Unexpected donation after Ramsay NZ dispute settled

By Morgan Tait of Hawke's Bay Today -
Gordon Ramsay. Photo / Supplied
Gordon Ramsay. Photo / Supplied

The family of chronically ill Napier girl Matisse Reid were not expecting a $100,000 donation from a dispute between celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay and a major New Zealand promoter.

The donation came as part of a "mutually agreeable'' out-of-court settlement this morning between the Hell's Kitchen star and Auckland's Duco Events, in lieu of a $2.1 million law suit after Mr Ramsay's last-minute cancellation of charity dinners in 2010.

The sold-out Auckland and Wellington events were to raise money for an organ transplant for Matisse, 11, who has been receiving costly life-saving medical treatment in Pittsburgh, US for the last five years.

Speaking from Pittsburgh, Matisse's mother Jodee Reid said the donation was very generous, but unexpected.

"We just want it known that we are very grateful to Gordon Ramsay and David Higgins from Duco Events because this is a joint donation from both of them.

"Both of them had a lot of empathy for our situation and neither David nor Gordon really dragged us into the situation.

"They were very mindful of the situation we are dealing with is life and death and they are dealing with business stuff, so we would like it known that we are really grateful for them keeping us out of it and for their very generous donation.''

Matisse had her organ transplant last year, but her mother said it was not a cure and the money would be put in a trust for any further treatments.

"Matisse has not been cured, we are not sure whether she'll need another transplant in the future so the money will be set aside in case we would need it for her.''

A joint statement from Duco Events and Gordon Ramsay said the donation was part of a mutual settlement.

"The parties have reached a mutually-agreeable financial settlement, including a donation of $100,000 to Matisse Reid and the trust Chance2Eat.

"Further, Duco Events and Gordon Ramsay are committed to working together in 2013, further details to be announced in due course.''

Matisse's Napier-based grandfather John Hands said it was a relief the matter did not make it to the court room.

"We are just very pleased that there has been a result and we are just happy for them that it was resolved in an amicable manner,'' he said. "It's just great for everybody.''

The chef arrived in the country on Sunday and made a number of publicity appearances in Auckland, most notably at the upmarket department store Smith and Caughey's for the launch of his new cookware brand.

Mrs Reid said despite the intestinal condition that left her daughter unable to eat most of her life, Matisse has a love for food.

She is often adding new recipes and video blog cooking demonstrations to her food blog, Matisse's Kitchen, and her recipe for fish tacos was published in the March edition of Cooking Light magazine.

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