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Master Chef Round Three [spoilers]

chicgail Aug 11, 2010 03:40 AM

I thought this was an interesting concept, but after watching part 3 with all the trumped up drama of the judges making much of pretending people where eliminated when they weren't ("you're NOT" - major pause for drama - "going home today"), I'm turned off.

Also, why are eliminated participants saying how much they got out of this. Is there actual learning going on besides watching Gordon Ramsay cut up one onion?

And who is the skinny little judge who doesn't say much?

  1. The Dairy Queen Aug 11, 2010 04:05 AM

    The quiet, menacing one is Joe Bastiniach. http://www.bastianich.com/index.html

    I, too, wondered about the opportunity for learning.

    And, yes, I hate the

    I'm sorry but...
    I'm sorry but I need all three of you...
    I'm sorry but I need all three of you to untie your aprons...
    I'm sorry but I need all three of you to untie your aprons and retie them even tighter.

    Manufactured drama. Bah.

    ~TDQ

    3 Replies
    1. re: The Dairy Queen
      Joanie Aug 11, 2010 04:33 AM

      I esp. hated when Graham takes of his glasses, rubs his eyes, then gives the good news.

      I felt bad for the guy with the missing fingers, was hoping he'd get to go on. The dude from Mass. who's kind of a putz seems like he can cook and is a little more humble than when he started. I thought the salad with the poached egg looked good and was surprised it got pooh poohed for being "just a salad". That look that Bastiniach gives after every tasting is stupid too.

      And did the judges taste every dish or did one judge get one contestant (I refuse to call them cheftestants)?

      1. re: Joanie
        LindaWhit Aug 11, 2010 10:39 AM

        They've definitely asked the judges (mostly Bastiniach) to hype the dramatic stare-downs. Could do with fewer of them. But that's reality TV for you. (Just like the dramatic "dum-dum-DUM!" music we got to hear 2x on HK before the winning door opened.)

        I was impressed with some of the egg dishes - but hello? Bringing out 20,000 eggs? Absolutely silly. And WTH was up with Spaghetti Frittata man? GR said "the egg is to be the star/hero of the dish." Where was the egg? Oh - it's mixed into the spaghetti and the rest of the stuff. Yeah. You're SO outta here.

        And it takes 90 minutes to slice and dice onions for the last two people left in that challenge? Yikes. How many onions do people think it would take to fill each of those bowls? The onions were of good size - I'm thinking 5-7 onions sliced and maybe 8 or 9 for diced? (BTW, did we see ANY contestant crying after cutting up all of those onions? Don't think so...I know I would have been a snuffly-sniffly mess.)

        But like Budser1228, I wish they had shown more of the technique from GR vs. the drama of one of the judges coming up, putting their hand on a contestant's shoulder and saying "You - stop NOW." and then having GR and GE run their fingers through each bowl to determine whether slices and dices were done correctly.

        I'll continue to watch, but I do wish there was more showing technique and less drama.

        1. re: LindaWhit
          l
          lizzy Aug 11, 2010 01:09 PM

          Count me in on being over the drama. I am also over the software engineer who got a lot of air time, but then again I was over him from the very first episode.

          I also wish they would have shown more technique, I didn't even realize they had to dice the onions until the contestants were well into prepping.

          I thought it was easy to figure out who wasn't moving on to the next round by just looking at the dishes, spaghetti frittata and goat cheese french toast I'm looking at you.

    2. b
      Budser1228 Aug 11, 2010 05:57 AM

      Gordon Ramsay sliced only one onion yet they had a slicing and a dicing bowl for their cut up onions so obviously they were shown at least once how to dice an onion and they are cutting out techniques that people at home could learn from.
      I know in the horrible food network show - worst cook - that they showed all the cuts and how to make them.
      The drama is just annoying - it's not suspenseful.

      1. Niblet Aug 11, 2010 10:31 AM

        Agree so much about the unnecessary drama. Gimme a break.

        Also dumb: trucking in pallets of eggs when each person could only have one. I can understand wanting to make things interesting, but this is just too ridiculous.

