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Caterer and Hotelkeeper 100: Gordon Ramsay, Gordon Ramsay Holdings

01 July 2011
Caterer and Hotelkeeper 100: Gordon Ramsay, Gordon Ramsay Holdings

Overall ranking: 20 (ranked 5 in 2010)

Chef ranking: 5 (ranked 3 in 2010)

Gordon Ramsay - Snapshot

Gordon Ramsay is the chef-restaurateur whose award-winning restaurants, cookbooks and TV series have made him a household name across the world. Since 1998, Gordon Ramsay Holdings (GRH) has built up a portfolio of 27 restaurants and pubs in the UK and abroad that it either owns or runs, which have 10 Michelin stars between them. His first restaurant, in Royal Hospital Road, Chelsea, south-west London, is one of just four in the UK to be awarded three Michelin stars, which it has held for a decade.

Gordon Ramsay - Career guide

Born in Scotland in 1966, Gordon Ramsay first came to prominence in late 1993 as head chef of Aubergine in London, which he co-owned with A-Z Restaurants. In 1998 he opened Gordon Ramsay at Royal Hospital Road in Chelsea, followed in 1999 by Pétrus in St James's Street where he installed Marcus Wareing as chef-patron, and Gordon Ramsay at Claridges, headed up by Mark Sargeant.

The years that followed saw Ramsay consolidate his grip on London's fine-dining scene, launching Angela Hartnett at The Connaught, The Savoy Grill, Banquette, the Boxwood Café, La Fleur, Pengelley's at the Jumeirah Carlton Tower, Maze and La Noisette.

International expansion followed, with two restaurants at the Conrad Tokyo hotel, and sites in New York, Florida and Los Angeles. Openings came thick and fast: Ireland, the Czech Republic, Australia, South Africa, Qatar and France soon all played host to a GRH site.

With many of his former protégés now branched out on their own, Gordon Ramsay Holdings has had to close, sell or relaunch many of its sites. Pétrus and The Savoy Grill

Despite a change of management - Ramsay sacked his chief executive and father-in-law Chris Hutcheson in late 2010 - the group is planning two launches this year: Bread Street Kitchen, a large all-day restaurant at One New Change in the City of London, and Union Street Café, an informal concept in Southwark.

Ramsay was appointed OBE in the 2006 honours list for services to the hospitality industry. In July 2006 Ramsay won the Catey for independent restaurateur, becoming only the third person to have won three Cateys.

Gordon Ramsay - What we think

Despite resembling a soap opera for much of the last three years - with high-profile falling-outs, sackings and departures - Gordon Ramsay Holdings is still an impressive international culinary force.

While Ramsay's achievements in picking up an astonishing 16 Michelin stars - and retaining three stars for so long at Royal Hospital Road - are lauded by the industry, his combative style, both on and off screen, has left a bitter-sweet taste in the mouths of some.

The last three years have been marked by a struggle to cope with the recession and the group's rapid overexpansion in the period before it. Things looked perilous for a while in 2008, but GRH managed to dodge bankruptcy and restructure many of the group's debts, switching to consultants rather than operators at many of its overseas properties. Its return to profit this year, for the first time since 2008 is commendable, especially in light of the personal dramas going on behind the scenes.

The high-profile sacking of his father-in-law and chief executive Chris Hutcheson has also done little for the group's image, with public letters and attempted super-injunctions only serving to highlight the mix of professional and personal conflict going on behind closed doors.

GRH has also suffered from the departure of key chefs such as Marcus Wareing, Jason Atherton, Angela Hartnett and Mark Sargeant in recent years, but it is testimony to Ramsay's ability to spot and nurture talent that the company benefited from their skills in the first place, and the likes of Mark Askew, Josh Emett and newly appointed managing director Stuart Gillies continue to work hard behind the scenes to maintain standards and drive the group forward.

What Gordon Ramsay Holdings' portfolio will look like in years to come is hard to say, and it is tempting to believe that its glory days are behind it. The plans surrounding Bread Street Kitchen and Union Street Café suggest that it is happy moving into more lucrative informal restaurants, rather than the style of award-laden fine-dining Ramsay made his name with - but only time will tell.

Gordon Ramsay's ranking in the 2010 Caterersearch.com 100 >>

Gordon Ramsay Holdings returns to profit >>

Stuart Gillies made managing director of Gordon Ramsay >>

Menuwatch: Savoy Grill >>

Gordon Ramsay to launch informal Borough Market eaterie >>

Chris Hutcheson resigns from Gordon Ramsay Holdings >>

Will Gordon Ramsay quit the UK >>

Gordon Ramsay website >>

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