The most loved and hated chef in the world; Gordon Ramsay on his childhood memories, the Beef Wellington and eat insects…
Gordon Ramsay is the most renowned Internationally chef, with a prize record of Michelin stars and a fiery temperament. Just follow one of his cult TV shows and observe the terrified looks on the contestants’ faces when he erupts in one of his outbursts. Gordon Ramsey is undoubtedly a unique and inimitable host, a real icon for food-lovers, kitchen-amateurs and professionals. If you dream a close encounter with him, you can take one of the cooking classes like that he holds at the Castel Monastero resort. But we suggest you come prepared.
From the football career till becoming a chef, accident apart, how did you arrive to the world of cooking? I wanted to play football but a knee injury at 18 meant I couldn’t continue playing. This is when I started my chef apprenticeship and found a passion for food and cooking and I’ve not looked back since.
In the restaurant of Castel Monastero, Tuscany, you hold cooking classes. Have you had among your pupils someone who has astonished you? I’m always amazed by the talent of non-professional cooks. I mean you get some people who aren’t too good but the main thing is that people have fun! Cooking is meant to be enjoyable – so I always encourage that.
What is your favorite Italian dish? That’s too hard to answer. Too many favourites but I always enjoy a delicious agnolotti!
You have invented a new way of making television programs dedicated to cooking. Hell’s Kitchen and Master Chef have made impassion millions of people to the kitchen. You’ve never been jealous of revealing your secrets? Not at all. I really want to share the knowledge and experience that I have picked up over the years. In fact my latest cook book is all about sharing some top tips to make life easier for those in the kitchen at home!
You’re always traveling around the world, you do not mind not being able to cure personally the feeding of your children? Whenever we’re all at home, we sit around the kitchen table and eat together. The kids love getting involved in the cooking too, which is great.
When you were a little boy, did you use to eat everything, or did you make your mum become desparate? Growing up, we would sit at the table until we had finished everything on our plates. My mum taught us to respect food and not waste anything. You got in a lot of trouble if you didn’t eat all your dinner!
A dish of your childhood that you mostly remember. My mum would bring home food from the café where she worked. It was always a treat, and I still remember the excitement of waiting for her to walk through the front door with some goodies for us.
The worst dish you’ve ever tasted. When I was travelling in South East Asia for my series Great Escape I definitely encountered some foods that I wouldn’t want to try again – such as insects! But I will try anything once!
Your favorite dish. I think my favourite dish is Beef Wellington – its an art. But when I’m at home, I like nothing more than something simple and tasty, such as a pasta dish or a delicious steak with a salad.
The speciality of your restaurant not to miss. I’m a big fan of the grilled sea bass with mango and papaya salsa.
A dish that is suitable for every occasion. I think keep it simple and go for a steak, cooked perfectly, with a really fresh side salad.
The rules to cook the perfect steak. First of all take out of to the fridge about 15-20 minutes before you cook it and leave up to room temperature. Don’t oil the pan; just the marinated steak. Get the pan piping hot and don’t put any oil into it until that pan is smoking. Two and a half minutes each side, take it out and let it rest. Don’t cut it until it’s just started to cool down.
Your favourite wine and the best label. It really depends! But what I can tell you is that we’ve introduced iPads at a number of our restaurants for our wine lists. They are amazing little devices, storing so much information and helping our customers choose their wine by region, grape type or price. Of course, our sommeliers are always on hand to offer more personal advice as well.
Your favourite cocktail and the best bar it is served in. My restaurant Bread Street Kitchen is a bit of departure from the other restaurants in London and is a great space with an amazing cocktail bar. The perfect place to go after work with colleagues or after a shopping trip with the girls!
Your favourite food market. It’s got to be Borough Market in London – I never get bored of visiting, and in fact I always try to check out farmers markets whenever I travel because it allows me a glimpse of what the locals like to eat and cook.
Two ingredients you could never give up. Salt and pepper. Seasoning is so important. It’s something that I always stress.
The foreign country with the best cuisine. That’s so difficult to answer, because I am a through and through foodie, I love to try everything and I like to take elements of each country I visit and use it as inspiration when I am cooking.
An object you just cannot do without? I always say that good food starts with the right equipment – so sharp knives and pans with the right weight, proportions and handling.
Would you share with our readers one of your secret food places? Not sure how secret this is, but I love In-N-Out Burger in LA.
A chef whose style you like it. Michael Voltaggio of Ink.