Friday, March 6, 2009

Paul Rankin in the Shitter

Paul Rankin, Belfast's Michelin star celebrity chef, the man responsible for putting Northern Ireland on the culinary map, is facing hard times. He owes £1m on back taxes. I've only eaten at one of his cafe chains, Cafe Paul Rankin. He was forced to sell it off along with his other chain of brasseries.

What bad timing for him, to have all of your businesses fall to shit in a middle of an economic recession! I guess he's not alone, but owing £1M in back taxes? The fault lays with him and not knowing how to manage his business. That's a bummer. I kind of like the guy. I was first introduced to him when I saw him featured in Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations. Ever since then, I've wanted to dine at his signature restaurant, Cayenne. Now there are threats of Cayenne folding too! I hope he can save it, Belfast needs him! He was the culinary pioneer who introduced fine dining to Northern Ireland and his restaurant Roscoff was the first ever Michelin star for Belfast! He always had an optimistic outlook for Belfast and Northern Ireland and proved that Belfast was rising from the rubble and becoming the hip, cultured, and cosmopolitan city it should be. My fingers are crossed for him.

Wouldn't it be hilarious if Cayenne ended up on Kitchen Nightmares? Imagine Gordon Ramsay up in Paul Rankin's face telling him that his food is dogshit. Knives would be flying. That would make for good television!

Celebrity chef Paul Rankin and his business partner wife Jeanne owe more than £1m to the taxman, the Belfast Telegraph can reveal today.

The couple — who owned 13 eateries and employed 500 staff at the height of their success — are now fighting to save their final and signature restaurant Cayenne after running up massive debts.

The well-known pair — who have ploughed much of their fortune into reinventing Northern Ireland’s culinary scene over the past 20 years — saw their debts rise as they “prioritised” staff salaries and other costs to keep a number of former businesses running until buyers were found.

But the sales of those businesses were not as lucrative as expected and they now find themselves unable to meet the accumulated debts owed to both the Inland Revenue and other creditors.

As previously reported by the Belfast Telegraph, the Rankins are currently working with professional advisers to reach an Individual Voluntary Arrangement (IVA) with their creditors in relation to debts.

A spokeswoman for the couple said: “The debts in the business which have entered an IVA would expect to be in excess of £1m with the vast majority of this due to the taxman by way of VAT, PAYE and other taxes.”

“The situation was that staff salaries and other key money costs were prioritised to keep the businesses running smoothly until buyers were found.

“The sale of the businesses in the depressed market meant the knock down prices achieved were not adequate to meet the debt. The IVA is being funded by Paul Rankin personally and it is expected that creditors will receive 52p in the pound.”

The couple have been struggling against mounting debts since 2006. Last year the well-known TV chef — who received Northern Ireland’s first Michelin Star — was forced to sell off his Roscoff Brasserie and Rankin cafe chain in a bid to ease financial difficulties.

And in 2006 he sold three Rankin Cafes and his Rain City restaurant on Belfast's Malone Road.

At that time Mr Rankin — who frequently appears on the BBC TV programme Ready Steady Cook and has penned cook books — said he wanted to concentrate on Cayenne, his signature restaurant in Belfast. - from Belfast Telegraph

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I think Paul and Jeanie Rankin definately overextended themselves and opened too many businesses, I spoke to someone who worked for them in the past and Paul and Jeanie rarely visited their own bakery which became overun with mice which were being swept from the floor on a daily basis. The fundamentals of a so called prestigious culinary brand which the Rankins endeavoured to create is attention to detail, however somewhere along the line the two chefs spread themselves too thinly on the ground neglecting serious hygiene issues. A case of cart before the horse and if neglect can occur at that level it is surely a house of cards waiting to fall, don't totally blame the current economic environment which is all to convenient an excuse/smoke screen for a badly managed organisation.