Chancellor blasted for ‘out of touch’ chat with Gordon Ramsay

By Nikkie Thatcher

- Last updated on GMT

Online chat: Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak spoke with Gordon Ramsay on a video call about the impact of the pandemic on the hospitality sector and the TV chef's new quiz show
Online chat: Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak spoke with Gordon Ramsay on a video call about the impact of the pandemic on the hospitality sector and the TV chef's new quiz show

Related tags: Chancellor, Government, Chef, Rishi Sunak, Gordon ramsay

Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak has been lambasted on social media for his ‘In Conversation’ series with TV chef Gordon Ramsay.

The Treasury released the video on Twitter as part of it’s Plan For Jobs ​campaign, citing the topics discussed were how Covid-support measures had helped Ramsay’s businesses and how he produced a gameshow.

He said: “Time like this we will never get back again, in our careers, fingers crossed ever again and so I taught all the teams from day one in lockdown, get creative.

“Continue that stimulant, continue that search, that evolution. From daily Zooms to looking at a box of vegetables, delivered from the local farmer in Cornwall, I made all our teams dig deep for that level of innovation.

“From an industry point of view, we’re at the forefront. We’re the standard bearer of our industry so you need to keep that DNA. I said every day, polish it, get outside, go for a walk and get some fresh air.”

He outlined how the first three months of lockdown one were focused on the members of his team, particularly the mental health of those under 30.

Sunak asked the chef how he had found landlords, to which Ramsay explained the majority had been “super positive”.

The Chancellor asked Ramsay for his predictions of what the sector will be like once lockdown restrictions are lifted.

All necessary measures

Ramsay said: “[Looking] back to 4 July last year, the level of excitement to get those restaurants open, it was much needed.

“It was the perfect scenario in the summer. Everyone thought we were out of this thing and of course, we tread carefully with caution.

“We took all those necessary measures and more importantly, customers felt secure inside those restaurants. They felt they were in this bubble, they were being protected and enjoying what it feels like to eat out again.”

However, the video received criticism on Twitter, with voices from the hospitality sector condemning it.

Chef-patron of the Duck Inn at Stanhoe, Norfolk, Ben Handley said: “Is this a joke? It’s absolutely grotesque.”

The King & Queen, Longcot in Oxfordshire replied: “Rishi Sunak, didn’t now you had become a chat show host! What has helping to promote a game show with your new pal got to do with hospitality? Completely out of touch!”

The Longs Arms in South Wraxall, Wiltshire tweeted: “Give me a break, it’s not real life talking to a chef about launching a TV show.

“Why not talk to some folk about the real struggles of the past year, I could possible give you an hour Zoom time tomorrow if needed.”

Serious pressure

Arc Inspirations boss Martin Wolstencroft said: “Is he a true reflection of the pub and bar industry that has been so seriously affected?

“Why don’t you speak to business owners who are under serious pressure to keep their businesses alive? This seems so wrong and out of touch with reality.”

Adam Brooks, licensee of the Owl High Beach, Loughton and the Three Colts, Buckhurst Hill, both in Essex said: “Oh I wish I had that luxury of a TV show or second income!

“It’s great to liaise with such esteemed voices from our trade, I’ve got so many horror stories from fellow publicans Rishi, we ned our voice and worries heard too mate.”

JW Lees boss William Lees-Jones responded: “I’d love to speak to you about the challenges of hospitality and am waiting to speak to Kwasi Kwarteng (secretary of state for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) when he has the time but he promised me four weeks ago he would be calling me within three weeks.

“Please come and talk to those of us in the frontline so I don’t have to do this.”

Loungers founder and chairman Alex Reilley said: “This ridiculous PR stunt is not only hideously embarrassing, it’s totally and utterly unhelpful for hospitality and not in the slightest representative of what the sector has been through.

“Thousands of hospitality will fail Rishi Sunak, not’s not the time to be making celebrity mates.”

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