Sunday, June 3, 2012

A Chat with Gordon Ramsay

Yes, THAT Gordon Ramsay. I was actually on the phone with that Gordon Ramsay.

But it wasn't exactly a chat. It all started with an email that asked if I was interested in participating in a conference call with Chef Ramsay.

Moi? Really?

Well, okay, if I must. I mean, I suppose I could clear a little space in my schedule ... so I said yes and pretty soon another email gave me a time and phone number to call. Well, okay then.

I wondered who else would be involved. It wasn't long before I found out. Well, I found out some of it. Several people were chosen to ask questions, and those people were "introduced" by the moderator. Let's just say that there were big newspapers represented. BIG.

And little old me. I still have no idea why I was chosen to get in on the call, but it was pretty cool.

So what did I learn? First, Ramsay has two shows premiering this week - Hell's Kitchen and MasterChef, and that's that the conference call was about.

Ramsay sad that one of the best things about working with cooks in America is the "multicultural aspect" which for him includes both ethnic foods and the different regional foods. He never knows what to expect and he always loves it when he finds something new, which is what makes a show like MasterChef so much fun for him. He said there were over 50,000 applicants for the show and he was impressed at the level of talent and passion he found in those people. Woah, is this the kinder, gentler Gordon Ramsay?

He also likes the "unglamorous side of cooking." Hmmmmm That's kinda interesting. He said that Hell's Kitchen reminds him of his first days at his first restaurant when the air conditioning was broken, the food was taking too long coming out of the kitchen, and customers were complaining. Sounds pretty unglamorous to me.

Have you ever heard Chef Ramsay's wail when food is undercooked, "It's Raaaaaaaaaaaw!"? But which is worse, undercooked or overdone? Think about it for a second. Raw or shoe leather?

Ramsay said that undercooked food can be fixed, but if it's overcooked, it's ruined. He hates having food ruined by overcooking, but you can make someone seriously ill with undercooked chicken. And he has suffered those consequences, so he knows how bad it can be. After some thought, he decided that both were bad, and he really couldn't decide which was worse. They both frustrate him since it's his job to make sure things get done right.

What's interesting on this year's MasterChef is that one of the competitors is blind. Ramsay said that she had her ups and downs during the show, but "she cooked like an angel and she had an amazing palate." Congrats to him for seeing beyond her disability and recognizing her talents.

Oh, and if you were wondering - no, he didn't swear at anyone during the call.

So, will you be watching either show? Both? Neither? Tell me.