Of all of the incredible culinary creations that Gordon Ramsay has dished out over his career, there’s one simple treat the celebrity chef is really looking forward to digging into later this year.
A piece of birthday cake. For two reasons.
“Caesars Palace celebrates 50 years this year … and there’s some other cranky chef celebrating 50 years as well,” said Ramsay, while celebrating another birthday recently: The three-year anniversary of Gordon Ramsay Pub & Grill at Caesars. “I can’t ask for a better collaboration than to hold my birthday party here and join in the festive spirits, so, yeah, we’ve got some really exciting things in the pipeline and it’s gonna be incredible. What a way to celebrate 50 years.”
Ramsay, best known for his competitive programs such as Hell’s Kitchen and his award-winning restaurants around the globe, glowed when asked about his Las Vegas establishments, which also include BurGR at Planet Hollywood and Gordon Ramsay Steak at Paris Las Vegas.
“If you told me 10 years ago that Gordon Ramsay was going to be selling 1.5 million burgers at BurGR on the Strip, I would have never believed you,” he said. “1.5 million burgers. In 3 years. That’s 500,000 a year. Do you have an idea what 500,000 burgers looks like? You could line the Strip from the end right up to the border with 1.5 million burgers, That’s scary but it’s exciting at the same time because I know they’ve all been hand cooked, all been hand blended and I know they've been hand seasoned. It’s not a process … it’s a labor of love. That for me is quite unique.”
Ramsay is particularly gratified to have success in Las Vegas, which he ranks among the world’s top food destinations.
“The vibrancy here is incredible. It’s a tough place to make it,” he said. “The standard of food is right up there now. You can compare it to New York, London, Paris. Vegas is there, which is so great to see. To have my own steakhouse and burger joint in Las Vegas, it’s a dream come true for any chef. Also it’s an arena for every top chef in the world, whether it’s Nobu, Guy Savoy, Bobby Flay; they’re all here. That makes us better. The standards are unique. The staffs are incredible. And the culture now is fantastic.”
Ramsay visits Las Vegas up to 12 times a year – “We have a house in LA, so it’s an easy haul” – and with each trip, it feels a little more like home.
“Most importantly, I’m very grateful for being made to feel at home here. Last night I checked into The Cromwell. I love that place. … Intimate, 180 rooms. Nice little oasis. The hotel is beautiful. This summer we were at a ranch 40 minutes from here, herding up cattle on horseback and that was incredible. We were lucky enough to start working with the Cirque du Soleil team and looking at all the athletes and what they are eating and what they should be doing in terms of food, and we had some fun with them, too. So, I like to get myself into the culture. I go downtown. There are some nice little restaurants there. I’ve seen some chefs move out of the city and into the local community, I love to see that.”
Ramsay has become a mainstay in the strong fraternity of celebrity chefs whose names and cuisine can be found throughout Las Vegas. But what happens when they all gather for Vegas Uncork’d, the annual foodie showcase?
“Uncork’d … there’s nothing like it anywhere in the world. I do a lot of festivals and I travel the world endlessly, and there’s never a weekend anywhere in the world that houses so many chefs and so many foodies in one place, whether they be bloggers, loyal clientele, celebrating birthdays... There are very rare opportunities you get to meet such incredible chefs,” he said.
“I always laugh because that photo shoot is hilarious when we stand on the red carpet. Everyone’s really nice and polite and shaking hands but underneath their breath they’re all mumbling, ‘Who’s standing in the center” of that photo shoot and every year and it’s always me, and I know they hate me,” Ramsay joked. “But I know the secret now. Turn up last. Don't get there first, because then they put you on the side. So I wait until they’re all there. However, I love standing amongst all that talent.”
Gordon Ramsay Pub & Grill gives guests an authentic English pub experience like no other. The pub includes 36 beers served on tap in addition to another 63 bottled beers. But when it’s time to order, what’s the one must-have?
Even the restaurant’s namesake has a tough time deciding.
“It’s hard … I think the dishes you select have to depend on the mood you’re in. What’s your favorite dish? I have 3,000 favorite dishes. It depends where you are, who you are with, what the setting is, and what’s it all about. I had fish and chips for lunch, and we have sold 160,000 portions of chips here. … I don’t know. The sliders are great for sure. I’d go for one of those beer soups, and then for the main course, either a shepherd’s pie or the fish and chips, and for dessert, it would have to be the sticky toffee pudding, or the spotted dog.”
What does Ramsay have cooking for Las Vegas in the future? Quite a bit, in fact.
“ We’ve got an amazing fish-n-chips venture that’s opening next year at LINQ. That’s in process as we speak,” he said. “We’ve been putting together an amazing restaurant, Bread Street Kitchen, and we’ve opened up in Singapore, Hong Kong, Dubai and London over the last four years. My dream is to bring Bread Street Kitchen here. It’s almost like a Shake Shack model meets a high-end unique fun family-oriented restaurant. That’s going to be packed with magic.”
“I would like to do a Gordon Ramsay cooking academy here. We're in talks for that as well. There’s so much food here now that Vegas is big enough to stand alone. It can compete with NY. It can compete with London. It’s vibrant. There’s something for everybody.”