Sunday, July 16, 2006

Gordon Ramsey -- the Big Softie

Confession: I'm a BBC America addict. It's nested right next to Bloomberg News and the beginning of the pay channels on my cable dial and I'm addicted. One of my favorite parts? I get to watch Gordon Ramsey be a big softie once a week in Ramsey's Kitchen Nightmares. If you haven't seen this show, it's a pleasant change from the screaming, nasty, ridiculously angry Ramsey we Americans see in his Fox show, Hell's Kitchen. In his most recent British programme, Ramsey chooses a failing eatery in each episode and helps the owners analyze the problems then plan and execute an effective turnaround. Along with service (he's a stickler for service), food, and the business end, he is an amazing manager of people. Ramsey shows the skills every chef needs to have in order be successful -- to get the best out of people no matter the circumstances. He jokes, cajoles, motivates, talks, teaches, and yes, even yells sometimes. But he also shows an ability to have tough conversations, honestly confront issues hindering the success of a restaurant, and show how a successful service -- and business -- can run. Plus, I love how he shows an honest respect for the everyday chefs working in every kitchen he visits. He shows himself on Kitchen Nightmares to be a great chef, a terrific teacher, and all around stand-up guy. And yes, sometimes, just a big softie.

Catch the season finale of Ramsey's Kitchen Nightmares, Weds, 9:00 p.m. on BBC America.

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