        And I was cringing when the onions were dumped from the back of the truck that like, bruising all that produce! Also didn't understand the point of 2 of them being 90 minutes in (or some ridiculous length of time) and still chopping onions. Also none of them seemed to be suffering ill effects from it. I would've been a tearing, sniveling mess if I were chopping onions for 90 minutes. So much of this doesn't make sense. I'm already less interested in this show than I was after 1st episode.

        3 Replies
        1. re: Niblet
          The Dairy Queen Aug 11, 2010 10:33 AM

          I, too, wondered why no one was crying from the onions!

          ~TDQ

          1. re: Niblet
            l
            lizzy Aug 11, 2010 01:10 PM

            Good catch on the onions and crying! I didn't even think about it.

            1. re: Niblet
              piglet86 Aug 11, 2010 05:38 PM

              Totally agree about the eggs: I could have cried at the waste, but I don't care enough about the show.

              However, as a huge fan (addict) of eggs, I was so excited by the challenge. Picked up precious few ideas, and those who presented them (e.g., the Jamaican woman who made an egg sandwich with Trinidadian bara) got booted off.

            2. beetlebug Aug 11, 2010 11:45 AM

              What was also interesting is that the 3 chef/judges always make a big deal about the southern woman who is 22. How they brought her family in, etc and made a comment about not going back to university because she is advancing to the next round. But, they ignore the fact that there is another 22 year old woman who also put college on hold - she's the Vietnamese American woman who made the fried spring roll with the egg.

              Way too much drama and fake suspense. I try and fast forward through it. But, I like seeing the contestants different styles of dishes.

              2 Replies
              1. re: beetlebug
                The Dairy Queen Aug 11, 2010 11:59 AM

                I noticed that and thought it was completely bizarre.

                ~TDQ

                1. re: The Dairy Queen
                  l
                  lizzy Aug 11, 2010 01:12 PM

                  I also noticed the differences in how the two 22 year olds were treated....bizarre and unfair.

              2. piglet86 Aug 11, 2010 05:33 PM

                The attempts to create suspense were so much FAIL.

                Before it's revealed whether a contestant is in or sent home, their talking head interviews reveal instantly what happened: if they're wearing their aprons, well duh they got to stay. The last contestant to be chopped from the onion challenge, for instance, was interviewed not wearing her apron, and it seemed the editors tried to work around this absence by hiding almost all of her behind a caption. She was a small woman, so if the caption were any bigger, you wouldn't have been able to see her face.

                1. p
                  pitterpatter Aug 11, 2010 06:42 PM

                  Ditto to all of the above. Another concern: how do hot eggs keep, even in real time on this show (say, 30 minutes), much less perhaps four hours in actual judging time. Scrambled eggs at any length after one or two minutes are inedible, as are any other preparations of eggs. Poached eggs, let us be generous and say three minutes if they were undercooked. This show is a total fraud, but aren't they all?

                  27 Replies
                  1. re: pitterpatter
                    t
                    TheFoodEater Aug 11, 2010 11:33 PM

                    I wondered that too.

                    1. re: pitterpatter
                      g
                      guster4lovers Aug 14, 2010 01:39 PM

                      I was also bothered by the waste - both of the onions and of the eggs.

                      As to the judging question, I know that on the UK Masterchef, the judges taste dishes that have long been cold, due to the length of time it takes in production. I think I remember a quote from John or Greg saying that nearly everything they taste has gone cold...I don't think I would want to taste 25-50 cold egg dishes!

                      And on Iron Chef America, the contestants "plate" their dishes within the time frame, but then recook them or use food they prepared (ever wonder why they make so much of one thing for just three plates?) for the judges instead of giving them the plate that was filmed. My feeling is that this is probably the method they used, because they have to give a plate to the camera to be filmed before it is consumed (as they do on Chopped, Top Chef, etc.).

                      I don't think either method is "fraud" per se, but rather the reality of producing a show like this.

                      The sad thing about the American edition is that it's gone more the direction of the Aussie MC rather than the original UK version.

