cc: Maze Grill, Gordon Ramsay website
Dear Gordon Ramsay,
I’ve seen you on TV many times back in Vancouver on your show Hells Kitchen and our friend Steve religiously follows all your shows. While we were touring Europe we found that you had a Steakhouse in London, based on a New York style grill house called Maze Grill. Eagerly we booked a reservation waiting to taste some of the finest prepared food in the world, with your high standards this was a culinary experience to be had. Reading about your 650c degree steak broiler that ensures a perfect finish, with the steak cooked over coals our mouths watered in anticipation.
Having lived in beef country of Alberta for several years, and eating Alberta AAA beef in restaurants throughout BC, we can distinguish good beef from another. And as we sat down we were shown several cuts of beef: Wagyu ‘9th grade’ Gold style (hand massaged, beer/sake fed beef), Creekstone USDA “AAA” beef and 3 cuts of English beef, we chose the Aberdeen Grass Fed Sirloin. Something that the chef’s should have experience cooking and pulling out the full flavors, cooking it perfectly to medium rare.
As the steaks arrived on their fancy cutting board with juice catching reservoir, I have to admit I was excited. Cutting into the tender flesh I was impressed with the prefect cook of the meat, a medium rare to be sure. As I put the steak to my tongue, I expected to taste heaven on a fork for my £28.50.
What I tasted was hard to describe. Taking another slice of steak and repeating, still trying to put the words on my tongue. The steak tasted like… nothing! Looking at it, it sure was beef, but taste wise it could have been a McDonalds hamburger. Beef has a flavor to it, and I’m not talking about drown-it-in-BBQ-sauce flavor, or drench it in béarnaise flavor, but the beef flavor. And this had none of it and everyone at the table agreed. Sometimes all you need is a little fresh grounded salt and pepper to help pull out that natural flavor. These simple ingredients might have saved the evening but to our dismay we couldn’t find any grinders on the table and not a soul came by to offer any in the 30 minutes we were eating.
Mr. Ramsay, for £28.50 we should have a multitude of flavors on our tongue. It should have style and substance. I’ve had £3 steak sandwiches in Calgary pubs that had more substance to it than what we ate. Sitting there thinking how to complain about the steak, we couldn’t come up with anything. It was cooked perfectly, presented beautifully in a restaurant that was stylish and frequented by many people. How can you tell someone that it’s perfect, but it has no taste, especially when nobody comes around to check? We didn’t know if it was bland because that’s the way some people say English prefer their food, or just poor choice of beef. Either way we truly were for a loss.
Mr Ramsay, I’ve heard your opening up a restaurant in Whistler in time for the Olympics, and I hope you check the recipes and quality of beef. I hear bland may be the standard fare in the UK, but in Canada we do expect a lot more, especially from celebrity chef’s. And please make sure to only order AAA Alberta beef, leave the UK “beef” back home.