While Jeri has been busy with her new baby, Gisele, a recent article (prompted by the latest celeb joining a group of stars opening a restaurant, Eva Longoria Parker) includes her along with Christophe. The article brings the couple as a good example, and most of all Jeri due to her well known status, regarding being so hands on and successful with Ortolan.
Serving a side of celebrity
by Natalie Haughton
“Glitz, glamorous, enticing atmosphere, a hotlocation and great food are one thing, but a celebrity name can make a restaurant a star… When they invest, some celebs are involved to varying degrees. Some are hands on, others not… There’s more to operating a restaurant than just names and buzz. Famous celebrity investors don’t guarantee success. Restaurants must deliver appealing decor, good food, professional service and, hopefully, a memorable dining experience.
“So many times with these celebrity restaurants, the celebrity is just a front person (that)or a passive investor and the public-relations people build a whole promomtional campaign around that person’s name recognition,” says Richard Martin, executive editor of Nation’s Restaurant News. “Often these people are just one piece of the puzzle. If you can attract star-struck tourists with the buzz about the celebrity owner, that might work in the short term, but then word spreads that the celebrity really isn’t there, and the restaurant has to live or die on its own merit,” he adds. When restaurants are hyped up, you often can’t depend on what they deliver.
“People have the wrong perception and equate a celebrity with someone like a Wolfgang Puck who actually knows the business.”
The one that breaks the mold in terms of gaining attention and hands-on success is Jeri Ryan (“Shark”), Martin says. She and her husband, chef Christophe Eme, formerly of L’Orangerie, started Ortolan – it received one star from Michelin recently – and she was involved in getting the restaurant off the ground.
“It’s very helpful to have an owner that understands the restaurant business. If the person whose money is backing the venture doesn’t really understand the restaurant business, it can be difficult to execute the necessary cost controls and management fundamentals and the oversight of the kitchen,” points out Martin.”