Is Gordon Ramsay Ruining His Brand?

photo by Yersinia

Hard to say if Gordon Ramsay is helping or hurting his name and reputation in the U.S. From the formulaic mess that was the U.S. version of Kitchen Nightmares to now apparently opening a restaurant that’s getting mixed reviews. I still want to go; maybe it’s new and there are birth pains.

LAist has a pretty devastating but amusing piece on it today. Here’s part.

Step 4: Figure out the menu

In a take on the tapas-sushi-small plates craze, the menu is not divided into courses, but price ranges with little rhyme nor reason. Although the server states that the lighter courses are near the beginning, they are not. Hog’s head and rack of lamb are not light dishes. Chilled pea soup and Caprese are not heavier dishes.

Don’t fault the server for not always knowing what is on your plate – they are not given tastings or even fed cheaper variations on your meal for their group meal. Some of them have never eaten anything in the restaurant before. In addition, the menu is often not descriptive enough, offering simply foie gras when what arrives is actually pate de foie gras.

The small plates, a variation of the bar menu at the London New York, have their problems. One problem is that small plates get cold very, very quickly. It is about surface area and heat dissipation, if I remember high school physics. Cold mashed potatoes are BAD.

Step 5: Take a chance
Duck tongues, really? Really? It is like something out of Monty Python, “I’ll have the lark’s tongues and kitten ears, please, with a side of peacock vomit.” Maybe the weird decor is supposed to hint at Rome during the middle-ages The upside to the menu is that it gives people a chance to stretch their culinary boundaries a little and try something new. The downside is the precious little geometric shapes are sometimes laughable. Make sure to dine with someone who has a sense of humor, as this is going to be kind of funny.

LAist: Gordon Ramsay at the London: A How-to Guide

Things are a lot less mixed over on Yelp!, though; Ramsay is getting four stars overall. Here’s what Lillian from Glendale says…

Gordon Ramsay yells a big game, but can he put out some great food? The answer is yes. Great food experience, with some hiccups.

First course: Chilled English pea soup with organic smoked salmon, creme fraiche, and caviar. The vibrant green soup was refreshing and clean. I noticed a hint of fennel or anise in it. Set in the middle was a neat pile of the wonderfully coral salmon with small dollops of creme fraiche and caviar. A great way to get my pallate going.

Second course: Wild asparagus risotto with chive flowers. This was to die for! Creamy and rich. The rice still had a bite to it, not mushy. The wild asparagus were thin and delicate (nothing like your run-of-the-mill asparagus). The most delightful thing on the dish were the chive flowers. They had great onion flavor – delicate not overpowering. Plus they lent a great lavender color to the plate.

Third course: Monkfish in crispy chicken skin and lemon thyme consomme. Beautiful medallions of monkfish wrapped in paper-thin chicken skin. The flavor of this was wonderful, but a little disappointing. I love love love fried chicken skin, and I wanted the flavor of that to ring out with the monkfish. It didn’t quite happen.Fourth course: Braised pigs head. No, they don’t bring you Porky’s head on a platter. Rather, it’s a candybar of carnitas on steroids. Very rich. At some points, I thought it was too rich, but the accompanying horseradish mashed potatoes pleasantly cut through the richness. It was amazing.

Fifth course: Cheese plate. 2 goats’ cheeses (can’t remember the names) and 1 bleu (fourme d’ambert). This was very tasty. Accompanied by quince paste (loved it), fruit chutney (dried apricot overpowered this), toast, sugared walnuts, and honey.

Sixth course: Dessert – 1.) Pineapple souffle with Thai curry ice cream… light, airy, delicious. There was something spicy in it that hit the back of your throat. I’m assuming it’s in the curry ice cream. Not sure, because they put the ice cream in the middle of your souffle at the table. 2.) Milk chocolate sticky toffee pudding… gooey, and wonderful. As you dig your spoon into the little cake, there is an eruption of molten sticky toffee sauce that emerges from inside. It comes with a scoop of banana ice cream. Heaven.

Gordon Ramsay – West Hollywood – West Hollywood, CA

Where I’ve Been

After a period of months of fairly robust blogging, I’ve sputtered out in the past few weeks. I’m in another period of transition, changing around my blogs, my schedule and trying to get my work organized. Here’s something of an update…

First let me spell out my goal; the big picture. I’m trying to get to the point where I am financially independent through my creative work. I’d like to be able to move my family anyplace we want to live and have enough financial abundance to keep everyone I love happy and healthy.

So, here’s what I’ve been up to.

1) Thinking
The main thing that’s really slowed me down is trying to think through exactly what I need to do and trying to come up with a plan so I can do it.

2) Expanding
I’m trying to push my content far and wide, which means not just here on the Stranahan site. So for instance, I’ve been publishing my stuff on The Huffington Post, 236, DailyKos and Talking Points Memo. Lots of good reasons to spread your work as wide as possible especially when you’re trying to build your name recognition.

3) Organizing
One thing that I’ll go into more detail about later is my organization system that helps me keep track of what I need to do and makes it easy for me to do it, so it actually gets done.

4) Twittering
One thing I’ve done is expanded my reach through things like Twitter, the ‘micro-blogging’ platform. Things I post on Twitter get more immediate views than things I blog, actually. Twittering has slowed my blogging way down and it seems like I’m not the only who’s experienced this.

Ramsay On Sebastian’s

I ran into Gordon Ramsay at the NBC commissary just now – he’s appearing on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno tonight. It’s my second live Ramsay sighting. I said hi, thanked him for signing the cookbooks last time he was on Leno and got a hello and a firm handshake. Damn, he’s huge.

I didn’t want to take his time but I asked him if he’d been by Sebastian’s, the subject of one of the most infamous episodes of the US version of Kitchen Nightmares. I said “It’s closed” at exactly the same time he did and then he added “Thank god! That guy was a knob!” I can only ask you to imagine Ramsay’s accent saying ‘knob’; it almost had three syllables. Ramsay gave me a smile and a wink and that’s the update!