By JONAH LOSSIAH
One Feather Staff
The Gordon Ramsay brand is on its way to Cherokee, NC.
The world-renowned and multi-Michelin star chef is opening a Gordon Ramsay Food Market with Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort. This will be the first of its kind in the United States. Ramsay has numerous restaurants across the country, with many of those coming in partnership with Harrah’s Cherokee’s parent company Caesars Entertainment.
“We have a great relationship with Caesars Entertainment across the U.S. with properties in Las Vegas, Kansas City, Baltimore, and Atlantic City.
“After I visited the area and fell in love with it, I knew there had to be an opportunity with our partners,” said Chef Ramsay.
The Food Market will consist of seven different dining options that will serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Dine-in service will be paired with ‘market-style options’ to offer a varied culinary experience. The dining set-up will include Truffles Pub, Street Burger, Street Pizza, GR Sushi, Fish & Chips, Catch Café & Raw Bar, and GR Bake & Brew.
“Chef Gordon Ramsay brings with him an internationally renowned reputation, world-class talent and unparalleled energy,” said Brooks Robinson, regional senior vice president & general manager of Harrah’s Cherokee Casinos. “We’re incredibly excited to partner with the Ramsay team to bring this concept to life and continue to provide inspired food and beverage offerings to our guests.”
This is not Ramsay’s first experience in western North Carolina. He came to Cherokee and the neighboring area in 2020 for filming with his National Geographic show “Uncharted”.
“I really fell in love with the area when I came here to shoot ‘Uncharted’. I could tell almost immediately that everyone here has such a passion for their craft and the local ingredients. When I spent time with Malia Crowe of the Cherokee tribe and made Hominy with her, I really felt the soul of the region and I couldn’t be more excited to open here,” said Ramsay.
Malia Crowe, a teacher at Cherokee Centrals Schools, spent her time showing Ramsay traditional Cherokee cooking and some of the language where she could.
“Being up in the mountains with no phone reception in the most beautiful forest in Autumn was really magical and was one of my fondest memories on the show. Grinding the corn and learning how to say, ‘help me’ (sgisdela) in Cherokee will be something I’ll never forget,” said Ramsay.
He said on his visit to the mountains that his major takeaways were how well Crowe utilized her ingredients, as well as the history that went into how she cooked.
“I was impressed with hominy and the technique that goes into making it. Not only did Malia teach me this incredible dish, but I got to understand how important local ingredients are and how vital the land is to Cherokee culture.”
Local is something that Ramsay wants to blend into his unique dining concept. As well as using his classic recipes, he said his team is focused on finding the best regional sources to fuel the restaurants. He also said it was difficult for him to choose his favorite ingredients he picked up on his trip to Appalachia.
“There’s so many. I love the amazing mushrooms that I found with Alan Muskat as well as the pork from The Chop Shop Butchery. Also learning about and making livermush with Matt Helms was a treat … but I don’t think it’ll be making it on any of our menus in the area,” said Ramsay.
He said that he wants to offer consistency as well as variety to keep customers happy.
“We’ve got some incredible core items at each station that have proven to be crowd favorites, like the HK Burger and classic Fish & Chips. In addition to the mainstays, we’ll lean heavily into the local produce and proteins and have some fun with the menu to celebrate seasons and marquee holidays,” said Ramsay.
Initial estimates say the Food Market will bring more than 150 jobs to the area. When it comes to those in the kitchen, Ramsay said that he won’t settle on quality.
“The beauty of our partnership with Caesars is they attract some of the best culinary talent around – my team has been working with their team for over a year, exposing them to the brand, my standards, and developing all the menu items hand in hand. We learned a long time ago you have to grow your own chefs, and you’ve got some great talent in Cherokee.”
On Wednesday, Dec. 15, Gordon Ramsay Food Market will hold a hiring event from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Cherokee Convention Center at Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort. Positions include servers, bartenders, cashiers, and culinary positions.
The Gordon Ramsay Food Market at Harrah’s Cherokee has a planned opening in ‘early 2022’, but an exact date is to be determined. Chef Ramsay also said that he hopes to make it back to the region soon.