Gordon Ramsay head sommelier leaves restaurant after 21 years
The head sommelier of Restaurant Gordon Ramsay has revealed plans to leave the famous Chelsea restaurant by the end of the week.
The revelation, which marks the end of head sommelier James Lloyd’s 21 years at the three Michelin-starred restaurant, was shared by Lloyd via social media alongside an image from when he started his career in wine.
Lloyd said: “My journey into hospitality began 25 years ago, in 2002 when this photo was taken, as a young commis sommelier at Restaurant Gordon Ramsay that journey took an almighty kickstart, walking into a world I most definitely was not prepared for, but absolutely adored and was fortunate enough to have great mentors to show me the way and grew into it. However, 21 years after walking through those famous doors for the first time in Royal Hospital Road, I will be leaving the restaurant and hospitality, but staying in the wine world at the end of the week. I am immensely proud to be in the list of all the great head sommeliers that have been before me.”
Lloyd then named-checked sommeliers Ronan Sayburn, Jean-Marie Pratt, Joao Pires and Jan Konetzki and explained: “I feel I have carried the baton well which fills me with pride” and stated: “There are too many amazing people to thank, both past and present” and yet he thanked them for “the influence you have had on me”.
Lloyd said he had gratitude for “all our unique and wonderful guests, some who have become friends” and profusely thanked Ramsay himself and added the personal note: “You are an inspiration through your sheer graft, talent and drive to become the best and it has been an immense pleasure to be part of the great history of your restaurants and as a person your generosity and kindness knows no bounds, thank you.”
Lloyd gave his final thanks to “the current team” led by chef Matt Abé and admitted “it’s been emotional”.
Speaking to the drinks business about his career at Restaurant Gordon Ramsay in a previous exclusive interview, Lloyd revealed that he had “not a clue” what he would do if he were not a sommelier and admitted when pressed: “Absolutely not a clue. Dream scenario would be a professional rugby player as rugby is my other passion. Rugby teaches you many great attributes as a person, team work, work ethic, clear thinking and confidence…..I really miss playing”.
Lloyd has only hinted in his post that he plans to remain in the wine sector, but has revealed he will exit hospitality, which means he could be mulling a vineyard or brand of his own. In his interview with db, he had said that his fantasy vineyard would be in Piedmont. Since he has “lived and worked there in the past” and “I just love it and of course the wines are pretty good too”.