Gordon Ramsay Holdings has hit back at the authors of Harden's restaurant guides after they claimed the chef's huge international reputation has started to look "very shaky".
In Harden's London Restaurants 2008, which questioned more than 8,000 regular restaurant-goers, Ramsay failed to pick up the top three accolades of "top gastronomic experience", "highest food rating" and "highest overall rating" for the first time in seven years.
Peter Harden, co-editor of the guide, said Ramsay's reputation was looking "very shaky", while co-editor Richard Harden added: "Failing some major redirection of Ramsay's energies back to his London restaurants - and away from America, TV studios and pubs - this is beginning to look like the end of the era of Ramsay's unchallenged dominance of the high-end culinary scene."
However, Chris Hutcheson, chief executive of Gordon Ramsay Holdings, suggested the criticism was a PR stunt.
"Harden's has to sell a lot of copies, so there has to be an element of sensationalism," he said. "They like to destroy, rather than construct."
While Ramsay retained the title for top gastronomic experience in the capital, it was his protégé, Marcus Wareing, chef-patron of the two-Michelin-starred Pétrus, who picked up the highest overall rating.
The highest rating for food went to south London restaurant Chez Bruce, which, for the third consecutive year, also retained its title as London's favourite restaurant.
By Kerstiin Kühn