Superstar Chefs and Their Biggest Failures

Superstar Chefs and their failuresSuperstar Chefs and their failuresAs anyone who works in a restaurant will tell you, it isn't easy. If you're a young chef just starting out, opening a restaurant to call your own can be a Herculean task. And even if you're a chef with the benefit of having a household name, just because your name is attached to a restaurant doesn't guarantee its success. We tracked down seven of the country's most well-known chefs and rounded up the restaurants they were attached to that didn't quite make it in the long run.

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Restaurants fail for a host of different reasons: the rent goes up, sales go down, a bad review gets published, the competition increases, a new menu goes awry. The chef in the kitchen isn't always an owner, but in all of these cases a high-profile chef opened a high-profile restaurant, and it didn;t go nearly as well as planned. We're not saying that the failure is their fault; sometimes even restaurants owned by high-profile chefs can fall victim to a bad economy, poor location, or one of the many other reasons why restaurants close.

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For those looking to gain a foothold as a professional chef, it's good to know that even the country's most renowned chefs have, on occasion, struck out. But getting back on your feet after you've been knocked down is the key to success in any field. From Paul Prudhomme to Michael Symon, from Gordon Ramsay to Scott Conant, just about every chef you can imagine has had their share of failures.

Gordon Ramsay: Laurier

In 2011, chef and TV host Gordon Ramsay attached his name to one of Montreal's most renowned restaurants, Laurier. The problems began from the get-go. Ramsay, who was originally supposed to be a partner, didn't put up any money so he was named a consultant. Ramsay was a no-show, though, yet demanded that famous dishes like their roast chicken be removed from the menu. After six months Ramsay's name was dropped from the restaurant's sign, and the restaurant has been closed since April of this year. Ramsay is currently embroiled in a lawsuit with the restaurant's owners, as the chef is claiming that his reputation has been damaged.

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Michel Richard: Michel


Michel Richard is undoubtedly one of the country's finest French chefs, but believe it or not, not everything he touches turns to gold. Case in point: Michel, the restaurant he opened inside the Ritz-Carlton at Washington, D.C.'s Tysons Corner mall in late 2010. Running a three-meals-a-day hotel restaurant wasn't exactly in perfectionist Richard's wheelhouse, and the location didn't make it front and center in the D.C. dining scene. The restaurant closed in early 2012.

Gastón Acurio: La Mar Cebicheria Peruana New York


Renowned as "the ambassador of Peruvian cuisine," Gastón Acurio very well might be the most famous Peruvian chef in the world. Incredibly prolific, his most successful franchise is La Mar Cebicheria Peruana, which has locations in Peru, Colombia, Brazil, Chile, Panama, and San Francisco. In September 2011, with much fanfare, an outpost opened in New York City, in the sprawling Madison Square Park space that was last home to Danny Meyer's Tabla. The $5.5 million-restaurant was trashed by The New York Times' Pete Wells soon afterward, however, and never really seemed to get a solid footing. It closed down in August 2013.

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Scott Conant: Faustina

When the glassy Cooper Square Hotel was under construction in New York, many believed that it would become one of the city's hottest. One of the city's reigning kings of Italian cuisine, chef Scott Conant of Scarpetta fame, opened Faustina inside the hotel in early 2010, replacing Govind Armstrong's panned Table 8. The restaurant didn't do poorly, but it wasn't universally beloved, the crowds never materialized, and the hotel ended up on the rocks to boot. The restaurant was finished before the year was out. Today, the hotel has been re-christened The Standard East Village, and a new restaurant is in the works at the under-renovation ground floor.

Charlie Trotter: Restaurant Charlie

Chef Charlie Trotter, of the great, recently closed eponymous Chicago restaurant fame, opened a restaurant named Restaurant Charlie (and an adjoining bar, Bar Charlie) in Las Vegas' Palazzo Hotel in 2008. It soon earned a Michelin star, but the economic downtown was just beginning, and after briefly considering making some changes in order to keep them in business, the restaurant and bar ended up shutting down in March 2010. "Chef Trotter did not want to compromise the integrity of the operations that bear his name," his wife and spokeswoman Rochelle Smith Trotter, told Diner's Journal.

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-Dan Myers, The Daily Meal