By Ardinny Razania
In his signature frank style, celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay has criticized Qatar’s decision to ban alcohol at the Pearl-Qatar, citing it as the main reason for shuttering his Maze restaurant last year.
“I think the legislation in terms of operating restraints – going out for dinner and not being allowed to have a glass of wine – I think it’s one turn-off for any local,” he said. “We had to make sensible commercial decisions – you’re not going to run that restaurant and look stupid and lose thousands on a weekly basis.”
The 11-Michelin star chef added, “When we look at the legislation with the alcohol ban, I’d much rather see a smoking ban than an alcohol ban.”
Maze, which closed in March, had been open for two years. Other restaurants on the Pearl also complained of tumbling sales following the spirits ban, with Tse Yang and Megu temporarily closing last year.
‘Things will change’
Ramsay made the remarks to reporters this afternoon while visiting his two new restaurants at the St. Regis Doha (which do serve alcohol). There, he is cooking special meals for guests tonight.
Despite the alcohol ban, the chef said he thinks changes are afoot in Qatar.
“What you have to do here is respect the culture,” he said. “If that’s their culture and it’s being governed by the ministers then, I’m sure that will be out for scrutiny and change. But the world is moving fast and once the World Cup is nearing I’m sure things will change. I can’t see that legislation lasting much longer.”
Meanwhile, the very upscale Gordon Ramsay Doha and the more casual Opal by Gordon Ramsay Doha appear to be doing nicely, though the former only serves about “25 guests per day,” the chef said.
And if fine dining doesn’t work out for him, Ramsay said he has another line of work in mind:
I would probably be on the frontline amongst the Marines or in Afghanistan. I like that kind of teamwork.
Credit: Photo by Ardinny Razania
This article has been corrected to reflect that Gordon Ramsay Doha serves 25 guests daily, not weekly. He also has 11 Michelin stars.