                      For a specific example, take this past season of Celebrity Masterchef in the UK. The first round was the Invention Test (i.e. make a dish from the ingredients given to them), then the Palate Test, where they had to taste a dish that John made and list 10 ingredients they tasted. However, the ingredients were all named (and often explained if they were odd in any way), and between John and Greg interviewing and discussing the dishes, as well as the announcer describing them, you actually could see what they made and how they made it. Ok, a lot of times it wasn't too impressive (I baked a piece of fish, then mashed some potatoes, and covered it in a buerre blanc!), but occasionally you would see something educational.

                      But for the palate test, John actually demonstrates making the dish they have to taste, and shows you each ingredient and what it does for the dish, and how they should be able to recognise it. Then they include the recipe on the website.

                      Compare that to the US version, where they briefly say what they made (and sometimes how they made it, but not in detail), then beg to stay. The next round, they have to dice onions and cook eggs and do some more begging. Again, with little detail about making their dish.

                      Now, I didn't see the entire season of the Aussie version (only saw about 15 of the 70 [!] or so episodes...but those were the final episodes at any rate), but I was struck by how much of it was focused on the drama between the contestants, and the contestants talking about how difficult the challenges were, rather than on the technique and ingredients. Actually, it occurs to me that Aussie MC is a lot like Chopped in those respects.

                      However, the skill level was so low, even in the final 4 that I was appalled. I remember them having to make a deep-fried omelet, which they had been explicitly taught how to do, and even then most didn't manage something edible. And near the end they had a "master class" on pizza. Pizza. After 60 episodes. Compare that to the end of UK Masterchef, where they cook for Michelin star chefs. Last season, they cooked for chefs more prestigious than most judges for Top Chef.

                      Oh, US Masterchef...I'll watch you because it's summer and I'm bored, but I'll never love you like I love UK Masterchef. I wish they could play the three versions side-by-side. I don't think US Masterchef would come out all that well in the comparison.

                      1. re: guster4lovers
                        c
                        celfie Aug 14, 2010 01:52 PM

                        this monstrosity is nothing like the australian master chef which in my opinion is a television master piece

                        1. re: celfie
                          chicgail Aug 14, 2010 02:41 PM

                          Gordon Ramsay may have once been a great chef and a notable restaurateur at one time, but increasingly he is just an arrogant character on a series of rather stupid reality food shows.

                          1. re: chicgail
                            c
                            celfie Aug 14, 2010 05:22 PM

                            ya he's leaving a fine legacy
                            he is such a tool. he is just horrible

                            1. re: chicgail
                              t
                              TheFoodEater Aug 14, 2010 07:37 PM

                              ...laughing at viewers and counting his money all the way to the bank.

                              1. re: TheFoodEater
                                c
                                celfie Aug 14, 2010 07:45 PM

                                funny how some manage to make money and yet maintain their dignity

                              2. re: chicgail
                                g
                                guster4lovers Aug 15, 2010 01:06 AM

                                First of all, have ANY of you eaten at his restaurants? I have. It was as close to perfect as food can get - I really couldn't fault it, from service to value for money to the actual food on the plate. Say what you will about his television persona, but I've met people who work with him and they went out of their way to tell us how great he is to work with. Our server told us that Gordon (yes, he used his first name) was working on getting him a reservation at El Bulli before it closes. He takes them out for staff dinners all the time, and encourages them to keep developing. That's pretty rare for professional chefs, especially ones at his level.

                                I think Americans don't realise just how good a chef he actually is - I didn't, until my British husband showed me the original Kitchen Nightmares and the F Word (both fantastic shows - the KN UK version is MUCH better, and is more about the restaurants and the food rather than confrontation and drama and the same old format every week). He has more Michelin stars than anyone except Joel Robuchon and Alain Ducasse, and if Michelin expands to a few more cities, he's in place to move into number one.

                                I don't know if you know his background, but he was playing professional soccer until an injury forced him to end his career. At that point, he decided to become a chef. He took work in some of the most demanding kitchens in France, as well as in the UK, and taught himself most of what he knows. On the back of that experience, he's built a global empire and made himself a household name on both sides of the Atlantic. You have to admire that. And despite the character he plays on TV, he is still a phenomenal chef, and on a professional level, the people who really know him rarely have bad things to say about him.

