Thursday, May 15, 2008

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Gordon Ramsay, the chef from 'Hell,' is back in the TV kitchen

Q: You invited a contestant from last season, Julia Williams, Atlanta's favorite waffle house chef, to come back. Will she be back in the fourth season?

A: She will be back in the fifth.

Q: Tell us about the London West Hollywood restaurant and what kind of chef you are looking for to run it.

A: I have to say, opening up in New York taught me a lot about that level of attention to detail. London's a tough market, Paris is a tough market, but New York, well, that's extraordinary. Everything I learned and didn't do in New York I would put into place here in the London West Hollywood.

It's fascinating, when you look at the critics' reviews, and we had a great one in the New York Observer and all that, and then the New York Times came and it was a devastation; two stars out of four. They said that I played safe because it wasn't fireworks. Then they judged the persona over the substance that was on the plate.

Here in L.A., trust me, there will be fireworks from the canapés right through to the desserts. It's not going to be sedated, heavy, rich French cuisine; it's going to be a light and American, California-style with a bit of a Japanese influence.

One thing I can't afford to get sucked up in is the trend formation of restaurants here. I've invested heavily. We have a 10-year lease. More importantly, the style, the feel and the décor of the dining room is vibrant. It's very L.A., very cool fabrics, lots of silver, lots of nickel, brushed stainless steel and lots of cream fabric.

Q: You had over 22,000 chefs e-mail and apply to be on "Hell's Kitchen." You have a former chef who's an electrician, you have someone who's a stay-at-home dad, you have a receptionist. I know you believe a lot in second chances. Why is it important to have those types of people in a competition like this instead of executive chefs from various restaurants?

A: I'd like to think now that "Hell's Kitchen" has become synonymous with giving anyone excited about food a level of opportunity. When you think about someone like Julia from the waffle house, how that level of taste and that kind of control and what she perceived, there she is cooking sort of run-of-the-mill, sort of mainstream American cuisine and then competing with an executive chef.

When chefs enter this industry and they graduate from culinary school they chase silly titles, which means nothing. What is an executive chef? It's a chef that operates a computer that hits a P&L account and goes through a budgeting format with a food and beverage manager. If you're going to be a chef, then cook. There's no greater joy.

On the use of obscenity:

Q: What's going on with all the cursing?

A: I don't like cursing. That may sound slightly bizarre, but trust me, it's not my fault entirely. It's the industry language, and any chef would be a hypocrite if they didn't admit to swearing in the kitchen. It's something I'm not proud of.

Every time, I get reminded of that by my mother. More importantly, I have four young children. My wife is a schoolteacher. I can switch it off. I have an outside life. I'm not forecasting for my first heart attack at the age of 41.

Gordon Ramsay Interview on Parkinson
Gordon Ramsay interview | Simply Business: Spring 2007 | Small ...
The gospel according to Gordon Ramsey (Warning: it may be enough ...
Chef Ramsay’s Gordian knot (Can he keep his restaurant empire going? Is Marco Pierre White right to criticize celebrity chefs who lend only their name to a restaurant and do not work in the kitchen?)

How much of Kitchen Nightmares is real? The reality behind the show:

Gordon Ramsay checks into the Priory

Well... too good to be true I suppose...

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