Gordon Ramsay Restaurants Using Pre-Prepared Meals
March 26, 2010
By: Stephen Bates
It is not hard to guess what Gordon Ramsay said yesterday when he fell victim to a sting by the Sun newspaper, which caught his London gastro-pubs out using pre-prepared meals including boil-in-a-bag coq au vin at mark-ups of 500%. Whatever he said, it probably had an F in it.
The television chef found himself having to defend the practice by which meals are prepared at a kitchen operated by one of his companies in south London and transported in refrigerated vans to his Foxtrot Oscar restaurant and three pubs he runs in Limehouse, Maida Vale and Chiswick.
A spokeswoman said: “Gordon Ramsay Holdings operate a kitchen facility in Wandsworth called GR Logistics. Here Gordon Ramsay chefs prepare components of dishes devised and produced to the highest Gordon Ramsay standards.”
She went on: “This is only for the supply of Foxtrot Oscar and the three pubs and allows each establishment to control the consistency and the quality of the food served. GR Logistics also supply a number of other restaurants outside the group with prepared components.”
The statement followed remarks by the chef Darran Ridley at the GR Logistics kitchen to the newspaper’s reporter that he prepared most of the food for Foxtrot Oscar.
“Everything from coq au vin, starters, terrines, snacks, salmon rillettes, various desserts, braised beef in red wine, beef pie mixes. Anything that takes a long time to cook, any braised items or items in sauces – we do all of that.
“We do coq au vin at £2.60 a portion, leg or thigh, in a bag with sauce. All you have to do is pop it into a pan of boiling water and reheat it.”
The newspaper calculated that the mark-ups in price for diners were nearly 600% in some cases, with fish cakes that cost £1.92 to produce selling for £11.25, while sausage rolls costing 75p were going for £3.50.
The newspaper’s reporter was told by an assistant manager at Foxtrot Oscar that the food is: “freshly made, definitely. Gordon wants this – he’s very fixed about this.”
The company said that the food was sealed after preparation, and then taken to Gordon Ramsay’s various establishments – the Narrow in east London, the Warrington in Maida Vale and the Devonshire in Chiswick – in refrigerated vans before being cooked on the premises.
It added that GR Logistics also supplies other, non-Ramsay establishments.
GR Logistics is the catering production arm of Ramsay’s business GR Holdings. He purchased the kitchen in south London from Albert Roux.
If the practice, which is not exactly new or unknown for restaurants, prompts Ramsay to adopt a more wholesome new catchphrase than his customary expletive – Blue Peter’s “Here’s one I made earlier” comes to mind – he may yet have cause to regret singing the praises of fresh food on one of his Channel 4 programmes two years ago.
He said then: “Using fresh ingredients is the only way to guarantee a great taste and I can’t understand how on earth people can ignore fresh food … that’s where all the flavour is, all the goodness and it’s a crime not to use it.”