Knives out as Ramsay restaurant opens in France

He was skewered in New York, roasted in Ireland, and now a top French food critic has warned against his ”unexciting” cooking driven by the money-making ambitions of a global brand.

But Gordon Ramsay’s quest for world domination continues next week when he launches a restaurant outside Paris to ”take a fucking stand” for British food.

Ramsay said he had expected to be ”kicked in the nuts” at the troubled and delayed opening of his New York restaurant in 2006. The food at his recent County Wicklow venture was branded ”wretched” by the Irish Times, which baulked at leathery ravioli and a beignet of blue cheese that ”tasted largely of ammonia”.

But France, which Ramsay calls ”the cradle of haute cuisine”, drives an even harder bargain. The Scottish chef has created a brasserie and fine-dining restaurant at the Trianon Palace hotel near the Palace of Versailles, where he will have humorous British twists on concepts such as the English breakfast, but largely deliver his classics. He wants to win three Michelin stars in London, Paris and New York.

France’s fiercest food critic, François Simon at Le Figaro, has already warned French diners not to bother. Though respectful of Ramsay as an excellent chef, he felt the dishes were no more adventurous than those by scores of French chefs. ”The cream of Jerusalem artichoke with cauliflower and lardons could be tasted in any old bistro gourmand,” he said.

”If Gordon Ramsay is coming to Paris, it’s just to see what these ‘fucking Frenchies’ think of his ‘fucking cuisine’,” he wrote. ”Why is Ramsay coming to Paris? Money,” he added, cautioning against the trend for global culinary empires where the masterchef is only in town for 20 nights a year.

He said the greatest interest would come from British and American tourists visiting Versailles. Whether French President Nicolas Sarkozy and his wife, Carla Bruni, will visit remains to be seen; their weekend retreat is a hunting lodge in the grounds of Versailles and the president is keen to stress his new special friendship with Britain.

Last year Ramsay told a British interviewer: ”I’ve had a bellyful of the French coming over here and telling us how shit our food is. We have cheese on toast, they have croque-monsieur. They just have posher names.” – Â

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