                                Sadly, the American Reality TV Machine has made him into a charicature of the man and chef he is in "real life." However, at least on Masterchef he's not playing a role as much as he is in Hell's Kitchen. The clue there is how he acts when he takes the winning team on reward days - that's consistent with how he is on MC.

                                Finally, as to the Australian Masterchef, I really have to disagree that it isn't the same as the US version. Here's an entry from Wikipedia:
                                MasterChef Australia features a different format to that of the original British MasterChef and MasterChef Goes Large formats. Initial rounds consist of a large number of hopeful contestants from across Australia individually "auditioning" by presenting a food dish before the three judges in order to gain one of 50 semi-final places.

                                The semi-finalists then compete in several challenges which test their food knowledge and preparation skills. In Season 1, the top 50 competed until 20 were left, with the final 20 progressing to the main stage of the show. The contestants will then be whittled down through a number of individual and team-based cooking challenges and weekly elimination rounds until a winning MasterChef is crowned. The winner plays for a prize that includes chef training from leading professional chefs, the chance to have their own cookbook published, and AUD$100,000.

                                What about that is different from the US version? Yes, there were more varied "challenges" in the Aussie format, but it started and ended the same.

                                And here's more from Wikipedia:
                                Fans of the original British version describing the Australian show to be incomparable to that version in terms of quality, structure, judgement and skill of the contestants.Other commentators have also criticised the show for using a competition format similar to other reality shows...that focus more on the elimination of contestants than the food and cooking itself...FremantleMedia's Paul Franklin has asserted that "for a commercial audience we needed to pump it up and make it bigger, a little over the top, with more drama and storytelling and a sense of theatre".

                                I agree with that 100% to be honest, and having seen all three versions, I have to say that my ranking goes as follows:
                                1. UK version
                                2. US version
                                3. Aussie version

                                My husband agrees, and actually uses the word "abomination" to describe the Aussie version. Maybe we've grown too used to Top Chef and Chopped and MC UK and to see pieces of those taken and haphazardly thrown together in Aussie MC is frustrating.

                                I'm not trying to offend - hell, I LOVE Australia, and I watched (and loved) Neighbours, followed John Butler Trio on tour, and still have random Aussie bands on my iPod. I REALLY REALLY wanted to like MC Australia, which is why I stuck around for so many episodes. But I couldn't. I'm really glad that there are food programs around the globe that so many people are finding entertaining and inspiring. Even Wiki notes that enrolment in cooking courses in Australia have dramatically increased since MC started, and I know the UK has benefited greatly from the wealth of food programs there as well. Anything that gets people into food is great. I fully defend your right to love Australian MC, as I do people who love Food Network, etc. There are lots of opinions on this board, which is what makes for lively debate. :-)

                                [/rant]

                                EDIT: Sorry, I know this is long anyway, but my husband read my post and thought that the tone was misrepresenting what I was trying to say. I really don't want to offend anyone, and even though I didn't like MC AUS, I'm actually glad it exists. I'm also not trying to be patronising - it's not to my taste, but again, if it's promoted the cause of good food, then great!

                                And the whole Gordon Ramsay bashing thing really gets to me because I've actually eaten at his restaurants and feel like I know a different side of him than Americans generally have. I don't think he's a saint, but I also see his talent, his passion, and his desire to get people into food. He doesn't deserve the reputation he's getting here. I hope that someday people can see his UK shows or eat at his wonderful restaurants so they can see what I mean.

                                I'm actually really enjoying this conversation and look forward to the rebuttals (which I'm sure you've already started) so it can continue... :-)

                                1. re: guster4lovers
                                  chicgail Aug 15, 2010 04:14 AM

                                  Thank you for your extensive defense of Ramsay. You point of view is interesting.

                                  It's good to know that there is another side of him that doesn't get seen. Like most human beings, he is, of course, three-dimensional and perhaps all this says more about reality TV than any of people it features. Glad to hear that his food is worthy of what shows up on TV as his ego.

                                  I've seen the versions of Kitchen Nightmares broadcast on BBC America and they are somewhat less formulaic than the American counterparts. I do get amused by the number of times he finds a reason to take his shirt off on those episodes.

