Sunday, July 05, 2009

Thinking of running a restaurant? Think twice then... think again.

Gordon Ramsay profits plunge due to recession and being so ambitious.
• Celebrity chef sells Ferrari to inject funds into business• Pretax profits tumble from £3.05m to £383,325
Profits at Gordon Ramsay’s UK restaurants have plunged by nearly 90% and the celebrity chef has been forced to pump his own money into the business.

Ramsay’s latest company accounts show the restaurant chain came close to the brink as revenues collapsed while debt and tax bills mounted up.

The precarious situation caused the TV chef and Chris Hutcheson, his father-in-law and business partner, to inject the business with £5m. Ramsay had to sell his Ferrari to help fund the move.

Ramsay’s business problems were blamed on ambitious expansion as well as the closure of key London restaurants such as the Savoy Grill, as pretax profits tumbled from £3.05m in 2007 to £383,325.

The Savoy Grill was shut because of refurbishment at its host hotel, while the Connaught lease expired. The two restaurants alone accounted for a £9.5m reduction in revenues.

The firm said a restructuring of operations meant the group had “successfully undergone change for the better” and was now “well placed to grow its operation with a more stable capital base and a more manageable overall structure”.

Ramsay’s restaurant business expanded significantly in 2007 and 2008 but, in the year to August 2008, turnover dropped to £35m from £41.6m the previous year. Net debt soared from £4.06m to £9.48m.

A full review of operations was instigated in December as part of a refinancing deal with the Royal Bank of Scotland and to help the business get through the troubled economic times.

The cash injection from Ramsay and Hutcheson came after the firm had to pay £8m in VAT, corporation tax and PAYE. This has now mostly been repaid and will be completely settled by the end of this month.

Hutcheson said: “2008 brought its own challenges, not just for our group, but for the industry as a whole and the broader economy.

“Whilst the restructuring has benefited the group, the significant contribution and commitment of all 750 staff to the business has been integral to moving us to a position of strength.”
The firm said 25 staff were sacked as part of the restructuring efforts.

Of Ramsay’s 11 London venues, the Boxwood CafĂ© and his restaurants in Royal Hospital Road and at Claridges emerged as the star performers.

The restaurant at the Connaught hotel was closed after its lease expired, but two further ventures were opened in the capital: Murano in Mayfair and York and Albany in Camden.

The Narrow has had extra seating installed, Petrus is due to move to Knightsbridge later this year after closing last September, Maze has been fully refurbished and the Savoy Grill is set to reopen with the hotel in early 2010.

But La Noisette in Knightsbridge ceased trading in January this year and was described as a consistently underperforming site.
taken from THe GUARDIAN NEWS, July 3, 2009

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

wow wow wow...

Salam and Hello.
Im back in the blogging scene for now. I had wonderful Umrah 'minor' Pilgrimige to the holy land Al Haram city of Makkah and Madinah. Met all kinds of people with different culture and race with a mission for a holy experience. Im not preaching but now brace yourslef...
I haven't got a clue. I'm sure it was Seafood dish. Stuffed in a bread. (Zam Zam tower Makkah)

Arabic dessert. dough?? syrup?? pistahcio?? Filo Pastry??

Bird's nest with custard fillings.


Array of mixed Western desserts.

Raspberry tart? didn't fancy them.

Arabic Mixed Grilled of chicken, lamb and Beef. (Low quality photo)

Lamb Rice.(low quality photo).

I guess this was trio of aubergines cooked in arabic spices. Lots of saffron there.

ahh... Rack of lamb.

Varieties of spring rolls. There were Cheese fillings.

Bread rolls.

Pendesal and Chicken Soup

Right... what was this called? It's vine leaves stuff with rice and minced meat. This is a traditional dish in the middle eastern country. Greek as well. Dolma? very earthy and filling.

Salad station. lots and lots of pickles!

Can you see Hommous there? Youghurt dips too...

