Gordon Ramsay prepares leafy greens
Gordon Ramsay has pioneered the Las Vegas culinary scene with other spearheaders in the dining scene for over a decade. With the opening of his most recent dining establishment, Ramsay’s Kitchen located in Harrah’s Las Vegas, it is evident that Ramsay and Las Vegas go together nicely. As Ramsay and his teams continue to wow guests, I sat down with the passionate chef to learn more about the Vegas dining climate through his eyes, his inspiration and how he achieves success time and time again.
Q: What makes Las Vegas a culinary destination that you continue to open restaurants here?
A: Everyone will say that chefs shouldn’t have six restaurants in Vegas but it's not my first rodeo and I got here early. I was gifted with the Danielles and the Jean-Georges of this world. I learned a lot…so watching the Guy Savoys…and the Robuchons of this world implode on Vegas give it that stamp of, “You better get your sh*t together cause if you don’t, you’re history.”
So there was a lot of pressure, you know the first, second, third, fourth, fifth and sixth restaurant, so this is an important one. The double-edged sword of Vegas, you need to be on it. There’s no slow burner, there’s no slow build up, there’s no quiet period. It needs to be right.
The dining area of Ramsay's Kitchen inside of Harrah's Las Vegas
Trying to explain the concepts when you've got 10 years of history in London and then bringing those over and then betting into the community, the powerhouse community that Vegas is; it’s got to be right. We can’t shoot too high but we can't shoot too low. It's baby steps but confident steps.
Q: What inspires you most regarding new dishes or concepts?
A: Outback journeys from the depth of the jungle of Guyana to the most amazing rugged coastline of Hawaii, the most impressive tuna tartare…Everyone thinks, “You’ve got the best job in the world.” And I’d like to confirm that I have the best job in the world but I work hard to keep the best job in the world. So as a reflection of these dishes to begin with.
Scallops at Ramsay's Kitchen
Q: How do you feel that opening this restaurant itself has affected you or changed you personally.
A: Another good question, affected me in a way that it's a humbling approach because everything I’ve garnered over the last 10 to 15 years. Cause I’m a nightmare if I see something repelling down a waterfall in New Zealand I will be on the phone to Christina saying, “Oh my God just found this scarlet rose dust.”
We rose away from the scarlets because they’ve not cooked them properly. These things [in New Zealand] have been dried out, they’ve been blended, they’ve been mixed with seasoning salt so I’m sending a video to Christina.
Someone on social media will send me a picture. I’ll never copy but I’ll send it straight to Christina and say, “Hey look, check this out. That is way better than what we’ve got, get inspired by that.” I think we are always constantly reevaluating what's in the wheelhouse.
Wine collection and dining area at Ramsay's Kitchen
That’s the significant change for me, we’re not getting carried away…this is substantially an important investment that’s been very well-thought out before we got here, before we opened. The amount of practice and stress-testing that goes on before those doors open is off the charts.
Q: What ways do you support your culinary teams to produce quality consistently to guests?
A: I want to bring the best out of the brigade…I’m giving you your foundation. This is going to be your canvas and I want to see what you’ve got. Use my DNA and crossover with something that you can put on this menu.
Q: You have established a very specific brand and image for yourself and a consistency throughout all of your restaurants. What areas do you expect to grow with this specific spot?
A: Yea, that’s a really good question. Affordable glam. It’s one of our [most affordable] offerings in Vegas. Prices are skyrocketing on a daily basis. Product is in demand.
Gordon Ramsay at Ramsay's Kitchen
We have to be more creative…I look at the opposite end of the structure of Hell’s Kitchen. It’s now one of the highest grossing restaurants in the country and that’s not from a TV show. Trust me if the food wasn’t good they would be back.
Photography by: By Denise Truscello -portraits; Courtesy of Caesars Entertainment -interiors; By Manny Rodriguez -food