For the love of food, Gordon Ramsay must be a robot.
In the July 20 issue of BW, we told you about MasterChef, a show in which the tyrannical Gordon Ramsay of Hell's Kitchen is slightly less prickish. What we forgot to mention is that you can easily sate an obsession with Ramsay and get your fill of f-bombs. Here at the BW kitchen, we've developed a menu of other Ramsay-centric shows that will not only quench your thirst for the cross cook but are positively palate pleasing.
Before Kitchen Nightmares hit American airwaves in 2007, Ramsay had perfected his technique of telling chefs and restaurateurs why their restaurants were headed into the garbage bin with Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares, a U.K. version that began airing in 2004 on England's Channel 4.
Five seasons took viewers across England with a dip into France, Scotland and Spain, where chefs and owners learned the hard way that less is more, to keep it simple and to never forget that your customers keep you in business. The lesson here: Ramsay is always right.
Ramsay's food television earned another star with 2010's Ramsay's Best Restaurant (he does like his name in there whenever possible). Out of more than 10,000 nominations, Ramsay paired British-born restaurants of the same food ethnicity--Italian, French, Indian, Chinese, British, Thai, North African and Spanish--in a competition against one another. The eight pairs were winnowed down to two completely different restaurants, who then went head to head.
Then there's Channel 4's The F Word (believe it or not, the F stands for "food"), which first aired in 2007. On the show, Ramsay brings a brigade of amateur chefs in to a restaurant to prepare a three-course meal for 50 diners--some of them celebrities. The diners choose which meal they like best by paying for it. If they didn't like the food, they didn't leave a dime. Throughout the series, viewers see Ramsay with his family, in his garden and raising his own poultry.
Last but certainly not least, is Gordon's Great Escape (no wonder his is a household name--it's everywhere). The show, which first aired in 2010, takes Ramsay to the heart of the food he loves. In the first season, he traveled to the farthest, most remote regions of India over the course of three episodes to learn how to make authentic curry. In Season Two, Ramsay visited Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia and Thailand to learn about traditional Southeast Asian cooking. While there, Ramsay tasted the likes of snake, frog and tarantula.
Watching all of these shows reveals a side of Ramsay that isn't visible through only a Hell's Kitchen or Kitchen Nightmare lens. Ramsay is respectful of both fine cooking and fine cooks. He has a kind side. He wants chefs and restaurateurs to succeed. He honors tradition. He knows food. He has a wicked sense of humor. He believes diners deserve the best.
But that's a whole lot of Ramsay. So after you're stuffed to the gills with all of his shows, we recommend you take a break while you can. Stretch out on the couch, undo the top button on your pants and change the channel to something like Comedy Central--it won't be long before Ramsay is cooking up something new.