The Bread Street Kitchen is a big restaurant near the Mansion House, brought to you by Gordon Ramsay’s big rage; he is the man who, at one point or another, has owned 13 Michelin stars, millions of TV viewers and a turkey called Nigella, which he may or may not have murdered and made into a turkey burger. In fact, he had a shed of celebrity turkeys: there was also a Gary (Rhodes), a Jamie (Oliver), a Delia (Smith) and, most unkindly, an Ainsley (Harriott). At this point someone should really have called Chefs’ Anonymous.
The Bread Street Kitchen opened nine months ago, which gives us time to see if Gordon Ramsay Holdings, an empire of breadsticks and butter pats, is failing after a series of scandals and crises. These include fights with his father-in-law/former managing director, food prepared off-site and, apparently, feeding ham to a vegetarian. (That one sounds made up.) Through a theatrical curtain and up a golden spiral staircase and it is ghetto chic — double-height ceilings, miniature mental-hospital tiles, exposed ceilings and lots of brass pipes, carrying Gordon’s emotions around, putting us all in a big screaming Gordon hug. He was always the neediest and most interesting of the TV chefs. Marco Pierre White, his former mentor, is more remote and filthy, spending his days leering at women in stock-cube adverts, while Ramsay’s facial crevasses get deeper and his restaurants larger — this one cost £5 million and seats 230. It is polished but sexless; it feels a bit like being inside an enormous food processor, which it is. It is full of people shouting, none of whom are Ramsay. He doesn’t cook much any more; he prefers to swear at people on TV, viewers being more delighted by swearing than pastry chefs, father-in-laws, or critics.