The world's most famous chef shows his sweet side on this new show
In the new TV show on FOX, Chef Gordon Ramsey changes things around a little. Viewers are used to seeing him in the hit show Hell's Kitchen, where he trains prospective chefs. Kitchen Nightmares has Chef Ramsey off to a different restaurant each week to help the fledgling restaurants and turn them around. All with his usual flair. Kitchen Nightmares airs Wednesdays on FOX at 9 PM ET/PT. There are a total of ten episodes planned for this season.
What kitchen nightmare would you say is your biggest pet peeve of them all? What shortcoming or sin in the kitchen that would be most likely to get your blood boiling?
Gordon Ramsey: I think what frustrates me more than anything to be totally honest, is when chefs start to cut corners and believe that they are incognito in the way that they send appetizers on trays and they know that it is not 100%. But they think that the customers can't spot it. ... And there are very few chefs in this country, both in Britain and the States that really identify the secret of being consistent.
Combining the consistency with flavor, when chefs start formulating foods to a picture, I train my chefs with a blindfold. I'll get my sous chef and myself to cook a dish and that young chef will have to sit down, he or she and eat it with a blindfold. Because if you cannot identify the flavor, then you shouldn't be cooking the dish. And that is really important.
Do you think you are mean with people that you work with on the show or do you think that you're just being merely honest?
Gordon Ramsey: Well, I spend a lot of time in top restaurants across America and no disrespect, but when you're cooking in the premier league of restaurants and whether you're standing there watching Jean Georges Vongerichten or Daniel Boulud or Thomas Keller, trust me when things go wrong, it has to be sorted immediately. So I never like to misconstrue that level of meanness. My mom doesn't enjoy, sometimes, listening to me tell staff off. And I say, "Mom, it's a kitchen; it's not a hair dressing salon." But being assertive and somewhat really firm has to be backed up with being fair. And one thing I've been all along is incredibly fair.
What turned you on to food and cooking and the restaurant business in the first place? Was there like a pivotal moment early on where you decided that this was the life for you?
Gordon Ramsey: Yes, I suppose the first time I stepped in France when I lived in Paris for two years and Monaco for a year. My time in France made me appreciate what it was like. I went down to San Rafel to eat with my friend's grandparents. And we had this little amazing salad of chevre. And then we went to a really simple taglaitelli with white truffles. And then we had this braised rabbit dish, and then they brought out this local produced camembert. And then finally, we had this amazing tartatan.
I had this amazing dinner with a couple of bottles of rose and it went on for about three and a half, four hours. I was 21 years of age and I was learning to become sort of fluent in French. And the most fascinating thing about this dinner was the fact that we didn't even change plates, or knife and fork throughout it. We ate off the same plate through out the whole dinner. And there was no level of pretension, but I can still remember that level of taste and flavor. But there was no pretentiousness about changing plates. We were in a country side, underneath a mountain and it was just the most amazing dinner. I sat with his 90 year old grandfather and grandmother and we were cooking this dinner. And that's when it clicked, that's the beauty of food.
Are you more nurturing in this show than Hell's Kitchen?
Gordon Ramsey: Yes, of course. I mean yes, Hell's Kitchen is one sort of, it's a reality show that you find your talent and you push that talent to breakpoint. And you push them to the extreme and you keep a live scenario across a three month period of running a restaurant. And that's real. Kitchen Nightmares is a completely different journey, in terms of it's not just about food. It's about the jeopardy, the understanding of where the business has gone wrong, identifying the weaknesses, improving them immediately and then being blatantly honest with them.
They fall into a slip stream where they start to, I suppose, take customers for granted. And I have a rounded side. Like, I have a wife and four children. In a kitchen I wear a different hat. In the dining room I wear a different hat. And when I'm dealing with families, jeopardy, financial ruin and very delicate situations, I'd like to think that I think about it in an immaculate way. And it's natural, it's not staged. And it's something that means a lot for me to make sure that these restaurants get turned around and they benefit from the advice.
Kitchen Nightmares airs Wednesdays on FOX at 9 PM ET/PT.
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