Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Gordon Ramsay Rocks the Laurier

Top Billing?
With the cult of celebrity Chefs in full-swing a certain rock-star status has been created with these personalities. This phenomenon was evident with Gordon Ramsay's public appearance at the re-launch of the revamped and renamed, Laurier Gordon Ramsay restaurant. Women swarmed and swooned the Chef for photos and bisous as he entered the building. The scrum of media and adoring fans bordered on chaos when the Chef was left too long in public view. This is the first time that we have been witness to a Chef mauling. Even Quebec Finance Minster Raymond Bachand could not resist the Chef’s charms and seized the opportunity for a photo-op. Minister Bachand represents the Outremont riding where the restaurant is located. Having experienced Ramsaymania first hand we have also fallen under the Chef’s spell. All we can say is that he is even more handsome and charismatic in person.

Ready for my closeup
We are not sure if it was the restaurant (you are in the hospitality business...right?) or PR firm Cosette (safe to say the biggest firm in Canada, entrusted with publicity and media for the evening) that was behind the organization of the event but there were some logistical issues. Perhaps there was some conflict between the two organizing factions. With Daniel Boulud opening a resto at the Ritz this fall (Does Boulud get the same groupies as Ramsay?) our city needs to up its game when handling these visits from culinary royalty because these logistical issues only make our city look bad when the world’s culinary eyes are upon us.
Clean Poutine
The decision to have your main attractions, Gordon Ramsay and principal food station (chicken) in the same back corner of the restaurant is just bad planning considering you also have an entire open space on the second floor. The crush of people wanting a glimpse of Ramsay or food resulted in a sweltering heat factor. The most overheard comment from the crowd was about the heat that it felt like a real Hell’s Kitchen. Just in case it was not hot enough in this crush of bodies the famous rotisserie was pounding out the heat in the same corner. Then again, why should this iconic piece of equipment miss the festivities held in its honour?  These comments have nothing to do with the restaurant, staff, food or even your possible dining experience at Laurier Gordon Ramsay because this was not the point of the soirée.
Sliders: Off the Plate Like Hotcakes
The evening featured miniature versions of the main menu dishes. We think that this is a great concept for a cocktail and showcasing the menu during a restaurant opening. As a preview the dishes seem exciting but you can cool your jets a little because the menu items are dishes you can get anywhere in our city, chicken, burgers, fries and poutine. These standard dishes are going to have to be out of the park in order to live up to the hype surrounding the re-opening of this establishment. Not that Laurier BBQ was ever known for good food but isn’t this the point of having a Gordon Ramsay restaurant? Then again, this is a city that supports St-Hubert chicken so who is to say who cares which comes first, the celebrity Chef or the food? As the evening winded down we braved the heat and grabbed a bite of the chicken, the verdict, lots of dry bites that stick to the roof of your mouth. Then again, this event was really only a dress rehearsal and the real test for the kitchen starts today with the restaurant’s first service.
Final Curtain

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