Italian lover: you know this. M-O-Z-A-R-R-E-L-L-A

Our snack we had white waiting for Solat. Cream Cheese, Crackers and Grapes. Not too arabic is it?

Finally I had the chance to enjoy arabic Lamb Rice on a "Talam". Basically Talam is large saucer. Whats more unique is that I had this in Makkah. Can't compare right. :)

Grilled baby chicken from Al Tasaj??

Yes, Al Tasaj is it.

Daily bread in Maddinah.

Shish Kebabs at Madinah.

again... Stuffed Vine Leaves.

You won't miss Fried Chicken and Chips in Madinah.

haha... they love to take pictures.

Food court in Madinah.


Olive Salad.

Grilled Baby chicken from Madinah.

Fried Tilapia fish served at our Madinah Hotels.
I think thats all that i have. I can't seem to find the big clear water fish! it's tasteless. I coudn't find the picture. It has no appetite appeal at all. I will show you once I found it.
Chef Pol

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Aged Beef?

Hi Eleanor :)
After good 2 and half hours, I did a nice braised short ribs with Sultanas using basic ingredients. I simply sealed it off (browning) before adding them to the pan. The idea of experimenting using aged beef was to find the difference using home aged beef and normal non aged.


Cook everything in a deep sauce pan.

a good 2 hours and half in the oven

The end product. Now, how tender is the beef after it had been left to dehydrate for another 5 days? It's time comsuming for sure. Does it really give extra flavour? yes or no? Celebrity chefs can talk on and on. Cooking is no rocket science.

What can i say about this dish. My verdict is that I don't see any difference with aging beef. Maybe this is a one-sided cooking method (Braising). I will try again with steaks, sirloin or strips and try it out on the grill. It's time consuming and perhaps i can overcharged my customer and labelling them "22 days AGED Beef " Ha~~. Ask any idiots or a blonde they will tell you it taste just like a beef. :) so, is hung beef really economical? With the need of large storage spaces, controlled fridge and trimmings?
I believe good proper cooking method, proper basic ingredients and of course proper tools, the result can be achieved. So long you don't try to be poncey especially when you are a chef. Aged or non aged beef? It doesn't really matter. So Mdm Eleanor, that is my verdict. However, short ribs are delicious. Cook it right, it can't go wrong. :)


Have a good Evening you Beefeater!


Chef Pol

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Home dry aging Beef

The purpose for aging beef in a cool room temperature is a way to tenderise the meat. In Brunei, this is not our tradition. We normally like to buy meat where it is freshly slaugthered on the day then kept in the freezer. We tend to buy bright red colour texture because we like to think its fresh and clean. I also like to say Buffalo (KERBAU)and Cattle/Cow (SAPI) are not the same.
Buffalo is very lean, quite dark in colour, good flavour, light and a little sweet. As Cattle has more fat content, rich meaty flavour which takes longer to cook and not as healthy as Buffalo. :) I tend to use Buffalo meat when it comes to cooking Malay or Indian cuisine like Rendang. For Western menus like stew and also chinese braising method, I find cattle is the better option.
When beef is dry aged, the beef's natural enzyme (bacteria) breaks down the protein and the connective tissue. Well, thats the theory. On a real process, beef is hung at a specific temperature in order to get the right humidity. This method is expensive as after 22 days there will alot of trimming (mould) and when the meat dehydrates, this will cause in weight lost. Having said that, i think that justify my conclusion why our local butcher can't be bothered selling dry aged beef. I think so.
Anyway, Im experimenting using a fridge in the office. I will give this beautiful short ribs another 4 to 5 days. I will judge by looking at dryness on the meat.

Dry Aged short ribs

Lets make this sexy babes fantastic. I can't wait.

Chef Pol

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Foodie Bloggers Recipe book.

Get your copy now at $10 each., available at Shop@Sarah Qlap Mall. 200 copies left (I think). All proceeds goes to charity fund.

Chef Pol