Food

7 Burning Questions for Gordon Ramsay on the Opening of Hell’s Kitchen DC

The chef and TV personality will bring the restaurant to the Wharf later this year.

Hell's Kitchen will open at the Wharf later this year. Rendering courtesy of Gordon Ramsay North America.

British celebrity chef and TV personality Gordon Ramsay is bringing a third US location of his flashy, reality show-inspired restaurant, Hell’s Kitchen, to the Wharf later this year. 

Washington Business Journal broke the news earlier this month, based on plans submitted by Gordon Ramsay North America. But the hospitality group has been tight-lipped about plans for the two-story waterfront restaurant—until now! In an exclusive interview with Washingtonian, Ramsay expands on his plans, expresses a desire to be “the ambassador to Beef Wellington” (best diplomatic post ever?), and essentially says he would beat fellow tough-guy TV host Jon Taffer of Bar Rescuealso opening a restaurant in DCin a showdown. 

Hell’s Kitchen DC is part of a larger expansion for Ramsay, both in Washington and beyond. Gordon Ramsay Fish & Chips is set to open in Penn Quarter at 501 Seventh Street, Northwest (formerly Bakers & Baristas). Ramsay is also planning two other locations of Hell’s Kitchen—one in Miami later this year, and one in Chicago in early 2023. The Southwest Waterfront’s 14,802 square-foot restaurant—including a patio and terrace—will be Ramsay’s first Hell’s Kitchen outside of a casino, though it sounds like casino-level theatrics are in the works. Diners can expect cocktails served in smoking lanterns, towering burgers, and a design that nods to both the waterfront location (Stone! Wood! Windows!) As well as elements from the reality show. 

What else? Here’s what Gordon had to say (note: this email interview has been edited for length and clarity). 

How will the Wharf location of Hell’s Kitchen compare to the other locations—and what’s unique for DC?

We’ll definitely bring the energy that any Hell’s Kitchen around the world has and fit the design into our beautiful location. But make no mistake, there will be a red and blue kitchen! That is one element you will always see in Hell’s Kitchen. As for food, we’ve been in the DC-Baltimore Area for a few years now thanks to Gordon Ramsay Steak [in Baltimore’s Horseshoe Casino] and hope to bring some of the local flavor we developed there to DC.

Are there Hell’s Kitchen classics that you’ll bring to DC? 

Of course. No experience at Hell’s Kitchen would be complete without beef Wellington, scallops, risotto, and my favorite dessert: sticky toffee pudding. I think I should be declared the new ambassador to beef Wellington based on how many we’ve sold in Vegas, Tahoe and Dubai!

Will any past competitors from the show be brought on staff? 

Christina Wilson [season 10 winner] is our VP of Culinary at Gordon Ramsay North America and you’ll definitely see her around. I’m hoping to bring other winners or finalists back for some competition nights. But let’s get the restaurant open first before I bring anyone back!

Do you plan to film any upcoming Hell’s Kitchen seasons or episodes at the DC location like in Vegas?

All I’ll say here is stay tuned…

You’ve been spotted dining at the Dabney while in town. Are there other DC restaurants you’ve enjoyed (or not)?

That place was incredible and I felt so bad because it was only their fourth night of service! I’ve really enjoyed Masseria when I was in DC as well as Rose’s Luxury. I’m really looking forward to getting out there soon though to see what Rob Sonderman [Federalist Pig, Honeymoon Chicken], Enrique Limardo [Seven Reasons, Imperfecto], Yuan Tang [Rooster & Owl] and so many others have been up to!

What’s your impression of DC’s dining scene overall? 

I think DC has such a diverse culinary scene. You can have a set menu at Masseria, modern American small plates at Rose’s Luxury, a taste of the south at Dabney. There’s something here for everyone. 

There’s been some debate over which “tough guy TV host” restaurant will win over Washingtonians: yours or Jon Taffer’s Tavern. Thoughts? 

Let’s just put it this way, barman vs a chef. I think we know who will win them over…and if not I have sticky toffee puddings that will!

Food Editor

Anna Spiegel covers the dining and drinking scene in her native DC. Prior to joining Washingtonian in 2010, she attended the French Culinary Institute and Columbia University’s MFA program in New York, and held various cooking and writing positions in NYC and in St. John, US Virgin Islands.