Gordon Ramsay Is Turning Up The Heat In Miami With The Opening Of Lucky Cat

Gordon Ramsay Is Turning Up The Heat To Miami With The Opening Of Lucky Cat
COAT: Mr P at Mr Porter / SHIRT: Thomas Pink / PANTS: Kingsman

Photo Credit: Dan Kennedy









There is a tiny radius in Miami Beach, less than a quarter of a mile, that has become a culinary hot pocket, home to some of the biggest names in the industry. Here, dining institutions like Joe’s Stone Crab and Carbone, as well as Michelin-starred chefs like Jeremy Ford of Stubborn Seed, have created a gastronomical environment unlike anywhere else in the world, where globally acclaimed dishes are just steps away from one another. Now, taking a seat at the South of Fifth neighborhood (SoFi) table — and rightfully so — is multi- Michelin-starred chef and food phenomenon, Gordon Ramsay.

If I were to play the word association game with Ramsay, one word would immediately come to mind: fire. Perhaps it’s because of his recent opening of Hell’s Kitchen in Brickell or Boiling Point, the 1999 British television docuseries about him, but Ramsay exudes fiery passion. And this February, he’s turning up the heat in Miami with the opening of Lucky Cat in SoFi.

His fire for the Miami opening is palpable over the phone. “This is one of the most exciting, one of the most adventurous openings I have ever done,” he admits within the first few seconds of our chat, professing this is his favorite US opening thus far. “Lucky Cat is a concept that has been in the works for the last 26 years,” he continues. “Conceptually, it’s a nod to Tokyo’s 1930s kissa and Shanghai drinking dens: it’s a buzzy lounge with an electrifying atmosphere and a menu that celebrates the diverse flavors and heroes of the culinary traditions across Asia. I spent the last two decades traveling across the continent, not focusing on just one region, but bringing together multiple regions to create an incredible array of flavors.”

Gordon Ramsay Is Turning Up The Heat To Miami With The Opening Of Lucky Cat
JACKET & PANTS: Richard James / SWEATER: Sandro / WATCH: Audemars Piguet

Photo Credit: Dan Kennedy

Indeed, Ramsay has spent the past several years perfecting Lucky Cat in its original location in London’s Mayfair neighborhood, followed by its second opening in Manchester. And now, for the first-ever outpost of Lucky Cat in the United States, a third “M-city” enters the scene. A coincidence? We think not.

Miami was a city that Ramsay didn’t want to jeopardize. “We’ve had multiple offers to bring Lucky Cat to New York and requests to take it to Las Vegas, but the location that ultimately won it for me was Miami,” reveals Ramsay, who already has restaurants across 15 states. “I have been studying the Miami scene for the last four years, and the city has become a bit of a melting pot with the draw of restaurants within that radius, like Stubborn Seed, Carbone, and Papi Steak. The talent is unbelievable to be around,” he admits.

In true Ramsay fashion, when he first broke ground for Lucky Cat in Miami, he wandered next door to Stubborn Seed to say hello and wish continued success to another famed restaurateur. Because for him, that’s the way he wanted to open in Miami.

“To me, Lucky Cat in Miami is Gordon as a foodie, and for foodie lovers. This is my wheelhouse.” Renowned for its more sophisticated and upscale feel compared to some of his other renowned dining institutions, Lucky Cat brings out a completely new dimension to Ramsay. In fact, it’s self-declared Ramsay at his best.

So, what does Ramsay at his best look like exactly? From the moment you step into Lucky Cat, you’re instantly immersed in Tokyo, into a different era, and in a lavish ambiance where no detail goes unturned (down to the chopstick rests, which are miniature Maneki Neko, the actual lucky cat). “There’s a true plush feel in the Miami location,” Ramsay notes. “The furnishings are timeless. We invested in rich upholstery and velvet banquettes to create a classic luxury, affordable glam appeal. You walk into this space, and you are transcended beyond the restaurant and into a different country.”

For Ramsay, the Miami location was about bringing over the intentional, elevated vibes he had already curated in Mayfair and Manchester, but “Miamifying” it of course. “First, with Lucky Cat in Mayfair, I wanted to come up with these more intimate tables and moments where we can pick off the menu for you, and where you become embedded into the culture and the kitchen.”

