It seemed like a match made in foodie heaven – a 13-Michelin star celebrity chef and a home-grown Montreal institution with a storied history that spans more than 70 years coming together to create great barbecue chicken.
It was a terrific partnership… but it only lasted a few months.
Last April Rotisserie Laurier BBQ, a beloved Montreal institution that was started back in 1936, joined forces with British chef superstar Ramsay, who had been brought on to help revitalize the run-down place – his unique spin on barbecue chicken, sauces, and more were integrated into the menu, the property was renovated and redecorated, and he helped to garner loads of press and worldwide attention when his name was added to the Rotisserie Laurier BBQ brand. However, last February, the restaurant cut all ties with Ramsay, claiming he hadn't been present since the relaunch and was not fulfilling the duties that were outlined in his contract. His name was promptly removed from the menus as well as the sign outside.
Ramsay's people had warned the resto's managers to stop talking smack about the "Hell's Kitchen" and "Kitchen Nightmares" host or legal action would be pursued. And now Ramsay has launched a lawsuit in Quebec Superior Court, seeking $2.7 million in moral and punitive damages from the eatery's managers. According to the QMI Agency, Ramsay is asking the court to fine Laurier BBQ $2 million for potential revenue losses, $500,000 for defamation, $160,000 for the rights fees and $23,425 for travel expenses, plus interest.
Laurier BBQ is now known as Laurier 1936.