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The Twilight of the Celebrity Chef

Having a name like Gordon Ramsay or Emeril Lagasse on a restaurant once was a recipe for success. But rising rents and changing consumer tastes have taken a toll.
Guy Fieri

Guy Fieri

Photographer: Ethan Miller/Getty Images

The opening of Bouchon in Beverly Hills nine years ago was a star-studded affair, with Pierce Brosnan, Don Johnson, and Jay Leno in attendance. Eater LA, the foodie website, gushed about chef Thomas Keller’s charcuterie and tartine—and the difficulty of getting a reservation. Keller, known for his French Laundry restaurant in California’s Napa Valley, cut the ribbon with the city’s then-mayor.

Today the space is vacant. The location closed in December following disagreements over tenant improvements and rent reductions between Keller and the city of Beverly Hills, which owns the building. “The circumstances no longer exist to operate a profitable restaurant,” Keller said in a statement.