Saturday, November 21, 2009

The Bloody Rhodes Around Britain

If you ever wanted a better example of just how ridiculous the whole celebrity chef phenomenon has become, then look no further than Gary Rhodes.

The cook – whose empire spreads from London to Dublin to Dubai, and probably a bunch of other places I’ve forgotten - has just parted company with one of two hotels bearing his name in the frumpy seaside resort of Christchurch in Dorset.

It’s all quite civil, I’m told. But they always say that don’t they? Anyway, I suppose you’re thinking what’s wrong with that, Len? One less restaurant with his name on the menu gives him a bit more time to spend behind the stoves of all the others?

Well, no, not really. It’s the comments from the owner that reveal how ludicrous this whole sleb chef-branded restaurants thing now is.

Remember the time when chefs were just chefs, and wait for it, actually cooked for a living? Left school with an O-Level in metalwork, and did the jobs they were good at rather than fannying around TV green rooms, gameshow panels and celebrity parties?

Nicholas Roach, owner of the Kings Hotel (whose restaurant no longer bears Rhodes’ name) and the Christchurch Harbour Hotel (which still does), clearly doesn't.

He appears mightily impressed – surprised even - that the TV chef has actually honoured them with his presence for a change. Driven all the way to sleepy Christchurch no less!

Explaining the split, he told the Daily Echo: “Gary’s involvement in the Kings Hotel was always intended to be a one-year only operation. It was a way of introducing him to the town before Rhodes South opened up, and it has been very successful.

“There has been no dispute and Gary has actually been in Christchurch for the past few days working in the kitchen at Rhodes South – which demonstrates his commitment to the business and the area.”

What! Sorry, I’ve got to read that again – he’s ACTUALLY been in Christchurch WORKING in the kitchen!

It’s like saying a star player has demonstrated his commitment to a team by kicking a few balls around, or a comedian turned up to tell a few jokes.

And just in case you were thinking that (as Gordon Ramsay has vowed to do in a bid to patch up his crumbling empire) Rhodes was thinking of trimming back his branded ambitions over worries that he might be spreading himself too thin, then think again.

Roach added: “We are actually focusing on opening up some more Rhodes South restaurants in the South although we are unable to say at this time where they will be.”

And a spokesman for Christchurch Council had further distressing news. “I understand Gary has taken a decision to have just one restaurant per town from now on," he said.

Spare us! If it carries on like this, it really will be Rhodes Around Britain.


Andrew said...

Rhodes was good when he was actually working his craft, at the Castle Hotel in Taunton. When he started appearing in nonsensical TV programs, he got a case of the red mist, and the dark side of his nature prevailed.

He has now taken to referring to himself only in the third person, and insists upon others addressing him by "Chef Rhodes, Officer of the British Empire."

He relaxes by practicing his trademark 'Budgie-nod' in front of the mirror, and drawing his sword for imaginary Chef Rhodes dissenters. Additionally, when he has time away from insulting his expert hosts, (such as can be witnessed on the Rhodes in China, Beijing episode,) he likes to 'cottage' with the cucumbers in the larder wearing just tights, lipstick and, of course, his trusty sword "Rhodus Maximus of Britannia."

Lennie Nash said...

My God, it's worse than I thought. Thank you for that Andrew.

I haven't had the pleasure of the Beijing episode, but shall seek it out.

And I didn't realise he is now referring to himself solely in the third person - and, I imagine, holding his little finger to his lips as he reveals his world domination plans.

Many thanks for your warning,


Anonymous said...

his place in Dublin went tits up ages ago, not that he ever had much to do with it in the first place, except that is for picking up his franchise fee

Douglas Blyde said...

Ha! Ha! -'Cookroach'

A London Fishmonger said...

I still can't forgive him for cheating us out of a place in the Local food hero rubbish a few years back by choosing his own monger, the delightful Walter Purkis, over us. Shambles and have boycotted it ever since!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Sorry. I love Gary.

Anonymous said...

@ anonymous

If you really loved him, you'd know that he isn't called "Gary," he is in fact "Chef Rhodes, Officer of the British Empire"....Hilarious!

Anonymous said...

what a super funny blog you have!
are these really your kitchen expierences, or are they all made up fantasy stories?
i have read a few of your posts, and it's people like you that really give chefs a bad name!

firstly: in you post on kitchen brawls; you deserved a good kicking!
rule number one: never answer the chef back that is on the pass....if it was my kitchen i would of given you a right good beating!
regardless of your own personal views/beliefs, shut your mouth and answer "oui chef"'s called a brigade for a reason!

secondly: your attitude towards 'sleb chefs" that are really doing a lot for the industry, inspiring young people to cook and sharing there knowledge is a wonderful thing, hence they should be well rewarded for it.
it's "chefs" like you that probably expect giorgio armani to hand make your expensive suits, or really believe that enzo ferrari actually makes your F-40 himself!!!
chefs are now brands, and what they sell ( with reagrds to naming rights) is their IP, their recipes, knowledge, dishes, and valuable expertise of being in a kitchen for many years, and usually they send their well trained staff to run these operations.

at least you got the name to your blog can probably only make a F****N sandwich, and can't really cook at all....maybe a better name would be NOT A REAL CHEF'S ASS**LE!!!!

Andrew said...

Well! What does one say in reply to someone with such a deranged state of mind?

Such a pity they preferred not to have the courage of their own convictions and name themselves, as they do rather epitomise the "Esprit de corps" of the professional retirement home kitchen.

Luckily for us, they are apparently somewhat less endowed than the average Chav in intellect, or else we may find them in the proper restaurant kitchen at their terminal rank of 'Plongeur'. The mind boggles.

I am eternally grateful for the local comprehensive school. Else, we would never have been belched upon by such infected lungs as "Anonymous 22:57".

Andrew said...

Where's Lennie? Hope he's ok.