Gordon Ramsay has abandoned this year's annual chef's scholarship which bears his name due to a lack of funding.
A spokeswoman for Ramsay said that the Gordon Ramsay Scholar, which was launched in 2001, "is being rested this year" due to a lack of sponsorship.
But she added that "exciting new plans" involving the scholarship and Tante Marie, the cookery school bought by Gordon Ramsay Holdings (GRH) in Woking, Surrey, in 2008, would be announced soon.
Dropping the Gordon Ramsay Scholar is the latest blow for the celebrity chef, who this year has seen profits in his company plummet by 90%, falling from £3.05m to £383,325, with turnover down 14% from £41.59m to £35.57m. With its net debt more than doubling from £4.01m to £9.48m, GRH has given up control of many of its overseas restaurants, including those in Paris, Los Angeles and Prague, to the hotels they are housed in.
In an attempt to shore up the company, a quarter of the staff at the London head office have been let go and Ramsay and his father-in-law, GRH chief executive Chris Hutcheson, have sunk £5m of their own money into the company.
Many of the seven previous Gordon Ramsay scholars have gone on to establish themselves in successful head chef roles, including Tristan Welch, now at Launceston Place, London, and Marcus Eaves, now at L'Autre Pied, London.
Last year's scholar was Stephen Hope, junior sous chef at the Great Room restaurant at the Merchant hotel in Belfast. His prize haul included a new car, £5,000 in cash, a set of Wusthof knives, a £10,000 oven for the Great Room restaurant kitchens, a signature Bragard jacket and a commemorative trophy.
He also won the opportunity to complete a three-city stage, training with chefs in Gordon Ramsay's signature restaurants in London, Paris and New York.
Gordon Ramsay founds scholarship >>
By Janet Harmer
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