Celebrated Venice restaurant Gjelina is standing firm on an iron-clad policy that protects it from all of your threatening “changes, modifications, and substitutions,” following a well-publicized row with Gordon Ramsay last week. Chef Travis Lett’s trendy eatery refused to put a very pregnant Victoria Beckham’s dressing on the side of her trout salad while she lunched with Ramsay, a move that angered the TV chef. Yup, after building a name by treating restaurant staffers like chattel over the years, Gordo got pretty pissed and proclaimed without irony, “You have to show a touch of sensitivity.” As the story continues to spread across the pond, Gjelina is acting even posher than Posh herself, by maintaining that their recipes can not be improved upon, neither by customer, “masterchef,” or expectant former pop star.
A Gjelina spokesperson, also treading water in the irony-free zone, is lambasting Ramsay for trying to use his celebrity to impose his will on others. The restaurant’s front line of defense tells the Mirror, “It’s that sense of entitlement … It has to stop … We treat everybody the same in here…We have a policy that we don’t make substitutions. It doesn’t matter if you are famous or you have allergies….Gordon Ramsay should know better. The smoked trout is one of our favorite items and has been on the menu almost since we started three years ago.”
In other words, the restaurant must uphold its code to treat everybody equally like shite and reminds us that the dishes are the only celebrities here. Naturally, we get sweet tingles of Schadenfreude every time Gordon gets a bee in his bonnet, but for once, the chef isn’t just talking crazy.
But isn’t it really Gjelina — along with other superstar, no-substitutions restaurants such as Father’s Office and Animal here, or Momofuku Ssam Bar in New York — that is showing such a sense of entitlement, saying, in essence: “We are big and successful and trendy enough to not give a damn what the customer wants.”
Obviously, the rules are written plainly and you can eat at these places or not, but when cooks and chefs can’t trouble themselves to move a pregnant lady’s dressing just a couple of inches to the side, they really just look like insecure, lazy jerks more than the enigmatic, slightly difficult kitchen geniuses they hope to embody.
We think we have to side with Gordo in this particular kitchen nightmare — even if the timing of the whole kerfuffle (the new season of MasterChef premieres tonight) is a tad suspect.