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Gordon Ramsay

Gordon Ramsay

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Published by: heatherc123 on Nov 19, 2008
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30 •
Resident 
The Week Of September 23, 2008
 
COVER
Pressure  Cooker 
W
hen he’s red-faced and screaming and calling someone a donkey, it’seasy to forget that Gordon Ram-say, TV’s most feared chef, is also among the world’s greatest. His empire includes 25restaurants around the world. He’s writtennearly 20 books and has one of the most rec-ognizable scowls on TV. (In case you’ve lostcount, he hosts three programs in the U.K.,two in the U.S. and another,
 Man Camp
, onthe way.) His telegenic temper has made himthe world’s third highest-earning chef, but un-like other celebrity cooks, Ramsay is a forcein the kitchen. He currently holds a stagger-ing 10 Michelin Stars, three of them at NewYork’s own Gordon Ramsay at The LondonNYC hotel. With a new restaurant open inLondon and new seasons of 
 Kitchen Nightmares
 and
 Hell’s Kitchen
 just begun, Ramsay contin-ues to take over the world — one four-letterword at a time.
—Heather Corcoran
Resident: How would you character-ize your food philosophy?Gordon Ramsay:
I love fresh food cookedsimply, using top quality, seasonal ingredi-ents and not over-complicating 
avors.
R: Between all of your restaurants,TV shows, books and projects aroundthe world you must be so busy. How do you manage it all?GR:
The real secret is that I absolutely lovewhat I do, so being busy is what keeps me onmy toes — I work best when I’m under pres-sure. I have the most talented and loyal staff inall of my kitchens keeping everything straight.People like Angela Hartnett, Josh Emett, Mark Sargeant, and Jason Atherton have been work-ing with me for years and there’s a real level of trust that we all have with one another.
R: So tell me about your latest book,
Fast Food…
GR:
“Lack of time” is the number one rea-son people give for not cooking at home, sothere is this dependence on take-away foodsand ready meals from the freezer. The ideabehind
 Fast Food 
was to rede
ne the conceptof “fast food” to show people that fresh,healthy meals can be prepared simply inminutes. It doesn’t take hours of prepara-tion and hard to
nd ingredients to createan amazing meal — it’s really about being creative and using just a few of the right in-gredients. Instead of plopping down in frontof the TV you can get the kids involved andenjoy something great together. I want toget people excited about getting back in thekitchen and back around the kitchen table.
R: Of all your projects do you have afavorite? Above all, what would youlike to be known for?GR:
I don’t really have a favorite project,I’ve put my all into building the companyand into creating each project from start to
Gordon Ramsay’s culinary empire heats up.
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Resident 
The Week Of September 23, 2008 • 31
COVER
nish. I do have a soft spot for the Chelsearestaurant, of course. It was my
rst. Butwe’re not out to replicate the same experi-ence and concept everywhere we go, thatwould get dull fast. How do you compareRoyal Hospital Road to West Hollywoodto writing cookbooks to creating menus inTokyo? It’s always a challenge and thereforeit’s always exciting for me. But more thananything else, I would like to be known
rstand foremost as a chef. My passion for cook-ing and drive for delivering perfection onthe plate is what has gotten me to where Iam today.
R: Describe how it felt when you got your
rst Michelin Stars at Aubergine?GR:
Amazing. Everyone in that restaurantwas working so hard to get those stars. Wegot the
rst star a year after opening andtwo stars two years later, then we were back in the kitchen the very next day trying go-ing for three. There is no great secret togetting stars. Of course, you need to haveskilled and talented staff in the kitchen tocreate great dishes, and service that’s alwaysspot-on, but more than that it’s about con-sistency. It has to be perfect every night, allthe time. You always have to be on top of it,constantly looking for ways to improve andperfect what you’re serving.
R: This year Gordon Ramsay in [Lon-don’s] Chelsea turns 10. How hasyour career changed since then? What do you know now that you didn’t know then?GR:
Everything has changed. Gordon Ram-say Holdings has grown exponentially sincethen, and now we’re fortunate enough tohave the most talented brigades around theworld in each of our restaurants, constantlyworking to improve ourselves, and there’s nostopping there. The company has expandedin ways I hadn’t even dreamed of when I
rstopened Royal Hospital Road. I’ve learnedwhat works and what doesn’t, I’ve learnedfrom my mistakes, and I think I’m a betterchef, businessman and person because of it.
R: On
 Kitchen Nightmares
and
 Hell’s Kitchen
we get to see some prettyoutrageous behind-the-scenes ac-tion. What’s the most shocking thing you’ve seen happen while working ina kitchen?GR:
Some of these restaurants had themost god-awful walk-ins [refrigerators] withingredients that would make anyone’s stom-ach turn. I’ve seen so many moldy vegetablesand rancid meats, and it’s truly shocking what I
nd in some of those kitchens. Andthey’re always so surprised business is bad!
R: Early in your career you workedunder some of the world’s most im-portant and in
uential chefs. Who was the most in
uential for you and what is the most important thing youlearned?GR:
Early on in my career, I trained in Parisfor three years — those were some of thetoughest and most rigorous years of my life,but at the same time, they were also someof the most rewarding. My
rst job in Pariswas at Guy Savoy, which had two Michelinstars and when I
rst walked into that kitch-en, I’d never felt so remote, so far removedfrom anywhere in my entire life. Everyonewas ignoring me. On my
rst day, somebodynicked my socks. But I immersed myself inmy work — I became
uent in French and Idid nothing but cook — I did the overnightshift in bread and pastry, then moved onto the
sh section when the sun came up. Ilearned total respect for food, and how clev-erly you can make something out of noth-ing. Take a leek. You’d use the best whitebit for the soup, but then you’d use the restfor the sauce, the top of it for a mousse, andthen the very top of it, you’d use in a staff meal. Nothing went in the bin. It was anamazing experience.
Continued on page 33
 
