This morning I interviewed Gordon Ramsay - the many-Michelin starred culinary dynamo and arguably the world's most famous chef. Was I nervous? Um, yeah! As I read over my questions and prepared to head into the CityNews boardroom, where I was conducting the interview, my palms were sweaty and I think I was actually shaking a little bit. My colleague and friend Brian, who was filming the interview, tried to calm me down, but I could tell he was nervous about it too.
We didn't know which Ramsay to expect - the charming, wisecracking regular guy that you'd love to have a few pints with at the pub, or the angry, expletive-spewing beast from the shows Hell's Kitchen and Kitchen Nightmares.
Thankfully, it was the former. Chef Ramsay was clever, funny, and eloquent in answering my questions about food, cooking, and his new book Healthy Appetite, which contains some mouthwatering recipes I've yet to try. He also came out with some hilarious Ramsay-isms over the course of our 16-minute chat, including, "That's pants." He was referring to the organic movement and how silly it's become, saying that buying local is better. I guess 'pants' is a bad thing.
When talking about the immense pressure involved in becoming a chef, and how demanding it is, he said something along the lines of having chosen to be amongst the top tier of chefs in the world. "I'm a chef, not a cook at T.G.I.Fridays," he noted vehemently at one point. Or something along those lines. T.G.I.Fridays got a few smackdowns in the interview as I recall. Hilarious stuff. Here's the full interview on CityNews.ca.
Chef Ramsay was also kind enough to pose for a picture (see above), and when I told him I was taking a cooking course at George Brown Chef School, where he'd done a demonstration earlier in the day, he wished me luck in it.
All in all, it was a great experience and a great interview. I can see how, for those who get it, who have that true passion for food and cooking, Ramsay would be a source of huge inspiration, not someone to be feared. You want to rise up to meet his challenge, not shrink away from it.
In fact I'm feeling pretty inspired myself - I'm going to have to come up with something extra special to cook next weekend.
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