I completely get that most folks think Gordon Ramsay is a douche. I mean, lets look at the data here. We have Hell’s Kitchen, which may or may not be on television anymore, I have no idea, which consisted of Mr. Gordon screaming at chefs until they have completely catastrophic mental breakdowns in walk-in’s or bathrooms while threatening to kill themselves on national television. Those who do something to his standards usually only get a strange nod which is actually more confusing than getting screamed at. And oh my god, your risotto was not to his liking???? You better run for cover kid because you are getting a sheet pan thrown at your face with a barrage of colorful British based swear words. Then there is Kitchen Nightmares, the American version which showcases Mr. Gordon tearing the assholes out of restaurant owners, while eating and choking/spitting out their food, while rummaging in their refrigerators and throwing moldy items in the trash, also while beeping out 90% of what’s coming out of his mouth. Lastly, there is the interesting media perception of Mr. Gordon which talks about how in love with himself he happens to be as well as his adventures in plastic surgery so his face can look perfect while tearing down every little last shred of hope in chef’s hearts across the globe. I mean, why would anyone like this guy? I understand why some people might not have a taste for this gentleman. He’s hard on the tongue. He’s difficult to digest. But for me, that’s all part of the allure because Mr. Gordon says everything out loud that I want to express to 90% of the people I deal with that either: cook at home, run a restaurant or those who claim to know everything about the culinary world.
Now, my love for Mr. Gordon also comes from his softer side, the side I see on BBC America. Mr. Gordon also has a Kitchen Nightmares show on BBC, however, it is run in a completely different fashion. Everything about him on this show is parallel to what we see on the American version, only he is there to teach, nurture and guide, rather than cause chaos. The American version is obviously about the ratings and apparently, Americans like to watch people crying in a bathroom stall while begging for their mommy, I mean, it’s ridiculous. On the BBC version the viewer gets to watch Mr. Gordon work closely with young chefs, finding their strengths and playing off them. He takes them to local farms, butchers and fisherman to learn about buying local and sustainable products when possible. He introduces them to new techniques and badgers them only when they are being inconsiderate little shits and completely deserve it. There is a sweetness to him when success is achieved which really lends me to believe that the angry portion of Gordon is more of a showcase thing than a real thing.
All of this being said, I have never purchased one of his cookbooks. Never really wanted to. Most of what I see him cook on television, I wouldn’t necessarily want to eat, regardless of how entertaining he is at the time saying things like: “You chippy idiot!” But, when I saw him on the cover of his new book, I felt compelled to look inside. He appeared humble and gracious. It made me curious. And I knew, from page one, I wanted this book.
In this book, he is straightforward with all of his thoughts and opinions. He addresses the home cook who is passionate but just starting out as well as the over zealous home cook who has one to many gadgets. He states boldly that he’d rather be an under equipped doer than an over equipped poseur, which I personally love. People think to make great food you must have one of everything and the best of everything, Mr. Gordon is saying: no, no, no. It’s not about how you look or what you spend, it’s about the experience you have and the food on the table. The recipes all sound divine. I must have marked every one. It’s rare that I will love a cookbook from start to finish but this one really measured up. The food is simple but elegant and he emphasizes the importance of buying within your means, which is wonderful. Most chefs spout off ingredients that would wipe out one’s paycheck. In addition to the recipes, the writing is fresh and it sounds like Mr. Gordon. I was sitting in bed reading but I felt like I was transported into a conversation with him. There doesn’t sound like there is a lot of editing here and to me, that’s heaven. It feels raw but good.
Mr. Gordon, I’m proud of you man, this is a nice move for you. It’s a book I will treasure in my humble home kitchen, with only a few gadgets.
I urge you all to pick it up and give it a read.
Hope everyone is having a wonderful start to their week. Hopefully today will be filled with bright spots in honor of those that were injured & lost in last Monday’s tragedy.
My heart will be filled with thoughts of Boston today.