Gordon Ramsay’s first restaurant in Australia opens today, nine months after the U.K. celebrity chef had an on-camera clash with a television host on his last visit that drew a rebuke from Prime Minister Kevin Rudd.
Maze, a 300-seat restaurant at the Crown Metropol hotel, next to Melbourne’s only casino, will let diners choose their Clare Valley Riesling or Penfolds Grange first before Head Chef Josh Emett comes up with a meal to match. Emett, 36, says he hopes the concept will catch on and that diners have moved on from the Ramsay incident.
“It was unfortunate,” said Emett, in an interview at the restaurant, commenting on the episode in which Ramsay likened a female television host to a pig.
The Melbourne venue, Ramsay’s fifth under the Maze brand, opens as the chef counts the costs of his company’s global expansion. Last month, he opened the fourth in Doha. Like other Mazes in New York, London and Cape Town, the Melbourne restaurant will serve tapas-sized dishes.
Food at Maze Melbourne will have an Asian twist. Emett, who ran Gordon Ramsay at the London in New York when it won two Michelin stars in 2007, also wants to showcase Australian ingredients such as beef from the island state of Tasmania or seafood from the Southern Ocean. He is stopping short of putting more exotic local wildlife such as emu on the menu.
“We’re not talking any kangaroo yet,” said Emett, a native of New Zealand who has worked with Ramsay for a decade.
Diners who pick white wines might be served whole lobsters or light salads, and those who choose “big reds” might have family-style steaks, he said. Traditionally, diners get a chef- driven menu and select their wines accordingly, he said.
Pairing wine with food and catering to dietary needs, such as those of vegetarians, will be “a big challenge,” said Emett. Ramsay himself won’t be attending the new restaurant until the formal opening of the hotel next month, Emmet said.
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