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Bookmaker William Hill has given even-money odds on Restaurant Gordon Ramsay losing one of its three Michelin stars when the 2011 Great Britain & Ireland guide is published next week.
Of the big four at the top of the league – Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester, The Fat Duck, Restaurant Gordon Ramsay and The Waterside Inn – Ramsay was given only a 50-50 chance of maintaining his position. Heston Blumenthal’s Fat Duck, meanwhile, came out strongest, with odds of 1-5 to retain the maximum three stars.
For Ramsay, 2010 was an annus horribilis, after negative press stories saw the spotlight shone on both departures by high-profile chefs from his kitchens and his company’s finances, and strife in his management team spilled over into his personal life. Next week he’ll learn whether he did enough during a tough year to keep Michelin’s favour.
2010 saw the highest number of three-star restaurants in Britain since the mid-1990s. Among the hot contenders for a third star is Marcus Wareing, who has made no secret of his desire to join his former boss at the very top of the tree. In 2008, Wareing told journalists of his dream of being added to the ‘league of amazing chefs’ at the head of the Michelin table. He has retained his two stars for flagship restaurant Marcus Wareing at The Berkeley for the past four years, but it remains to be seen whether he will achieve his ambition this year.
Other possible favourites include Joël Robuchon, who rose from one star to two just two years after opening his eponymous Atelier in 2007. Could his star rise again this year? Or will Michael Caines at Gidleigh Park, Raymond Blanc’s Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons, or The Square’s Philip Howard – all longstanding holders of two Michelin stars – finally rise to three?
After another year of eating London, Square Meal is backing Francesco Mazzei’s L’Anima, Nuno Mendes’ Viajante, the Giorgio Locatelli-backed Tinello and Koffman’s at The Berkeley as frontrunners to win their first star. Also watch out for Corrigan’s Mayfair, Galvin La Chapelle and Theo Randall at the Intercontinental Hotel. As for the restaurants most likely to move up to three stars, Marcus Wareing at The Berkeley and Brett Graham’s The Ledbury are our firm favourites. Watch this space to see if our hunch was worth a punt.