Strange Food Combinations
Q: Hi Chef, Are there any really strange food combinations that you enjoy?
A: I had an amazing doubled pork chop with rhubarb. Now rhubarb is something we literally eat with desserts, but this dish was incredible. It was in Spain. It was a double pork-chop that had been slow-roasted over an open pit fire with rhubarb. Absolutely delicious. This was one of my mates that was trying to show off cooking in his back garden in Spain when we were out filming for Kitchen Nightmares. I didn’t think it was going to work, to be honest. And then when I started tasting, I thought, “Crap! This is delicious!”
How Good Can The Master Chef Junior Kids Be?
Q: Do ALL the kids on Master Chef Junior really know the techniques off the top of their head for every challenge, or do you give them a quick overview/rundown before the challenge starts. For instance the crouqembouche challenge?
A: That’s a really good question. So across the filming procedure, we get the chance to spend time with them, with basic culinary lessons. So they won’t know exactly what they’re doing, but we’ll show them basic techniques a few weeks prior. And also, things like the croquembouche – we’ll do a class in sheet pastry, but we’ll do sheet pastry buns, as opposed to actually doing a croquembouche. When it comes to the more serious elimination challenges, they’ll have insight 3-4 weeks out. We are halfway through shooting season 5 of Master Chef Junior, and I am staggered by the level of competition. We start taping tomorrow morning, but based on the standards of the first few seasons, the level is just amazing – they are coming in better, stronger. And for kids to have ballet lessons, soccer lessons, that’s something we’ve grown up with. And I’ve never known kids like we’re having now, who are having cooking lessons outside of school hours.
Always Be An Open Book
Q: Is there any food that you won’t even try?
A: Ehm – any food I won’t even try? That’s a good question. I think, being a chef, the first thing that I set out to do was to make sure that I almost got to taste every ingredient anywhere in the world. I wanted to learn so much about ingredients that I’d never know what not to do with an ingredient. So I’m an open book. Whether it’s a beating cobra heart from a snake in Cambodia, or a deep-fried tarantula, or a Beef Wellington, I’ll eat absolutely anything. The only thing I draw the line at, Victoria, is eating overcooked food. There is nothing worse than an overcooked brussels sprout. The smell is disgusting.
Never Trust A Skinny Chef
Q: What do you normally eat as an everyday meal?
A: Chef’s pick. So I don’t really sit down and do lunch. I certainly don’t sit down and eat dinner. I have a breakfast with oatmeal, that’s the first thing, and that sets me up for the rest of the day. It’s very hard to sit down for a three-course meal, and I’m very easy to please. If I go out to dinner, I’ll share an appetizer, enjoy my entree, and enjoy my dessert. It’s very hard for me to enjoy a full meal because I taste every two minutes in the kitchen. I’m not very good at sitting down for three hours to enjoy a meal. I’d be lying if I told you “I sit down 4 nights a week and have a three-course dinner.” I do nothing of the sort. And also, there’s nothing worse than eating dinner at 5:30 and then having to get up and cook for 3 hours. So I like to keep on my toes and eat small bits. Almost like in Hong Kong where they eat four or five times a day of small bowls of food. And also, it keeps that little bit of, you know, appetite there, and that keenness to perfect what you’re cooking. Someone said to me last night “Never trust a skinny chef.” And I said, “That’s nonsense, never trust a fat chef.” And she said, “Why?” And I said, “Because they’ve eaten all the good bits.”
“I Cook For Customers”
Q: Hello Gordon, I’ve wanted to know what is your opinion on the Michelin rating system?
A: That’s a very good question. One thing we need to REALLY understand about Michelin is the stars are awarded to the restaurant. So, you know, if there’s one thing I’ve come to admire with the Michelin is that it’s consistent. It’s a guy who is judging you incognito. We have a lot of guys in this country, and Europe, who are a bit too familiar, too chummy with chefs, and they overindulge – food editors, they’ll know, and tip off the chef. With a Michelin guide, you have no idea when they’ll be in, or when they’ll review you. And that’s why they’re the most feared and respected by chefs. Now I’m always asked – you’re a hands-on chef, you’re on TV, how come you’re still with these stars? Who does the cooking when you’re not there? When I’m not there, I have trusted proper chefs – like Clare Smyth, the chef de cuisine in Chelsea – even when I’m there, she’s still running the ship. She’s been running it there for 10 years. So the stars are awarded to the restaurant. And sometimes the chefs think the stars belong to the chefs, but they belong to the restaurant. The service is just as important. Michelin’s had a hard time in America because it was late coming to the table. But if there’s one thing I respect, it’s consistency. They manage to identify consistently, and it’s all there for the customer. So when people ask me “What do you think of Michelin?” I don’t cook for the guide, I cook for_customers._
I Never Know How To Act
Q: Earlier in your career, did anyone handling the media aspect ever try to convince you to change your persona? Do you swear just as much in everyday life (please say yes)?
