I would have loved to have been in the room when the idea for Gordon Ramsay’s newest TV venture was pitched to executives at Channel 4. The celebrity chef will be taking his talents across the Channel to help restaurant owners in France.
Remember, France has over 600 restaurants with at least one Michelin star. The UK has around a quarter of that number.
There is a twist, of course – the Scottish chef will be helping British restaurant, hotel and chambres d’hôtes owners in France. He’s looking for expats who are struggling to make ends meet – ones who are barely breaking even or on the brink of bankruptcy.
Going on such shows is a double-edged sword. Firstly, you’ve got to let people see how bad it was beforehand. And you have to accept this is television, so the editing will focus on all the very worst bits of how you’ve run it.
On the other hand, business usually booms in the wake of the show airing – as long as the owners can avoid bankruptcy long enough for the programme to be broadcast.
It will be interesting to see how many of those who appear on the show rely on trade from the locals rather than from overseas guests. After all, the image of British food as bland and watery has yet to be updated in the French consciousness.
For them, we are forever a nation of rosbifs.