                                  I simply don't watch Hell's Kitchen because the premise of bringing non-chefs in to run a kitchen and then berating them because they can't cook is ultimately offensive. But it couldn't happen without his cooperation and participation. I suspect the gets paid well.

                                  I think we have to remember that the characature you describe that he plays on some of the US produced shows (and the guy who keeps taking his shirt off) could only happen with his cooperation. It is ultimately not a good marketing tool for him. I am going to London in a few weeks and because of what I have seen, I have no interest in trying his restaurants.

                                  Jaime Oliver certainly managed to make reality TV work without looking like a buffoon.

                                  If GR is such a great cook and mentor, perhaps he should spend more time in his restaurants and less time on the TV screen.

                                  1. re: chicgail
                                    LindaWhit Aug 15, 2010 04:56 AM

                                    I simply don't watch Hell's Kitchen because the premise of bringing non-chefs in to run a kitchen and then berating them because they can't cook is ultimately offensive.
                                    ~~~~~~~~~~
                                    But that's just it - they *aren't* non-chefs on HK. At least for last season and this season, the three Boston-area chefs who were on the show *are* running their own kitchens at very well-regarded restaurants. They're *not* newbies and completely inexperienced in the kitchen.

                                    Jason Santos (BlueJay) has been running the kitchen as Executive Chef at Gargoyles for about 5-6 years. Andy Husbands, from Season 6, is chef/owner of Tremont 647, a well-regarded restaurant in Boston's South End. Benjamin Knack is chef de cuisine at Sel de la Terre, another highly regarded restaurant in Boston, and he's worked under Frank McClelland at L'Espalier, one of the top restaurants in Boston.

                                    I'm not saying that everyone they've had on HK is as well versed in the kitchen as the three I've noted are, but are they all non-chefs? Hardly. Willing to deal with the insanity of a GR kitchen for the publicity and potential learning experience? Most definitely.

                                    1. re: LindaWhit
                                      chicgail Aug 15, 2010 05:23 AM

                                      I stand corrected then.

                                      In viewing earlier seasons, I thought I was watching novices in the kitchen. Perhaps I was wrong. Perhaps it changed. Thanks for the update, Linda.

                                      1. re: chicgail
                                        c
                                        celfie Aug 15, 2010 06:22 AM

                                        i'd be curious to know how often ramsay show's up at any of his restaurants. the staff experience probably accompanies a once a year visit

                                  2. re: guster4lovers
                                    c
                                    celfie Aug 15, 2010 06:30 AM

                                    quite frankly, who cares if you've been to his restaurants? like you said, it is a global empire - and he the figure head. he doesn't cook your food, he doesn't order the ingredients, he doesn't greet you at the door. he's created a product that can be reproduced, at a premium, in different locations. he has become a complete media whore and it is embarrassing to see him on tv at this point.

                                    As for master chef AU vs US, 1. ramsay is not subdued - he is clearly in charge of the show and he dominates the other 2 chefs. 2. the AU format is not sensational in the slightest, in fact it is subdued and slow paced - i mean, we have to actually sit and watch as they portion and plate the finished meal for the judges! then we have to watch as the judge's eyebrow furrow and cheeks swell. Also, the contestants in AU do not grovel and beg like pathetic swine. 3. MC US will be what, 12 episodes? 13 episodes? AU is 70+. MC AU has a legitimacy as a competition - it is recognized in AU as being important and prestigious. In the US, so far, is just another Ramsay Global Empire product . There is no quality control whatsoever. There won't be a 2nd season. that's my prediction

                                    1. re: guster4lovers
                                      Joanie Aug 16, 2010 04:57 AM

                                      "And the whole Gordon Ramsay bashing thing really gets to me because I've actually eaten at his restaurants and feel like I know a different side of him than Americans generally have. I don't think he's a saint, but I also see his talent, his passion, and his desire to get people into food. He doesn't deserve the reputation he's getting here. I hope that someday people can see his UK shows or eat at his wonderful restaurants so they can see what I mean."

                                      I have to agree with Celfie, your eating in his restaurant doesn't mean a whole lot. Was he actually cooking? What different side of him to you really know? Maybe he does treat his employees pretty well but he's an asshole on Hell's Kitchen and a bit of a pompous ass on Master Chef. *Maybe* someone suggested that this swearing ranting monster was a good idea, but he's a grown man and knows how he's coming across and goes along with it. I don't think anyone denies that he can cook but that's surely taken a back seat these days.

