British chefs have dominated the world of celebrity cooking over the past few years. Popular programmes such as Hell’s Kitchen or The Great British Bake Off have helped to put British cooking on the map, along with the bizarre but intriguing kitchen experiments of Heston Blumenthal, and Jamie Oliver’s campaign to bring healthy eating to the world’s school dinners. But how are these British cooking mavericks faring back in the kitchen? Here we’ll take a look at some of the best restaurants managed by British celebrity chefs.
Hell’s Kitchen by Gordon Ramsay
First up has got to be Britain’s biggest culinary export of the past ten years: Gordon Ramsay. Gordon’s success on British television netted him a deal with American network Fox back in 2005, and the first US series of Hell’s Kitchen was shown. Since then, the chef’s popularity in America has continued to rise and the American Hell’s Kitchen is currently in its 17th season.
Ramsay is an experienced restauranteur, opening his first place back in 1998 in the exclusive London borough of Chelsea. This initial enterprise has netted him three Michelin stars and continues as a premier eatery today. However, this year he opened the very first Hell’s Kitchen restaurant at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas. It was an instant success, with 12 000 reservations made in just ten days (yes, you read that number right!).
The layout of the restaurant mirrors that of the kitchen in Ramsay’s infamous television programmme. There are appropriately clad chefs working in the blue and red designated kitchen areas, and customers can watch their food being prepared from the comfort of their own table. This dynamic set-up allows customers to feel as though they’re in the studio of the show itself and adds a unique sense of drama to the dining experience. There is a bookable private dining room where the lucky few can experience the full luxury of the menu away from the crowds, but this place’s biggest attraction is the hustle and bustle of the main floor itself.
Classic dishes from the show appear on the carefully selected menu, including lobster risotto, pan-fried scallops, beef wellington and crispy skin salmon. It’s been touted as one of the top 10 American restaurants already and looks to be enjoying a rising star for many a month to come. There’s also always the possibility that dinner at Gordon’s might mean a celebrity sighting!
James Martin Manchester
Back in the UK, James Martin’s self-titled Manchester restaurant opened back in 2013 at the Manchester 235 Casino. Serving a menu boasting the very best of British cuisine, the opulent dining hall was a hit with both customers and critics from the off. Within just two years of opening, it was named one of the Sunday Times’ Top 100 Restaurants in Britain and continues to go from strength to strength. So, what makes it so special?
Booking a table at a restaurant inside a casino may not be your first thought for an evening meal. However, the James Martin Manchester proves that just because the restaurant is attached to a larger organization doesn’t mean that it sacrifices quality or atmosphere. In fact, the buzzing ambience of the casino adds an air of excitement and exclusivity to the restaurant. This Las Vegas-style casino offers customers the ultimate live gaming experience with a variety of different tables and a dedicated poker lounge. You can even carry on gaming from your dinner table using the free in-house wi-fi to visit PokerStarsCasino or post a photo of your evening to Instagram.
The menu at Martin’s restaurant consists of seasonal A La Carte selections alongside a classic slap-up Sunday Lunch. Other must-try offers including a delectable five course taster menu and a luxury steak sharer meal for two. Menus are assembled by chef James Martin himself, injecting his years of expertise in the kitchen into the restaurant’s dining experience.
The building itself tips a nod to its Northern location with exposed brickwork and industrial steel girders adorning the ceiling, whilst vintage-style furnishings set a classy yet comfortable tone. There’s even the option to book the private chef’s table, for you and up to 9 other guests, where you can sample dishes from a bespoke menu. On occasion, the chef himself will visit for An Evening with James Martin, where guests can question the chef as he cooks up some of his favourite dishes live.
The Perfectionists’ Café
Heston Blumenthal is known for his crazy and sometimes downright inedible sounding experiments with food. One of his latest endeavors was opening his own version of a ‘fast food’ restaurant inside Heathrow Airport’s new Terminal 2. The Perfectionists’ Café serves a selection of classic, well-loved dishes like pizza, burgers and fish and chips, but cooks them in record time.
Obviously, being a Heston project, the Café employs some wacky methods to cook and serve the relatively simple sounding food on the menu. For example, beer batter aerated through a siphon and served with an atomizer for that authentic smell of the ‘chippie’; Neapolitan style pizzas cooked in seconds in a wood-fired oven; and ice-cream frozen using liquid nitrogen topped with popping candy or dulce pearls.
Although this eatery is much smaller than the two others mentioned here, it is a perfect example of the eccentricity and imagination that has made British chefs and their cooking so desirable across the globe.