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Caterersearch.com 100: Gary Rhodes

01 July 2010
Caterersearch.com 100: Gary Rhodes

Overall ranking: 78

Chef ranking: 23

Gary Rhodes - Snapshot

Gary Rhodes is the Michelin-starred chef, restaurateur, TV celebrity and author who spearheaded the 1990s revival of traditional British cuisine. He currently operates six restaurants: the Michelin-starred Rhodes 24 restaurant at London's Tower 42; Rhodes W1 at Thistle's Cumberland hotel in London, which also has a star; Rhodes South in Dorset; Rhodes Mezzanine in Dubai; Rhodes Restaurant at the Calabash hotel on the Caribbean island of Grenada; and Arcadian Rhodes on the P&O cruise liner Arcadia.

Gary Rhodes - Career guide

Gary Rhodes was born in 1960 in London and brought up in Gillingham, Kent. After training at Thanet technical college, he secured his first job as a commis chef at the Amsterdam Hilton hotel. Returning to London, he worked as a sous chef at the Reform Club in Pall Mall and at the Capital hotel in Knightsbridge.

In 1986 he became head chef at the Castle hotel in Taunton, Somerset, where he developed his passion for British food and retained the hotel's Michelin star at the age of 26. In 1990 he returned to London as head chef of the Greenhouse restaurant in Mayfair, which won its first Michelin star in 1996.

1997 saw the first fruits of a seven-year relationship with contract caterer Sodexo (then called Gardner Merchant). Together they launched two fine-dining restaurants and two brasseries called Rhodes & Co.

The partnership with Sodexo was dissolved in 2003. The same year Rhodes linked up with Compass Group's fine-dining arm, Restaurant Associates, to launch Rhodes 24 at Tower 42, London's tallest building, where he won his fifth Michelin star in 2005. It was a trick he was to repeat in 2008 when the Restaurant Associates-owned Rhodes W1 at the Cumberland hotel, which opened a year earlier, also picked up a star.

In 2004 Rhodes opened his first overseas restaurant, at the Calabash hotel in the Caribbean, and the following year brought Arcadian Rhodes, his first ocean-going restaurant. He made his Irish debut in July 2006 with Rhodes D7, before opening in Dubai, with Rhodes Mezzanine, in 2007. However, D7 closed in January 2009.

2008 saw two restaurants launching on the South Coast, King Rhodes and Rhodes South, both in Christchurch, Dorset.

He has fronted shows such as http://www.masterchef.com/ "The BBC MasterChef wesbite"" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer">Masterchef, Hell's Kitchen and his own series, *Rhodes Around Britain*Great British Menu, but lost to Atul Kochhar.

Gary Rhodes - What we think

The public might think of Gary Rhodes as the spiky-haired bloke off the telly who was a bit rubbish on Strictly Come Dancing, but in the industry Rhodes is rightly regarded as the "daddy" of modern British cuisine. He reintroduced the nation to its gastronomic heritage through both his restaurants and his energetic television appearances.

It was during his tenure at the Castle hotel in Taunton that Rhodes discovered his talent for refining traditional British dishes into new modern classics, and the menu at his next venture, the Greenhouse, featured such Rhodes staples as braised oxtail, fishcakes, faggots, and bread and butter pudding. It was here he acquired a Michelin star, and at this time he filmed his first TV series Rhodes Around Britain.

So began a long and successful TV career that has included shows such as Local Food Hero, Rhodes Across India, Rhodes Across China, Rhodes Across the Caribbean and Rhodes Across Italy, slots hosting Masterchef and appearances on Hell's Kitchen, the Great British Menu and Saturday Cooks.

Rhodes was one of the first chefs to link up with a contract caterer - initially Sodexo, then Compass - providing a canny route to expansion without much of the risk or capital outlay.

The Sodexo relationship saw Rhodes take on the role of consultant chef to the new Seven Eight restaurant at London's St James's Club, where Sodexo also handled the catering.

The partnership was dissolved in 2003 when poor trading results prompted Sodexo to concentrate on its core business, but Rhodes quickly bounced back with new alliances. First, he set up Rhokett, a firm supplying pÁ¢tisserie products to caterers and hotels. Later that year he linked up with Compass Group's fine-dining division Restaurant Associates (RA) to launch Rhodes 24 on the 24th floor of London's Tower 42 office building.

The RA partnership also saw the launch of Rhodes W1 at the Cumberland hotel in 2007. Before the launch Rhodes revealed his ambitions for the restaurant to Caterer: "I really want the Michelin inspectors to come here and recognise that it's more refined than anything I've done in the past."

Wanting a star and getting one are two very different things, but Rhodes's cooking at W1 - which was far more French-influenced than anything he had attempted before - did, indeed, impress the inspectors, and the accolade arrived in 2008.

In August 2005 Rhodes become the first chef to be awarded a City & Guilds Fellowship. His awards cabinet also includes a Catey Special Award in 1996 and an OBE in 2006.

Gary Rhodes - Further information

Gary Rhodes - A Minute On The Clock >>

Interview with Gary Rhodes about his new Dorset restaurant >>

Gary Rhodes to open new fine-dining restaurant in Marble Arch >>

Gary Rhodes website >>

Read more about the Caterersearch.com 100, the list of the most influential people, here >>

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