                                      1. re: Joanie
                                        g
                                        guster4lovers Aug 21, 2010 01:06 AM

                                        If you put your name on a restaurant, and that restaurant earned three Michelin stars, then you'd better believe that you would know what happens in that kitchen. He trained Clare, the chef, and she works with him on the menu. She has to - it's his restaurant. She isn't a 3 star chef - she works for one, and cooks his food. And most 2-3 star chefs have more than one restaurant. When you go to Per Se, do you really expect that Thomas Keller cooked everything you ate? Do you expect Joel Robuchon to cook your food in Vegas, and in London, and in Paris? The reality is that when you are at that level, you won't be on the line every night. You may not be in a restaurant for quite a long time, but the genius of being a chef at that level and maintaining the 3 star standard is that you can not only execute your vision, but you can delegate, train and inspire your staff to do so in your absence. I see absolutely nothing wrong with that. In fact, I think part of being a great chef is being a great teacher. And Ramsay is a great teacher, whether or not that comes across in his programs. Teaching is my profession, so I should know something about it. Unfortunately, the US Ramsay empire seems more focused on the drama than on the teaching. I'd love to see MC become more about teaching, rather than begging for an apron.

                                        I'm also confused...do you actually know him? It seems like you're suggesting that the experience I had, which was with people who know him well, at his eponymous restaurant, was less valid than your experience, which was to watch him on TV. Do you genuinely believe that you have a good sense of a person's personality and worldview based only on seeing them on TV?

                                        I would, personally, far prefer to take the word of people who work with him on a daily basis than on the reality television producers. As I said before, I'm not defending his personality - there are many things that I don't like about him - but there are always two sides (or more) to a story, and to judge someone on the basis of how they appear on TV is shallow and naive.

                                        I'm pretty disappointed in the attitude towards Ramsay on CH these days. When you talk to chefs, especially Michelin starred ones, they recognise that holding 3 Michelin stars is close to culinary perfection, and that deserves respect. Even Heston Blumenthal, another 3 star chef, recently defended Ramsay against similar allegations to the ones you made. He felt that the press and public were quick to attack successful chefs without firsthand experience or understanding them in any way, and that it was unfair.

                                        You don't have to trust me, but if you don't trust Heston, that's pretty sad.

                                        1. re: guster4lovers
                                          c
                                          celfie Aug 22, 2010 11:23 AM

                                          it says something about his personality that he allows himself to be portrayed this way. pathetic mostly

                                          1. re: guster4lovers
                                            chicgail Aug 22, 2010 12:28 PM

                                            I'll give you that he can cook. I'll give you that he's a successful restaurateur and runs an efficient kitchen.

                                            But his willingness to show up like a pompous ass on show after show is either driven by his enormous ego or greed. And either way .... Let's just say I am not impressed with the gentleman.

                                            1. re: chicgail
                                              c
                                              celfie Aug 22, 2010 01:25 PM

                                              it's not greedy to want to make money
                                              but it is clear that he has absolutely no talent as a tv personality
                                              there was some hope on the original kitchen nightmares, but since then
                                              each and every show, in my opinion, has been a complete flop

                                              1. re: celfie
                                                chicgail Aug 22, 2010 03:12 PM

                                                <<it's not greedy to want to make money>>

                                                I agree. Bad choice of words. I know some of his restaurants aren't doing well. Maybe he needs the cash.

                                                1. re: celfie
                                                  g
                                                  guster4lovers Aug 22, 2010 07:56 PM

                                                  It is unfortunate that he is portrayed differently here than in the UK - I will give you that. But let me assure you of this - running a Michelin starred restaurant, or MANY Michelin starred restaurants doesn't come from a desire to make money. Most places that have 3 stars DON'T make money - hell, El Bulli, one of the restaurants that consistently is in the top three in the world, is now forced to close even though there are hundreds of thousands of people dying to eat there...but cooking at that level just isn't profitable. So many chefs, like Ramsay subsidise their love of cooking fine dining and to increase their reputation, which keeps their restaurants afloat and their staff in work by making TV programs. The list goes on and on, really...Blumenthal, Rhodes, Burton-Race, Ripert, Hubert Keller, Boulud, etc. And that's not even including all the people on food network who aren't Michelin rated.

