The Week Of September 23, 2008 • 33
R: And now you give back to futurechefs through “The Gordon RamsayScholar Award…”GR:
The Gordon Ramsay Scholar Awardis about fostering the next generation of tal-ent and providing the best and brightest as-piring chefs with opportunities to learn andgrow. It’s something I truly believe in. This year, the winner will be cooking live onstagewith me at the BBC Good Food Show inBirmingham, and get some of the mostamazing prizes and kitchen equipment, andalso the opportunity to do a three-city stageat my restaurants in London, Paris andNew York.
R: Are there any young or up-and-com-ing chefs that you’re excited about?GR:
I’m always looking forward to seeing what the chefs I work with are coming upwith. I encourage them to be creative andcome up with new ideas. Josh Emett, for in-stance, my executive chef at Gordon Ram-say at The London and maze in New York,and who’s also overseeing the menu at thenew West Hollywood restaurant, has beenworking with me for nine years now. Wespeak quite often, but he runs quite a tightship over there and has certainly been re-warded for a job well done — two Michelinstars less than a year after opening. For anychef, New York is the toughest place to suc-ceed, so I’m so impressed at what’s he’s beenable to accomplish there.The same goes with Andy Cook, who’snow heading up the kitchen in West Holly-wood. He was my head chef in Tokyo for years, and I think the West Hollywood res-taurant is off to a great start. Then there’sthe whole brigade over in Europe — An-gela’s just opened Murano, and she’s gear-ing up to open York & Albany soon. Mark Sargeant is doing incredibly at Claridge’s, Jason Atherton at maze, Simone Zanoni atTrianon on Paris, everyone. I’m their biggestsupporter, and it’s rewarding to see them allsucceed.
R: Where are your favorite places toeat in New York?GR:
When I’m in New York I spend a lotof time in the restaurant, but I did just re-cently have a great meal at Adour, AlainDucasse’s new restaurant. He’s one of thepeople I look up to most. I think The Spot-ted Pig is fantastic as well, April Bloom
eldis so talented and the place reminds me a bitof home.
R: Is there a trend in the restaurant/food world that you wish would goaway?GR:
There isn’t one I want to go away, thoughas you can see on
, I do hopethe trend toward using locally sourced andseasonal ingredients continues to hold. Using top quality ingredients is so incredibly impor-tant in running a kitchen, creating a fantasticmenu and keeping your guests happy.
R: How does New York compare withLondon on the culinary scene? How does New York stack up globally?GR:
There’s so much competition in NewYork, and it’s probably the most challeng-ing place to succeed. New Yorkers are quitehonest though; you’ll de
nitely know whenthey like or dislike something, and I certain-ly appreciate their honesty. It’s how we learnfrom our mistakes and learn about what re-ally works. It’s how we learn to adapt. Thenagain, we’ve had a lot of Londoners who’vedined in the restaurant as well, and at theend of the day, everyone just wants a goodmeal, regardless of where they’re from.
R: Some people say you’re mean. Doyou have any words for your critics?GR:
I’m always very
rm but fair, and I’mthe
rst one to admit I’m a perfectionist.It takes a lot of hard work, concentrationand precision to run a kitchen, to work in akitchen, and to run a successful restaurant.There just isn’t time to say “please” and“thank you” when there are a hundred hun-gry people in your dining room. At the endof the day, everything that leaves the passhas my name on it, so I’m always making sure my staff stays on its toes and performsat the top of their ability.
R: You’ve famously spoken out against food critics A.A. Gill and Frank Bruni. What do you think about food criticsin general?GR:
They’re doing their jobs and I do mine.I suppose it’s best that it stays that way. I don’tcook for the critics, I cook for my customers,as they’re the ones who come back again andwhose feedback I listen to the most.
R: What’s next for you?GR:
This September, I’m opening York & Albany with Angela Hartnett on the edge of London’s Regents Park. It will be a restau-rant with bar, delicatessen and will have themost beautiful guestrooms as well — it’s our
rst hotel so it’s completely new for me andquite exciting. I’ve just signed on with FOXfor more
in the U.S. so I’m looking forward to spend-ing time in the New York and West Holly-wood restaurants as much as I can. It’s beengreat being able to show people how a res-taurant and a kitchen need to be run. It’sfast-paced, high-energy, high-stress but God,I do love it.
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