Long-on-attitude Venice restaurant Gjelina pushed a pregnant Victoria Beckham and a freshly transplanted Gordon Ramsay into quite a tizzy this week, after standing stone-faced on its policy: "Changes & modifications politely declined." The L.A. Times reports that the chav-tastic Briton came to eat here with Ramsay this past Tuesday and requested that her smoked trout salad come unadorned with its usual grapefruit, avocado, red onion, and lemon. But Gjelina, being Gjelina, refused. So what did tough-guy Ramsay do about it?
The toque didn’t toss anyone out of the kitchen or have one of his trademark shit-fits, instead saving his criticism for a media call-in to promote Top Chef Masters. Ramsay is angry that the restaurant wouldn’t make a change for a very pregnant woman (but, isn’t she always pregnant?) and does not like to see disrespectful treatment of a woman he calls "Shaggable Spice" "Lady Victoria."
Defending the damsel, Ramsay says, "The lady’s pregnant!…No one is asking to be fussy…. I still think that’s the customer’s prerogative…. It was a sour note. I don’t think customers should be treated that way. That might not be the way I choose to eat it, but that’s what the customer wants." Then, totally ignoring even a soupçon of irony here, the chef who is famous for barking callous commands said, "I don’t know, times are tough out there. You have to show a touch of sensitivity." Even still, he thinks the restaurant is great.
Gjelina, ever unapologetic, shows off its true colors when dealing with The L.A. Times. It’s not just quasi-stars with fifteen year-old hits that are refused their own whims at the restaurant. Even the city’s paper of record gets a whole heap of attitude when asking about the incident, as a manager answers the phone only to stonewall the publication.
"So you would like to know about our ‘no substitutions’ policy?" He asks writer Rene Lynch. "It’s clearly stated on the menu. Have a nice day." Then dude hangs up, probably to continue counting the cash. Gjelina firmly believes it runs Abbot Kinney and will do so on its own terms, expat celebrities be darned. And still, the place will be packed by noon.