David Beckham invests in Ramsay's Union Street comeback

Golden Balls is putting a wedge of his footie millions into Gordon Ramsay's newest venture, the Union Street Cafe. 'He's going to be my sous chef,' says Ramsay. Becks chopping vegetables? MT doesn't think so.

by Rebecca Burn-Callander
Last Updated: 08 Jul 2014

After the spectacular meltdown of his restaurant empire four years ago, Gordon Ramsay is making a remarkable comeback.  His holding company, Kavalake, posted its first profit for half a decade last week, making £2m (pre-tax) for the year to August 2012.

The business is making money again following aggressive restructuring across the whole business. Loss-making restuarants were swiftly closed. Headcount at the firm's head office has been cut by more than a fifth to 60 people. And food purchasing has been devolved to Ramsay's individual restaurants - chefs are now on extremely tight budgets.

'We took away the blasé-ness with ridiculous, overpriced ingredients [such as] Aberdeen Angus,' Ramsay tells The Sunday Times. 'How do you make a shin of beef just as tasty? How do you use an amazing, sustainable pollock or replace tuna with swordfish?'

As a result, Ramsay's food empire is now ready to start growing again, with venues opening up from Los Angeles to Doha. Hence Beckham's recent investment: the Union Street Cafe will be serving up reasonably-priced nosh over in London's Bermondsey.

And now Beckham and Ramsay have more in common than just football (Ramsay used to be in the Glasgow Rangers back in the day), and being celebrities, of course.

Beckham's investment is more than just cash in the bank, it's a vote of confidence in the celebrity chef after all the scandals that have plagued the business in recent years. Not least the highly publicised fall-out with his father-in-law, whom he accused of mismanagement. The pair settled out of court.

Ramsay was forced to put £2.5m into the company back in 2009 to stave off administration when the whole business began to unravel. His personal guarantees against the business have finally begun to fall, however: from £3.5m to £2.2m, and Ramsay seems sanguine about starting to rebuild, almost from scratch. 'I like being the underdog — it’s not how you start, it’s how you finish,' he says.

As for football fans, David Beckham is unlikely to be tossing your salad any time soon. But there'll doubtless be a few cameo appearances down at the new Union Street restaurant, when he's not scoring goals for new team Paris Saint-Germain, that is. But you'll have to wait until it opens in September to try and get a booking...

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