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Hot on the heels of the news that Gillian Thomson, formerly head of operations of Gordon Ramsay Holdings (GRH), has left the group (to become MD of contract caterer, the Company of Cooks), news emerges of another interesting cast change.

Guide Girl reports that Mark Sargeant – widely been seen as Gordon’s golden boy since the latter’s estrangement from Marcus Wareing – is no longer in charge at London’s only ‘other’ Gordon Ramsay-named restaurant, the one at Claridge’s. The new top man is an internal promotion (Steve Allen).

A couple of points emerge. One is that Guide Girl asserts that ‘Sarge’ left Claridge’s “some time ago”. As of today*, however, the Gordon Ramsay website is still representing him as the man in charge. If you had been thinking of going to Claridges, you might have been impressed to read – in the whole page puff for Sargeant – that he “first worked with Gordon at Aubergine in 1998…”. When the restaurant concerned is actually called ‘Gordon Ramsay at Claridge’s”, the presence of such a real, living link with the great man is obviously a big part of the story. If, on the other hand, Sarge isn’t actually working there any more, it might just be said to misleading. Unintentionally, obviously. But you would have thought that such a high-profile international restaurant group would make a priority of keeping its website up to date at all times.

The second point to emerge is that the ‘official’ reason for the departure from Claridge’s is fascinating in itself: it is to allow Sargeant “more time to concentrate on the demands made by Gordon's publishing and television commitments”. When GRH next asserts that London’s restaurant-goers do not suffer as a result of Gordon’s endless media distractions, remember that it‘s not just the group’s head man who, it seems, is a media person first and a chef second.

* PS (21 May) By a remarkable coincidence, in the 24 hours after the appearance of this story, a rush job was done on the Ramsay website. If you click through from the Ramsay homepage, you will find that all the ‘serious’ restaurants in the group have named chefs (with biographies)“… except Claridges, where the only option, now, is to read a page of guff about ‘chef patron’ Gordon Ramsay.

You have to wonder why a page on Steve Allen wasn’t ready to put up? Can it really take so long to string together a short biography, and take a picture? Surely GRH wasn’t just hoping that the news of Sarge’s departure wouldn’t leak out? Perish the thought.

If you want to read the Sargeant piece that’s now been airbrushed out of history, incidentally, it’s still lurking on the GRH server, and you can read it if you have the the original URL, as we do. Well, for the moment anyway.

PPS (22 June) So, a month on, Steve Allen still isn’t acknowledged on the website as the chef at Gordon Ramsay at Claridge’s. Looks pretty clear, then, that nothing on him was in preparation when Sarge’s departure was rumbled. Or perhaps Gordon Ramsay at Claridge‘s just isn’t an important enough restaurant to bother about keeping the details on the website up-to-date? Either way, it seems rather unprofessional. You can’t help wondering how valued Steve must feel. Not very, presumably.

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