Gordon Ramsay conquers Las Vegas
With this month’s opening of the first Hell’s Kitchen restaurant at the heart of the Strip in front of Caesars Palace, there’s no question about it: Gordon Ramsay has conquered Las Vegas.
The 8,000-square-foot, 300-capacity behemoth of a restaurant serves refined cuisine (including Ramsay classics like beef Wellington, pan-seared scallops and sticky toffee pudding) in an energetic atmosphere that makes diners feel like they’ve stepped onto the set of his dominant reality competition show Hell’s Kitchen. With the kitchen staff ostensibly working as red and blue teams, the restaurant is an immersive experience that brings the show to life.
It’s also Ramsay’s fifth restaurant on the Las Vegas Strip, equaling the dining arsenal of any other celebrity chef, many of whom have coveted the prime location Hell’s Kitchen has directly on Las Vegas Boulevard at Flamingo Road. “It’s a dream, to be honest,” Ramsay says. “I think in 2004 when Fox put the call in and I thought, ‘Really, in America you want to see what it’s like running a restaurant live?’ and they said, ‘Yep, we do,’ to put that on the mainstream was slightly dangerous in many ways. People don’t like that kind of exposure in terms of the nitty-gritty insights. If you said to me then in 14 years time I’d be sitting in Las Vegas with my own restaurant built around this competition, I’d never believe it.”
But it’s absolutely believable. Ramsay’s global TV audience and utter dedication to excellence across his restaurant portfolio—his empire includes fine-dining and casual concepts in Atlantic City, Baltimore, London, Hong Kong, Dubai, Singapore, Italy, France and Dubai—makes him the ideal restaurateur for Las Vegas, where expectations are high and volume is a challenge.
“Every time I go back to London or Paris or Bordeaux, people tell me how Vegas is easy and I say, ‘What?’ They know there are thousands of people walking by every day, but no, Vegas is one of the toughest cities in the world to make it,” Ramsay says. “I’ve said it and I’ll say it again: The standards here are extraordinary. Every top chef in the world is here and every aspiring chef wants to be here.”
Ramsay thrives on such heightened pressure, and believes the Hell’s Kitchen restaurant adds even more challenge. “You walk into this place and see the open-flame kitchen and it’s a double-edged sword,” he says. “The cooks here are not competing for competition but for the standard. I think this is going to be harder. We can’t have excuses for rubber scallops; there can’t be undercooked risotto. It’s not TV now, this is the real deal. But I want that level of jeopardy. I don’t play it safe.”
With his Gordon Ramsay Pub & Grill just inside Caesars Palace, Gordon Ramsay Steak at Paris Las Vegas, Gordon Ramsay Burger at Planet Hollywood Resort and Gordon Ramsay Fish & Chips at The Linq Promenade, the star chef and media mogul has created a second home on the Strip, and he wouldn’t want it any other way. “I love it here,” he says. “I did my first Ironman here six years ago at Lake Mead and it was amazing. And right now is an amazing time to be in Vegas.”
Hell’s Kitchen Caesars Palace, 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Sun.-Thurs., 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Fri.-Sat. 702.731.7373