Celebrity chef cult will survive financial problems

05 June 2009 by
Celebrity chef cult will survive financial problems

The cult of the celebrity chef isn't dead, despite the high-profile difficulties of Gordon Ramsay and John Burton Race, industry figures have insisted.

Last weekend, Ramsay publicly admitted for the first time that his restaurant business came close to collapse earlier this year.

The chef revealed that auditors at KPMG, who were called in by the Royal Bank of Scotland, had recommended putting Gordon Ramsay Holdings into administration after discovering that the business was losing millions of pounds on its overseas expansion plans. A separate investigation by HM Revenue & Customs found the company owed £7.2m in taxes.

Separately it emerged that John Burton Race declared himself bankrupt in March. He and ex-wife Kim ran the Michelin-starred New Angel in Dartmouth, Devon, but Kim shut the failing business in 2007 while Burton Race was in Australia filming the reality show I'm a Celebrity… Get me Out of Here.

Burton Race was consequently forced to sell the restaurant, which was bought by Lastminute.com millionaire Clive Jacobs, who now employs him as head chef.

However, the difficult climate will not mark the end of the celebrity chef era, according to Giles Coren, food critic for The Times newspaper. "I don't think there is any reason why this recession should spell the end of celebrity chefs," he said. "It will just spell the end of chefs who are not properly financed."

Richard Harden, co-editor of the Harden's restaurant guides, suggested that there were too many vested interests in keeping the celebrity bandwagon rolling. "The celebrity chefs will go away when the modern obsession with celebrity does," he said. "And who's to know if it ever will."

Ramsay admits restaurants came close to collapse >>

John Burton Race declared bankrupt >>

Gordon Ramsay - three-michelin-starred chef of Hell's Kitchen fame >>

Your chance to dine at the Waterside Inn >>

By Kerstin Kühn

E-mail your comments to Kerstin Kühn here.

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