Celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay has stirred the pot again, saying a positive to come out of the pandemic has been the closure of a lot of “crap” restaurants.
Celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay is stirring the pot again, this time, saying that a silver lining of the Covid pandemic has been the forced closure of many bad restaurants in prime locations.
“The crap’s gone,” Ramsay told UK magazine Radio Times in a recent interview.
“Just sh**holes in a prime position and taking advantage because they’re in a great location, and they’ve got the footfall [have closed].
“But now we’ve wiped the slate clean, which is good.”
In the interview, the Hell’s Kitchen host, known for being fiery in the kitchen, admitted the last two years of the pandemic have been “devastating” for the hospitality sector in Britain.
He said the industry “was on its arse, but it’s getting better”.
“It’s been devastating the last two years. Landlords don’t say, ‘Take a holiday for two years.’ But I think what has been evident for all of us is the crap’s gone.”
Last year, the restaurateur himself estimated his eateries in England lost more than $100 million in the first year of the pandemic due to loss of business during lengthy UK lockdowns.
“I get criticised for being wealthy, but the responsibility on my shoulders – the livelihoods at stake – is huge,” Ramsay told The Sun at the time.
“I do feel under pressure to give my younger members of staff, especially, some hope, and the sense that we can get out of this. There have been so many tears, people at their wits’ end.”
At the start of the pandemic, in April 2020, more than 1.5 million hospitality workers in the UK were furloughed. It accounted for a quarter of all furloughed staff across Britain.
And last year in the week leading up to Christmas, as the Omicron variant ripped through the UK, pubs, bars and restaurants each lost on average $18,000 in what should have been the busiest trading week of the year.
In the recent interview with Radio Times, the 55-year-old said throughout the pandemic, restaurants have had to “raise their game” to stay alive.
He said that it has meant a positive outcome of the last two years is that customers are getting better quality from eateries.
“Customers have got so much smarter in the last two years,” he said.
“They know a lot more about food than they ever have done and have been making their own sourdough, so it’s taught everyone [in the restaurant industry] to raise their game.
“It’s wiped the arrogance from the industry.”
Ramsay takes over Jamie Oliver’s ‘failure’
The MasterChef Australia guest judge recently took advantage of a business closing himself, when he took over a location formerly owned by fellow celebrity chef Jamie Oliver in Liverpool, England.
“It’s sad that Jamie didn’t make it here – the site is amazing,” he told the Liverpool Echo.
“It was never my intention to take over Jamie’s Italian. Jamie and I are mates – everyone thinks we’re not, but we are. Two summers ago we sat in the garden with our kids and had an amazing evening talking, drinking, laughing, crying and just having a proper heart-to-heart.
“It had nothing to do with it being his old site. Whether it was Marco Pierre White or Jamie Oliver, it didn’t matter who had the house beforehand. The location was absolutely spot on.
“Where Jamie failed, there’s a big learning curve for all of us. One man’s failure is the next man’s success.”
The site is the new home to Ramsay’s 35th restaurant – the Liverpool Bread Street Kitchen & Bar.
“Everyone thought we were crazy for putting restaurants back on the map so close to coming out of the pandemic, but we need to come back strong,” he said.
“There’s a lot riding on this restaurant and there are a lot of families involved in running it. We need to put the pandemic behind us and move on. What everyone has been through the last few years mentally, it’s devastating.”