Food: Gordon Ramsay on chefs being the world’s worst eaters
Ella Walker chats with the celebrity chef of Strictly about being an “assertive guy” and getting competitive with Gino D’Acampo.
In an odd turn of events, Gordon Ramsay spent the lockdown being yelled at, rather than yelled at.
“I saw my daughters filming, screaming, screaming and kicking my ass,” the 54-year-old says happily on Zoom.
The Scottish-born chef, who divides his time between LA and the UK, used the pandemic-induced break to get creative, reassess – and try ‘to imagine that we are stepping into the ground for the first time. times, and how we come when we get out of this thing. ”
To help this, he started cooking live on weekends on Instagram, while being heckled by his children who fined him – in honor of the NHS – whenever a dish took more than 10 minutes to cook. to prepare. And instead of winding it up, the buzz echoed the adrenaline he lacked and usually accessed in his professional kitchens, which “I didn’t have when restaurants were closing,” he adds.
He’s now turned those Instagram lives into a cookbook, Ramsay In 10 – a collection of quick and ingenious recipes that provide insight into how the Ramsay cooks at home. “I know everyone is thinking, ‘Oh, it’s easy for you, 10 minutes …'”, he admits, but maintains that it’s all in the preparation. You don’t need three Michelin stars and “the most expensive Japanese knives to chop your carrot or finely slice your onion – grate the f ****** thing; use a box grater and grate it!” things get done faster. ”
Ramsay just wants people to cook, and is usually no frills about it, until a section up front called “What This Book Expects Of You”, which includes instructions such as “Read The Recipe.”
“I’m a assertive guy so there are no *** bulls there,” Ramsay says. “I’m just telling the truth, and some people say, ‘Well, okay, that’s a little harsh’ – so don’t fuck me for asking if you don’t want to hear it.” The goal, however, under the franchise, is to make sure people know how much fun they can cook, if they do the basics first. As Ramsay says, “90% of the battle is in the preparation, and I hate to see missed opportunities, where things are overcooked because [people are] don’t prepare early on. ”
Ramsay’s children are never far from his thoughts. He and his wife Tana, 47, have Megan 23, twins Holly and Jack, 21, Tilly, 19, and Oscar, two, and he remembers teaching them the importance of food from the start , including buying turkeys for his older children as part of Channel 4’s F-word show. “Tilly must have been three,” he recalls. The turkeys were to “make them responsible for understanding how important food is, without wasting anything; from the turkeys they went to the pigs, from the pigs they went to the lambs ”.
They all know how to cook and organize a big dinner – vital now, her eldest is starting to run the family cooperative and have his own apartment. “Meg always asks me to go around,” Ramsay said, “and I went around and the [fridge] seemed to contain 90% alcohol and very few green vegetables. So she said, “Well, I haven’t bought yet, so think about something.” I made a butternut squash, roasted it, then turned it into a beautiful Goan curry. ”
Two days before speaking, Ramsay was filmed ripping up in the Strictly Come Dancing studio after their daughter Tilly performed the Charleston. “I saw it [smart] look the other day and she burned 5800 calories and something like 32,000 steps, training for 12 hours. She gets ready, every morning it’s either toast or porridge, and then for lunch, it will be like a chicken salad. And then for dinner, it’s either pasta, carbs, to refuel, but believe me, it’s a little firecracker, she knows how to take care of herself “, says Ramsay, palpable pride. in his voice.
“She can fend for herself, trust me,” he adds, describing the Tupperware Tilly stacked in the fridge the night before practice, labeled “11am, four and seven; super disciplined.”
Ramsay spent his own 20s working 6-hour shifts with Marco Pierre White at the legendary London restaurant Harveys. “The only thing we would have on the way back in the cab – because we could eat before we fell asleep in the back of this thing – was a Lucozade and a Mars Bar. And that was it, because the last thing you can do at this time of night is eat, ”he said, his voice ablaze with poorly spent youth.
At work, he and his fellow chefs and roommates Steve Terry and Tim Hughes would grab the leftover pigeon and white butter sauce “and make our own tagliatelle with that kind of oyster cream sauce, then ate all of them. leftovers that Marco didn’t sell. Everything was so fresh, “he recalls, but” the only thing we did when we got home was literally crash, man, “and take turns paying for that cab that ‘they couldn’t believe they were coming home from work.
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“You don’t really eat before serving,” adds Ramsay. “Any boss would be lying if he told you [they did], because you cannot refuel. You have to stay nimble; you have to stay on your toes, and you have to have that hunger to constantly perfect yourself – so we are the worst eaters in the world. ”
Usually, Ramsay can be seen in reruns of Gordon Ramsay’s Hell’s Kitchen and 24 Hours To Hell And Back, yelling at terribly horrible restaurateurs and chefs. But more recently, he ate and laughed with Gino D’Acampo and Fred Sirieix in their ITV buddy holiday series Gordon, Gino & Fred.
They were in Greece together for the last time and “there are some damn good chefs on these islands,” Ramsay recalls. “We never give [Greece] the look it deserves. It’s almost the ugly sister of France, Italy and Spain. Athens, Christ, some of the ingredients there and what they do with octopus – there is no restaurant on the planet that is as creative with octopus as in Athens. ”
The food was amazing, but of course D’Acampo and Sirieix “were a nightmare. I mean a real nightmare”. Ramsay shakes his head. “We make it look fun in the edit, but my god you should see what we need to do to make it happen.”
Does he realize that Ramsay In 10 will face off against Gino’s new cookbook? “I love f ****** competition,” Ramsay leans straight into the camera, eyes zealous and practically growling. “I swear to God the competition is healthy, right? And he’ll have his take on his classics. Is that Italian food again?”
He is. Gino’s Italian family adventure, to be exact. “Can you remind him that he lives in Hertfordshire and not in Sicily?” Ramsay said, his tone rich with stinging tenderness.
And if you’re not tempted by Ramsay In 10 instead … “F *** it, if they don’t want it,” he yells, back on the mark, “I’ll buy it for them! ” And with that, he laughs.
Ramsay In 10 by Gordon Ramsay is published by Hodder & Stoughton, priced at £ 25. Photography Jamie Orlando-Smith. Available October 14.