Gordon Ramsay Is Turning Up The Heat To Miami With The Opening Of Lucky Cat
JACKET & TOP: Brunello Cucinelli / PANTS: Sandro / SHOES: BedStu / WATCH: Audemars Piguet

Photo Credit: Dan Kennedy

Nestled within Lucky Cat Miami lie two major personal goals for Ramsay: the chef’s table and the sushi counter. Calling for a more intimate experience, these seating areas allow guests to engage with Ramsay’s interpretation of Asian-influenced cuisine. The menu offers classic Lucky Cat dishes for the UK-based clientele, while also introducing a few plates tailor-made to Miami like the Manilla wagyu roll, smoked Shima-aji nigiri, baked clay pot glass noodles with Maine lobster and five-spiced Berkshire pork belly, and lamb dumplings with Szechuan pepper, Thai basil, and lamb consommé. Ramsay then discloses some of his must-try dishes on the menu: “To start, we’ve put together the most gorgeous handmade crumpled dumplings, and I would also recommend the skewers (robata on the menu), the scallops, and the tempura as shared plates.

And the menu doesn’t stop at the food. Lucky Cat boasts an impressive beverage menu featuring a premium selection of Japanese whiskeys and sakes. Ramsay deems the “rice-washed Gohan old-fashioned” a standout choice. In fact, it was while he was seated at the bar, nursing the old-fashioned and watching the bespoke Lucky Cat ice cube melt, that he himself got carried away, reminiscing about a time when he was in Tokyo, first igniting the fire to create Lucky Cat.

Becoming a global ambassador for food and restaurants is actually one of Ramsay’s greatest achievements, among many other career milestones he has reached. “I sit with the development team on a weekly basis; we recently just got back from a beautiful bar and grill in Macau, China,” Ramsay reflects. “You never believe that you can become a global ambassador for food and concepts. This started back in 1998, when I opened Restaurant Gordon Ramsay in Chelsea [his first solo restaurant at just 32 years old], and this year, we celebrate 25 years there and 24 years of having two Michelin stars [they now have three].” It’s at 32 that he had his “aha” moment, where he knew he had to ignite his culinary fire. For Ramsay, that meant traveling and teaching.

“I had the hunger to cultivate back behind the line, to push and develop, to orchestrate and share what I was experiencing as I traveled the world. [Traveling and sharing my learnings] is what would become the foundation of this group. Now, I look at the homegrown talent in Miami, and the talent already landed at Hell’s Kitchen, and that’s when I pinch myself. I love being able to attract young, hungry, determined chefs.”

Ramsay’s platform, which he has built over the last decades, now serves as a pedestal to lift others up. His main advice to chefs he trains and works with? Pressure is healthy; once again, lighting a bit of that “Ramsay fire” to inspire.

Gordon Ramsay Is Turning Up The Heat To Miami With The Opening Of Lucky CatPhoto Credit: Dan Kennedy

The Magic City couldn’t be a better playground for Ramsay to continue burning, and he agrees: “Miami is a chef’s haven.” For Ramsay, the city is true paradise. “I will say this, I fell in love with Miami years ago,” he admits, speaking with admiration. “When my wife Tana and I were heading down to the Florida Keys, we would spent the last two nights of our holiday in Miami, and even then, in the early 2000s, you could start to anticipate the buzz of what is happening now.”

And Ramsay loves the water. “I am a huge boat fan and I love to dive. The visibility in the water while diving here is incredible, whether it’s Marco Island or down in the Florida Keys… “There’s so much at your fingertips. Miami is majestic,” he says. “The weather, the sport, the entertainment, and the major moments like Art Basel and the Miami Grand Prix have made the city so special.”

Following his dear friend David Beckham, he is looking to make Miami a more permanent base as he and Tana look for a second US home, besides Los Angeles. “To me, the draw to Miami is that you get to work hard and play hard. My job is to create moments through dishes one at a time, and they have cumulated so many incredible memories,” Ramsay explains. And now, it’s time for Lucky Cat — and Ramsay — to have their Miami moment.

Gordon Ramsay Is Turning Up The Heat To Miami With The Opening Of Lucky Cat
SUIT: Kingsman / SHIRT: Thomas Pink / WATCH: Audemars Piguet

Photo Credit: Dan Kennedy