Thursday, November 30, 2006

Whatever happened to Ian Pengelley?


Whatever happened to Ian Pengelley?
Thursday 30 November, 2006

After attending the Gordon Ramsey dinner at ARIA back in October I was keen to start reading 'Humble Pie'. Meaning and doing are quite different things but I am pleased to share I have finally read it (and I enjoyed it too).

What most interested me (aside from the background about Gordon) was his reference to Ian Pengelley. I had dined at Pengelleys back in April 2005 - it had been touted as the latest and greatest place to dine in London and whilst it was very good - there were a few disappointments.

As I reached p201 of Humble Pie I was pleasantly surprised to read the following passage,

"A more recent mistake has been our involvement with Ian Pengelley. This has taught me that the only chefs we back in the future financially must be chefs who have trained within the Gordon Ramsey Group. Pengelley, formally of the much celebrated Notting Hill Asian Fusion restaurant E&O, was the first chef from outside the group to receive our backing and I think it is fair to say that it was pretty much a disaster from the start - a total fucking flop.

We helped him set up the restaurant in Sloane St, Knightsbridge, on the old site of Monte's, but it lasted less than a year, and we've since broken ties with him. There were bad reviews, a kitchen that was in total chaos and a huge gap between his idea of what the restaurant should be about, and ours. The guy used to wear flip flops to work. He was also, as he has admitted in the press, drinking. Late last year, we finally closed the place; we were just losing too much money to continue.

I'd be the first to admit that it was an error of judgment on our part. I was also taken in by his menu, by his fucking chilli salt squid, by all those amazing Japanese and Thai influences. It was a massive commitment on our side because, before he opened, we sent him off to Vietnam on a three month sabbatical to do some recipe research; he went with Jason Atherton, shortly before he opened maze. Ian told us about this cookery school where you get allotted to a village in the mountains; 500 dollars buys you a stay with a family who will show you all the classic ways with Vietnamese ingredients. I was hooked by this idea because it seemed so perfect; the chefs would learn amazing new skills and recipes, and the family would earn enough dollars to buy a small piece of land at the end of it.

....basically, the two of them had just been on a jolly. Ian Pengelley, meanwhile, has disappeared into the mists of North London.


Very interesting....what am I going to read next? The Man Who Ate Everything by Jeffrey Steingarten.

7 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

PERHAPS YOU SHOULDNT BELIEVE EVERYTHING YOU READ!!! WHY NOT ASK THE MAN HIMSELF...ALTHOUGH HE MAY BE A LITTLE BUSY AT HIS VERY BUSY AND SUCCESSFUL NEW RESTAURANT GILGAMESH, STABLES MARKET CAMDEN..THE BIGGEST THING TO HIT LONDON THIS YEAR....CERTAINLY BLOWS PENGELLEYS OUT THE WATER (A MISJUDGEMENT OF TRUST ON IANS BEHLAF) SO SHOULD YOU WISH TO KNOW WHAT HAS REALLY HAPPENED TO IAN PENGELLEY... GO ASK!

10:15 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

nice art. i was working for chef pengelley in his present restaurant - gilgamesh. he never changed.

10:44 am  
Blogger Steph said...

Thanks Anonymous x 2 for your insightful posts.
I would love to ask Ian what happened however do not currently have access to him (planning a trip to Sydney anytime soon?). Gordon, on the other hand, came to Sydney and was able to elaborate on Pengelley's (as well as in his new book).
I am thrilled that Ian has a new restaurant and will add Gilgamesh to my list for my next visit to London - thanks for the update.
Steph

12:40 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I used to work with him in Gilgamesh,this guy loves voda with coke too much :-) but anyway i am sure he is great chef. Only one bad thing for him
Gilgamesh is owned by fucking dangerous gangsters

12:28 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ian Pengelley is basically a con man I know him very well and unfortunately he has taken money from me twice stupid i know but he is very convincing. Originally i thought it was all gordon ramsay's fault with Pengelley's but i definately know first hand that it failed because of Ian and his 'habits'. i have more reason to dislike ramsay than most people and for me to finally take the view of ramsay's over ian's says a lot.

2:23 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I worked with Ian at Cicada and again at E&O, He was the reason I left Cicada and him leaving E&O was the reason I started their. When Simon took over as head chef the restaurant went from 900 covers a week to 1600 a week. You work that out?, the dimwit never knew how to run a service!. And also,chilli salt squid is not yours Ian, Its been done in Thailand for more years than you have been alive. And also,you nick peoples dishes and copy them perfectly,that does not make you a good chef just a good con!. Everyone looks up to these top chefs, but they would never be there without a good team, and Ian does not know how to treat his team. He should vanish into the hills of vietnam where he claims to have learnt to cook and not return. Oh and Ian learnt to cook in a holiday inn, He told me from his own mouth....

10:29 pm  
Anonymous pengelley said...

if one is to be slagged off then why dont u put your name to your strong views for it would interesting to know who u are, angry as u are and where u are , wil,ling to meet u and have u tell me my face, i,m ashamed that people like u guys ever worked in my kitchen, come tell me to my face

2:32 pm  

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