A: I’ve never really worried about the sort of media profile, early on in my career? I’m a chef. So I, you know, we don’t get taught how to handle the media properly! And as you can probably understand, chefs when they start out make some pretty big mistakes in terms of saying things in the heat of the moment that get taken out of context, but I’ve always said that’s passion. Do I swear? Two weeks ago, I was at a parent’s meeting for my school. And my daughter said “Daddy, please don’t embarrass me.“ So I get to the school and the first thing that happens – there’s all these mums and dads there, and all the teachers are there, with the names on the table, and I see the headmistress, and my daughter Holly was there, and it’s incredible – I went straight up to the headmistress and asked for a selfie! Which I thought was brilliant. My daughter dived under the table in embarrassment. But it just broke the ice. These things are just so formal. And the headmistress said “Oh my LORD, I’ve never had a selfie before! What do we do?” So I said “Put your head up and smile!” I tweeted it out. God bless ‘er.
The Simpler, The Better
Q: Do you have any food recommendations for a college student on a budget?
A: That’s a really good question. I would recommend that you get adventurous with pulses – chickpeas, beans, lentils. And you know, cooking these is incredible. Brown rice? Phenomenal. You don’t need expensive proteins. Just make them incredible with how you cook them or prepare them – a pressure cooker is a great way of making these foods go a long way, is to cook them deliciously. Chilis, garlic, definitely.
In-N-Out Burger, Yes!
Q: Hello, Gordon! I’m very excited you’re doing an AMA! Regarding food, what guilty pleasure do you have that most people would be shocked at? Fast food fries, frozen fish sticks, etc. Mine is spaghetti in a can. It’s repulsive and I know I shouldn’t eat it, but I can’t help it.
A: Well, first of all, you need help. Spaghetti in a can!!?! That kind of crap we grew out of on our 8th birthday. I still remind my mum that she taught me how to spell with alphabetical spaghetti in a can. You need help, big time. My go-to sort of fast food snack… it would have to be In-N-Out Burger. Oh my god, honestly, it is, when I eat Double-Doubles. I am terrible. And I always bring it back on the airport when I’m flying from LA to London, I’ll sneak it into the first class lounge at BA!
Off The Beaten Path
Q: Hi Gordon, _The F Word _is one of my favorite shows of all time. It taught my wife and I how to cook great food and be smart about it. We also loved all of the adventures and animal raising that happened throughout the series. Thank you for that. My question: outside of your own restaurants, where are some of your favorite places to eat? What dishes do you order?
A: First of all, The F Word for me was a programme that taught me the importance of sources of food. The F Word tried to highlight the place of origin. How often do you go out for lunch or dinner, and you don’t know where the food comes from? So The F Word tried to show the importance of that journey. I’ve become a big fan of Vietnamese and Cambodian food. Because they cook with very little dairy. Everything is tasty, but incredibly healthy at the same time. Great use of spice, broth, pork, a way of eating well but also JUST on the cusp of trying to stay healthy at the same time. So, you know, when I travel across the US, I always try to get off the sort of beaten path and get into little foodie quarters. If it’s South New Orleans or Austin Texas, I’m going for the latest little thing that’s just opened. I’m pretty low-key like that. I like going into some sort of off the beaten track areas.
So Many Bad Meals
Q: Hi Gordon! I’m a huge fan of yours, and enjoy watching all of your shows. I especially enjoyed your Home Cooking series, and I want you to know that they sparked an interest in cooking for me that I’ll never forget. Anyway, on to my question: What is the best meal you have ever had? And what about the worst? Thanks!
A: Wow, that’s a great question. Well, negative – the worst meal? There’s been too many of them to tell you about, because for the last ten years, working on Kitchen Nightmares, I’ve eaten a lot of crap. I think I’ve drank about three and a half liters of Pepto-Bismol! And in terms of good meals, I had an incredible meal in Studio City. The most amazing fried sausage eggs, deviled eggs, and then these short ribs that were braised in spirits. Incredible, just incredible.
“Cooking Is About Character.”
Q: Greetings Chef Ramsay, and welcome to Reddit! I’m absolutely honored to have an opportunity to ask you a question or two. My dream is to have my own kitchen one day, and I’m trying my hardest and working my butt off as a prep cook right now. Anyways, I’m a huge fan of your cooking and have been watching you on television since I was a child, so I’d love your input on a couple things: What’s the biggest piece of advice you can give a young, aspiring chef?
A: Ehm, good question. The biggest piece of advice – you know, cooking is about character. It’s about different cuisines. And I think sometimes we go into it a little bit blinkered-vision. Learn a second vision: I thought I really knew how to cook when I worked for Marco and then when I went to France, it really opened my eyes. So, learn a second language and travel. It’s really important to travel. That is fundamental. because you pick up so many different techniques, and learning a second language gives you so much more confidence in the kitchen.
Scrambled Eggs, The Best Kind
Q: Gordon, how do you like your eggs?
A: Very good question. I have to say, scrambled. Over a slice of sourdough bread that has been grilled, and then sort of doused with Worcestershire sauce. Now scrambled eggs, I did a video a few years back with my youngest, Tilly, showing how to make scrambled eggs, and I think it has 10-11 million hits? The nice thing about scrambled eggs is that they don’t have to just be breakfast – you can have them in the evening, with some nice mushrooms, some tomatoes. You can have them as a snack at midnight, or at 5 o’clock in the afternoon.