Published 19 February 2021
by Lisa Markwell
The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, last night posted a tweet in which he said “Over the next few weeks I’m speaking to industry leaders and experts to hear how they’ve reacted to the pandemic.” What welcome news. Well, unfortunately, he went on: “It starts tomorrow with @GordonRamsay who sat down with me to talk about the challenges facing hospitality and how he launched a TV show in lockdown. #PlanForJobs”.
The post was accompanied by a shot of Sunak looking at a screen on which Ramsay’s face was in close up. For a politician so concerned with optics that he had his own logo designed and doesn’t miss an opportunity for a well-timed photograph, this was a huge mis-step. Ramsay, let’s remember, made hundreds of staff redundant in the early days of the pandemic, just as that same chancellor was announcing a furlough scheme that could have saved them.
And Ramsay, who many in the hospitality industry have been quick to point out, hasn’t been in a kitchen (in service that, is, instead of for the cameras) for a very long time. Promoting a career as a game-show host is at best tacky and at worst deeply offensive to real hospitality operators. Did Ramsay, if he is such an industry figurehead, support the petition to create a minister for hospitality? He did not.
CODE would like to suggest to Rishi Sunak’s team that they look a little further than the celebrity magazines and TV listings to find a hospitality leader and expert. Might we suggest Angela Hartnett, Jeremy King, Will Beckett, Tom Kerridge, Asma Khan or indeed countless others who have expertise AND compassion.
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