If you thought that celebrity chefs are immune to the effects of the economic crunch, think again. Celebrity chef Anthony Worrall Thompson has closed his Oxfordshire restaurant, The Greyhound, due to the economic climate. It seems that not many people are going out to eat – at least in his restaurant – anymore. All of his staff have been let go due to the combination of too many empty tables and increasingly high rent.
The Greyhound was taken over by the celebrity chef 5 years ago and was able to succeed in his efforts to make it a popular dining place. In the past two months, however, there haven’t been enough customers to make the restaurant worthwhile to keep running.
Naturally, Thompson does not feel good about the closure. He said:
We had a hardcore of locals who came to the pub maybe once a fortnight, but they started coming only once every three months. There has just been a sudden realisation from the public that we are in the grip of a recession. To be seen spending money at the moment is seen as obscene.
It is a lovely country pub which we have put our heart and soul into and ran like a big family. To let some people go was a horrible thing and my wife was in tears. I feel sorry for the young chefs who were coming on really well in the kitchen – they will now just have to look for something else.
This kind of news may come as a shock to some but it also probably serves as a warning that it might happen to others as well. Let’s hope not.
Now that sounds rather fun, doesn’t it? Food fight? Heck, count me in! So what is this all about? TV channel 4 in the UK has gotten together 4 of the most popular celebrity chefs in the country. Jamie Oliver, Gordon Ramsay, Heston Blumenthal and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall – these are the 4 heavyweights that will battle it out over the 2 weeks that the show will be aired.
So what will the platform be? Would we be seeing something similar to Iron Chef? As much as I love that show, I find the idea of this food fight quite interesting as well. The platform is such that each of the celebrity chefs would have his own program and his own challenge. Let’s meet the challengers.
Heston “The Geek” Blumenthal
His challenge? To turn Little Chef restaurants into something of a success. Currently, these restaurants do not have the best reputation. The Geek has £350,000 and 6 months to do his job.
Gordon “Raging Bull” Ramsay
His challenge is to “force” the locals to eat out at restaurants. It could be a tough one since people are cutting back on extra expenses.
Jamie “The Kid” Oliver
The pretty boy chef is going on a campaign to rescue British pork. He needs to encourage the people to buy locally grown pork products as opposed to cheaper imported ones.
Hugh “The Squire” Fearnley-Whittingstall
If Jamie is to take on the case of pork, The Squire is going to take up for chicken.
Now the variety in the challenges is sure to present interesting episodes, isn’t it?
It was only recently that we heard about celebrity chef Tom Colicchio being accused of stiffing his employees. Now, it seems that it is another celebrity chef’s turn. This time, it is Bobby Flay who is in the sights of critics and people who want to bring him down.
The lawsuit, filed in Manhattan federal court by current and former employees, names as a defendant Bold Food LLC. The company owns or operates Bar Americain and Mesa Grill NYC in Manhattan. Other restaurants are in Las Vegas and Atlantic City.
The lawsuit claims Flay’s company violated the wage and hour laws by engaging in improper tip-pooling practices. It also says the company failed to pay proper overtime pay and failed to reimburse employees for some expenses.
A spokesman for Flay and the restaurants did not immediately return a telephone message for comment on Friday.
It’s one of a string of similar lawsuits filed on behalf of employees of New York restaurants.
There is no definitive information as to whether or not there is substantial proof that Chef Bobby Flay is indeed guilty of the charges. I don’t know which other restaurants in New York are facing the same charges but it seems that this is an organized thing, targeting high profile restaurateurs. In any case, if there is one result of all this publicity, it is that the chefs being targeted are getting free press coverage. Of course, if they are convicted, it is another story.
Who is your favorite Iron Chef? If it’s Bobby Flay that you’re naming, then you will be happy to know that you can get more of him, this time on the radio. It seems that the demand for this celebrity chef is going nowhere but up. In spite of his numerous TV appearances, web site citations, and magazine features, his fans just seem to need more – and more – of him. Thus his most recent gig – a radio talk show.
Celebrity chef Bobby Flay is launching a talk radio show on which he will offer advice to men on everything from dating, dining, dressing and how to nail a tough job interview.
The star of numerous Food Network programs will host Bobby Flay Radio weekly on SIRIUS XM Radio starting Thursday. Flay is signed on for a five-week run, but says he is open to more if the two-hour show goes well.
While the call-in show will touch on everything from sports to current events, Flay says food still will be the focus.
“Food transcends so much now,” Flay said in a telephone interview. “It’s become so much part of lifestyle. How you eat, plate it, how you dress and how you live all have a lot to do with one another.”
Flay’s wife, actress Stephanie March, will join him on the show occasionally.
Interesting that he will be dishing out more than his daily dose of recipes, huh? Then again, he seems to have done extremely well in his life, he probably has a lot of advice to offer his listeners. What do you think about that, 2 hours of radio with Bobby Flay?