Sunday, April 08, 2007

What I Learned about Gordon Ramsey in the New Yorker

Bill Buford, author of Heat, has a terrific profile of three-star English chef Gordon Ramsey in the April 2 issue of The New Yorker. While he gives the obligatory history of Ramsey coming up through the Renaissance of London food, he also dissects a bit of the famous temper Ramsey has become known for in the states. Calculated? Absolutely. Buford's real focus? The opening of Ramsey's first New York eatery at the London (nee Rihga Royal) in New York and his quest for those elusive Michelin stars on this side of the pond. What I learned?

His thoughts on his foray into American television with his Fox show "Hell's Kitchen": "I do television so I can do New York. Basically, I'm a prostitute. I prostitute myself so I can have a restaurant here. But I don't fully take off my knickers."

His thoughts on waiters with large tie knots: "You know what they say in Britain -- the bigger the knot, the smaller the cock. Young man, I'm sure your cock is very big. Will you do something about your knot, please?"

His famous temper tantrums: Yes, he really does throw them.

His chefs coats: He has them specially made in France with broad shoulders, tailored, tapered waists and the signature short sleeves.

His foray into an American version of his show Ramsey's Kitchen Nightmares where he helps a failing restaurant analyze problems and turn their business around: During the first week he was sick during filming from something an LA restaurant served him. He later found a refrigerator with standing water and furry pesto. Later, at an Irish pub on Long Island, Ramsey found that American restaurant owners can be intractable. "I just couldn't get through. He really liked the tiramisu he got from Restaurant Depot."

And many other scandalous secrets like the real story behind the sacking of his now-infamous somellier Gregory Condes, his disappointing review in the NY Times, his feud with Marco White, and the truth behind who really stole the famous reservations book from Aubergine.

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