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The London Bar
 
Resident 
The Week Of September 23, 2008 • 33
COVER
R: And now you give back to futurechefs through “The Gordon RamsayScholar Award…”GR:
The Gordon Ramsay Scholar Awardis about fostering the next generation of tal-ent and providing the best and brightest as-piring chefs with opportunities to learn andgrow. It’s something I truly believe in. This year, the winner will be cooking live onstagewith me at the BBC Good Food Show inBirmingham, and get some of the mostamazing prizes and kitchen equipment, andalso the opportunity to do a three-city stageat my restaurants in London, Paris andNew York.
R: Are there any young or up-and-com-ing chefs that you’re excited about?GR:
I’m always looking forward to seeing what the chefs I work with are coming upwith. I encourage them to be creative andcome up with new ideas. Josh Emett, for in-stance, my executive chef at Gordon Ram-say at The London and maze in New York,and who’s also overseeing the menu at thenew West Hollywood restaurant, has beenworking with me for nine years now. Wespeak quite often, but he runs quite a tightship over there and has certainly been re-warded for a job well done — two Michelinstars less than a year after opening. For anychef, New York is the toughest place to suc-ceed, so I’m so impressed at what’s he’s beenable to accomplish there.The same goes with Andy Cook, who’snow heading up the kitchen in West Holly-wood. He was my head chef in Tokyo for years, and I think the West Hollywood res-taurant is off to a great start. Then there’sthe whole brigade over in Europe — An-gela’s just opened Murano, and she’s gear-ing up to open York & Albany soon. Mark Sargeant is doing incredibly at Claridge’s, Jason Atherton at maze, Simone Zanoni atTrianon on Paris, everyone. I’m their biggestsupporter, and it’s rewarding to see them allsucceed.
R: Where are your favorite places toeat in New York?GR:
When I’m in New York I spend a lotof time in the restaurant, but I did just re-cently have a great meal at Adour, AlainDucasse’s new restaurant. He’s one of thepeople I look up to most. I think The Spot-ted Pig is fantastic as well, April Bloom
eldis so talented and the place reminds me a bitof home.
R: Is there a trend in the restaurant/food world that you wish would goaway?GR:
There isn’t one I want to go away, thoughas you can see on
 Kitchen Nightmares
, I do hopethe trend toward using locally sourced andseasonal ingredients continues to hold. Using top quality ingredients is so incredibly impor-tant in running a kitchen, creating a fantasticmenu and keeping your guests happy.
R: How does New York compare withLondon on the culinary scene? How does New York stack up globally?GR:
There’s so much competition in NewYork, and it’s probably the most challeng-ing place to succeed. New Yorkers are quitehonest though; you’ll de
nitely know whenthey like or dislike something, and I certain-ly appreciate their honesty. It’s how we learnfrom our mistakes and learn about what re-ally works. It’s how we learn to adapt. Thenagain, we’ve had a lot of Londoners who’vedined in the restaurant as well, and at theend of the day, everyone just wants a goodmeal, regardless of where they’re from.
R: Some people say you’re mean. Doyou have any words for your critics?GR:
I’m always very
rm but fair, and I’mthe
rst one to admit I’m a perfectionist.It takes a lot of hard work, concentrationand precision to run a kitchen, to work in akitchen, and to run a successful restaurant.There just isn’t time to say “please” and“thank you” when there are a hundred hun-gry people in your dining room. At the endof the day, everything that leaves the passhas my name on it, so I’m always making sure my staff stays on its toes and performsat the top of their ability.
R: You’ve famously spoken out against food critics A.A. Gill and Frank Bruni. What do you think about food criticsin general?GR:
They’re doing their jobs and I do mine.I suppose it’s best that it stays that way. I don’tcook for the critics, I cook for my customers,as they’re the ones who come back again andwhose feedback I listen to the most.
R: What’s next for you?GR:
This September, I’m opening York & Albany with Angela Hartnett on the edge of London’s Regents Park. It will be a restau-rant with bar, delicatessen and will have themost beautiful guestrooms as well — it’s our
rst hotel so it’s completely new for me andquite exciting. I’ve just signed on with FOXfor more
 Kitchen Nightmares
and
 Hell’s Kitchen
 in the U.S. so I’m looking forward to spend-ing time in the New York and West Holly-wood restaurants as much as I can. It’s beengreat being able to show people how a res-taurant and a kitchen need to be run. It’sfast-paced, high-energy, high-stress but God,I do love it.
Pressure Cooker
Continued from page 31
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