( dpa ) - British celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay would like to bring the Czech capital its first-ever Michelin star, the super-star chef said Tuesday at the launch of his Prague restaurant.
"If we can be first to put the stake in the ground and help propel Prague and this beautiful city to the gastronomic heights, I'll be over the moon," he told reporters.
Ramsay, one of the three British holders of three Michelin stars, opened his first restaurant in continental Europe in the city whose gastronomy is still rebounding after four decades of communism that had despised good cooking as a bourgeois relic.
"The first thing you ask is: Is (Alain) Ducasse...is (Joel) Robuchon here? I asked my same questions seven years ago in Dubai - and look at the way Dubai has grown," Ramsay said.
Ramsay is the first of those top-level chefs to open for business in Prague. "It certainly is an honour for this city," Czech gourmet and publisher of country's restaurant guide Pavel Maurer told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa.
The Prague venture is the latest latest by the holder of a total of 12 Michelin stars, who has ten establishments in Britain, four in the United States and one each in Dublin, Dubai and Tokyo - some in partnership with a hotel chain.
"At this moment he is the world's most famous chef next to Jamie Oliver. He is welcomed like a rock star in the West. Hated and loved at the same time," Maurer said.
"I am sorry. Who is Jamie Oliver? Does he play sports in Prague?" Ramsay, dressed in his signature short-sleeved white chef's uniform, joked when a Czech reporter asked him about the competitor.
In 2008, Ramsay also plans to open for business in Los Angeles, Amsterdam and the world's gastronomy capital, Paris - a city he said would be his very next restaurant launch, adding: "I lived and trained there for three years. It's in my blood."
The star chef earned fame across western Europe and the United States as the hot-tempered, foul-mouthed host of television cooking shows.
At the launch of his new restaurant in Prague he was low on expletives, if not devoid of them, as he joked.
"I left Paris very badly," he recalled. "I ran away without paying my last month's rent for my flat. So I am shitting myself in case my landlord comes for dinner and refuses to pay the bill."