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"Beige" Is a Culinary Putdown in England

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When push comes to shove, the British can be as foul-mouthed (or as drunk) as Americans, but in polite society, they're just so very civil. The nice, diplomatic way to be mean and critical — and apparently the hot culinary term of the moment — is to call something "beige." As you'd expect, it means bland, boring, neutral, and uninspired. Specifically, "beige" has been appearing in the context of Gordon Ramsay's cuisine.

Back in April, critic Jay Rayner, in his review of Ramsay's relaunched restaurant Petrus in London, wrote: "mostly it's the culinary equivalent of beige: dull at worst, inoffensive at best." And just the other day, Ramsay's former protégé Marcus Wareing (and former chef at Petrus) similarly told The Guardian, "I ran Petrus - I pretty much put the concept together, and OK, this is not the old Petrus, this is the new Petrus... The best word people have used to describe it is 'beige' - it's beige." OH SNAP.

· Restaurant review: Pétrus [Guardian]
· Ramsay's new Petrus 'beige', says Wareing [Guardian]