Born in Scotland and reared in Shakespeare's hometown of Straftord-upon-Avon in England's West Midlands, Ramsay once had aspirations of becoming a famous footballer. He worked with some of the world's most celebrated culinary names, including French luminaries Guy Savoy and Joël Robuchon, before becoming head chef of Aubergine in London, which earned two Michelin stars under his guidance before closing in 2010.
Ramsay's eponymous London restaurant, Restaurant Gordon Ramsay, was awarded three Michelin stars in the late 1990s. Other Ramsay restaurants to earn Michelin stars include Pétrus in London (one star), Le Pressoir d'Argent in Bordeaux (two stars), Gordon Ramsay au Trianon in Versailles (one star).
Now, Miamians will be able to get up close and gustational with Ramsay's food with the opening of his first Miami endeavor, Lucky Cat, which will open in 2022 in Miami Beach's South of Fifth neighborhood. The restaurant is an outpost of the original Lucky Cat, which opened in 2019 in London's Mayfair district.
The restaurant, which harkens back to the Tokyo drinking dens of the 1930s, offers dishes inspired by various regions throughout Asia.
"Lucky Cat is a Pan-Asian style concept featuring incredible cocktails, sushi and sashimi, meats from the robata grill, as well as small plates. It's all about sharing in an exquisitely designed space," Ramsay tells New Times. The chef adds that Lucky Cat isn't a "white tablecloth" restaurant; it's one you'll want to savor with friends. "I wouldn't call it fine dining but rather, it's fun and full of atmosphere."
Calling Miami "one of the hottest cities in America for food and culture," Ramsay says he decided that this period of post-pandemic rebirth was the right time to invest in Miami Beach.
"Look, it’s been a really tough year and a half, there’s no question. Now that people are beginning to see a light at end of the tunnel, the demand for great dining experiences is stronger than ever as we navigate our way back to normality over the coming year."
Of all the restaurants in his portfolio, the chef believes Miami is "the perfect market" for Lucky Cat.
"I know Miamians love their food — especially food that fuses different flavors from around the world. I also know from my times dining out there that Miami has such an eye for great aesthetic. Food always comes first, but the restaurant designs in Miami are especially on point."
With that in mind, Ramsay's team tapped Illinois-based design firm, Aria Group, to design the 9,000-square-foot space, which includes an open kitchen, a raw bar, a chef's table, and a late-night lounge.
Ramsay says the SoFi neighborhood's history makes it an ideal landing spot for Lucky Cat.
"South Beach is renowned as a destination for some of the most legendary and illustrious restaurants and clubs, and home to the area’s most luxurious residential living with phenomenal art deco design. I want every Lucky Cat to capture the spirit of the neighborhood."
To that end, he's looking forward to becoming a part of what he calls "one of the most vibrant restaurant scenes anywhere in America." He regrets that the pandemic made it impossible to travel to the Magic City in 2020, but he's looking forward to hopping the pond this year and visiting some of his favorites.
"The city is just full of different flavors. From the classics like Joe's Stone Crab in South Beach to the eclectic Kyu in Wynwood to Versailles in Little Havana, there’s something for everyone in this city."
Miami restaurateurs will be happy to know that during his culinary journey through Miami, Ramsay has found no candidates for his infamous on-camera wrath.
"Happily, There are no Kitchen Nightmares experiences to report," he quips.
Lucky Cat is Ramsay's first venture in Miami, but it might not be his last. The chef, who's also opening a fish-and-chips shop in Orlando, says anything can happen.
"I love Miami, so stay tuned!"
Lucky Cat. 119 Washington Ave., Miami Beach; gordonramsayrestaurants.com. Opening 2022.