holdings, had breached its banking covenants made to secure a loan.