Ramsay to spread wings in Melbourne then Sydney

Posted by Daniel Palmer on 27th June 2008

Competition in the Australian restaurant industry is about to get fiercer as Gordon Ramsay has announced his intentions to operate restaurants in Melbourne and Sydney.

The British celebrity chef, who has a cult following in Australia thanks to the remarkable success of ‘Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares’, has ended the speculation about which market he would enter first, by advising that he anticipates opening his first Australian restaurant in Melbourne within 18 months.

”I don’t think you open in Sydney before opening in Melbourne,” he said, according to The Daily Telegraph. ”Melbourne is like New York. It has that culture of foodies that are finicky, hard-ass and very possessive about their city. Sydney’s a lot more relaxed. A lot more cosmopolitan and flashier.”

Ramsay also intends on hiring an Australian chef as he believes that there is great talent in Australia and it would be a mistake to bring in a chef from overseas. ”It’s about the chef,” Ramsay said. ”That’s the fundamental key ingredient. I’d be stupid not to employ a local Aussie.”

The location of the restaurant has not yet been decided but previous rumours that he would join the list of quality restaurants at Crown appear to have been dismissed. He has claimed that he does not want to have a restaurant in a hotel in Melbourne, which would rule out a move to Crown. As for the possible options: the ever expanding Docklands complex could appeal, as could Melbourne’s famous laneways, or he might open in Southbank with the Riverside Quay development potentially alluring.

The restaurant scene in Melbourne has become increasingly crowded in recent years as a number of high-profile restaurateurs set-up operations in Australia’s second largest city. This year alone has seen the openings of such notable offerings as ‘Giuseppe, Arnaldo & Sons’, ‘Bistro Guillame’ and ‘Nobu’.

The success of Ramsay in Australia has been so phenomenal that Channel Seven has bought the rights to two decade-old series done by him in the hope it may reap similar success to Channel Nine’s ‘Hell’s Kitchen’ and ‘Kitchen Nightmares’.