Nobody snapped into action faster than Gordon Ramsay following the introduction of lockdown. No sooner had it been implemented than the expletive-addicted chef brought 500 of his staff to boiling-point by pulping their contracts.
So I’m intrigued by Ramsay’s latest ploy. He has, I can disclose, hatched secret plans to start a new group of restaurants, discreetly registering an outfit called The Humble Noodle Group at Companies House, and applying to trademark the name ‘the Noodle Lounge, by Gordon Ramsay’.
The Glasgow-born chef, acclaimed for the culinary craft which brought him three Michelin stars by the time he was 33, is listed as one of two directors of the embryonic company whose name echoes the title of his autobiography — Humble Pie.
Ramsay is keeping his chopsticks close to his chest. ‘There is no comment on this,’ Jo Milloy, who handles the affairs of the family empire, tells me.
Nobody snapped into action faster than Gordon Ramsay following the introduction of lockdown
This sudden coyness is at odds with Ramsay’s recent assessment of the hospitality industry, which, according to some, will see 30,000 pubs and restaurants close for ever in the coming months. This gruesome prospect gets Ramsay’s juices going.
‘I think it’s exciting times because it’s flushed away the unwanted,’ he observed, arguing that ‘the good are going to survive, the below average are going to fall to the wayside’.
The key to survival in these circumstances, added Ramsay, 53, ‘is not about making money’ but about ‘giving your staff and your customers confidence that you’re backing them’. But foodie Rose Prince, author of Dinner & Party, wonders if Ramsay’s fledgling enterprise is a wok too far — even for him. ‘Any acclaimed chef who is planning to roll out a restaurant has to remember what happened to Jamie Oliver’s group,’ she tells me.
‘Its collapse was hugely embarrassing. Gordon Ramsay could end up as humble as his noodles.’
The occasionally overheated chef cannot, surely, have forgotten a difficult episode of his Channel 4 TV series, Cookalong. Irked by a crowd gawping at him at the Noodle Inn in London’s Oxford Street, he hurled a noodle handful against the restaurant window.
No sooner had lockdown been implemented than the expletive-addicted chef brought 500 of his staff to boiling-point by pulping their contracts. Pictured: Restaurant Gordon Ramsay
Who is the real hero, Captain Sir Tom Moore or Tony Blackburn? ‘OK he went up and down the garden a hundred times but he didn’t watch 18 Coronation Streets in a row, did he?,’ says the DJ. ‘I watched 16 Coronation Streets in a row when I came back from holiday once — I put the whole day aside. At 7.15pm I realised there were two more on the way, so I watched 18.’ Blackburn is not a man to be bested. ‘I might watch 18 Coronation Streets in a row while going up and down my garden 100 times.’
The knighthood is surely a mere formality.
Glyndebourne’s next production: a bundle of joy!
The Sussex Downs are soon to be alive with the sound of music — and a mewling baby.
Soprano Danielle de Niese, the wife of Glyndebourne boss Gus Christie, tells me she is expecting her second child in November.
However she still plans to take part next month in the first opera at Glyndebourne since the easing of lockdown, Mesdames de la Halle.
‘We are still waiting to find out the sex of the baby,’ says Danielle, who has a son Bacchus, five. ‘We were already in lockdown when we discovered that I was pregnant and it was a welcome surprise.’ Gus’s mother Mary Christie, chatelaine of Glyndebourne, died in June.
Soprano Danielle de Niese, the wife of Glyndebourne boss Gus Christie, tells me she is expecting her second child in November
She may have won two Oscars but Glenda Jackson admits she hasn’t been averse to begging for parts in her career. ‘I would never forget those years when I couldn’t get a job, even if I crawled on my hands and knees,’ she says. The former Labour MP wishes the film industry would create more interesting parts for women. ‘I find it incomprehensible why contemporary writers still find us so boring — they hardly ever place us as the central emblem.’
An engaging reunion with Theresa May…
He was Theresa May’s most devoted supporter during her time at 10 Downing Street, but her husband, Philip, needed a little encouragement when it came to their romance.
The former prime minister of Australia, Malcolm Turnbull, who was at Oxford University with the pair, has revealed his key role in their courtship. Interviewed on the Michael Crick report on Mail+, Turnbull says he met Mrs May again for the first time in China in 2016.
‘[She said] “Philip’s never forgotten the advice that you gave him”. And I thought, “Good heavens, what on earth did I say?”
‘She said, “It was very sweet really, you told him to stop hesitating and hurry up and propose to me.” ’
He was Theresa May’s most devoted supporter during her time at 10 Downing Street, but her husband, Philip, needed a little encouragement when it came to their romance
Comedian Hugh Dennis is laughing all the way to the bank. I can disclose that the Outnumbered star has seen his fortune rise to almost £2 million after raking in nearly £300,000 in the past 12 months. He has boosted his earnings with a series of low-key roles, including as a bank manager in Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s hit Fleabag. Dennis is dating Claire Skinner, who played his wife in Outnumbered. He took over shares in his TV production company Philosophical Productions Ltd from his ex, Kate Abbot-Anderson, after they split.
Lady Mary gets fruity in the sun
While the Balearic Islands seemed like the perfect post-lockdown escape for socialite Lady Mary Charteris, the 33-year-old will be facing the holiday blues as she returns to Britain, with the prospect of being in quarantine for 14 days.
Posting this picture onboard a yacht in Ibiza, the Earl of Wemyss’ daughter can be seen posing in a £400 strawberry-printed bikini by Brazilian designer Adriana Degreas. ‘Strawberries and cream, fresh from the UK,’ she writes.
While the Balearic Islands seemed like the perfect post-lockdown escape for socialite Lady Mary Charteris, the 33-year-old will be facing the holiday blues as she returns to Britain, with the prospect of being in quarantine for 14 days