                                                  However, his shows are anything but commercial flops, so he must be doing something "right" for the American market. Some people may find him annoying, but enough people like him or find him compelling that they keep making his shows...and people spend hours on food forums discussing them.

                                                  I am just sorry that you aren't able to see the series of brilliant shows he's done in the UK: The F Word, the UK Kitchen Nightmares, Gordon's Great Escape, etc. The F Word is one of our favourite food shows. They do occasionally show it on BBCA, although I'm sure telling you to watch it is just wasting my breath considering how you seem to view Ramsay.

                                                  I would take Ramsay over anyone on the food network any day. Maybe he doesn't need to make all these programs, but I really believe that he does it to make sure that his restaurants stay afloat, his staff stays in work, and his reputation develops.

                                                  Honestly, I'm tired of this argument. You have your opinion, which won't change, and I have my opinion, which won't change. We can argue until we're blue in the face (or fingers) and it won't change the other person's mind one bit. I hope there are people lurking on this thread who have a bigger picture view of Ramsay after reading this conversation...that's really the best outcome I can foresee.

                                                  I just wish that chefs wouldn't be held to a different standard than other artists. Take rock bands: Does anyone think a lead singer of a rock band who goes on TV or constantly tours, or does daytime talk shows or magazine interviews, etc. is a sell out? No - they see it as them building their career and raising awareness of their brand so that they can be commercially successful and continue to do what they love. It's the same thing for Ramsay. Hell, Ramsay, along with Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and Jamie Oliver (and others) have brought about a food revolution that changed the way Britain thinks about food and even what they eat. They have championed animal welfare, heirloom produce, gardening, community allotments, etc. and raised awareness to the point that British consumers are demanding to know more about what they eat and where it comes from. If that is his only legacy, then I think he's done a lot. Animal welfare and organic/fair trade standards are much higher, and sustainable high-welfare food is much more available than in the US. By making these programs, the public now demands that supermarkets and farmers change from a highly-processed factory farming mentality to one that is more environmentally friendly, one that is more healthy, and one that is better for people and animals. Anyone who promotes those causes should be regarded with at least a little admiration. Get beyond what you see on TV. If you watch Top Chef, you can see what an effect editing can have on public perception. A lot of what you see is the magical editing elves trying to manipulate the viewer into thinking a certain way. I'm asking you to see beyond that.

                                                  There, I'm done.

                                                  1. re: guster4lovers
                                                    LindaWhit Aug 22, 2010 08:04 PM

                                                    Very well said, guster4lovers.

                                                    1. re: guster4lovers
                                                      c
                                                      celfie Aug 23, 2010 05:00 AM

                                                      some how all the other tv chefs manage to keep some dignity
                                                      the argument about el bulli is just stupid. maybe if it was in the middle of the city and opened year round it would make more money

                                                      1. re: celfie
                                                        LindaWhit Aug 23, 2010 05:30 AM

                                                        the argument about el bulli is just stupid. maybe if it was in the middle of the city and opened year round it would make more money
                                                        ~~~~~~~~~~~
                                                        Actually, it probably wouldn't make more money. Unless Ferran Adria owned the land/building where the restaurant was in the city, he'd probably be paying a higher lease fee, so his profits, if any, would be even less.

                                                        1. re: celfie
                                                          chicgail Aug 23, 2010 09:46 AM

                                                          It must be that Ramsay or his agent/advisor like the TV persona because he continues to demonstrate it. And while that persona is somewhat less abrasive on the BBC-produced shows than the Fox-produced shows (big surprise there), he is still frequently arrogant and offensive.

                                                          At least he's gratuitously removing his shirt less on-camera than he used to on BBC.

                                                          It's just a question of degree of hubris and I do agree that if he didn't want to appear to be an arrogant a-h, he simply wouldn't do it. Jamie Oliver, for one, seems to have managed that pretty well.

                                              2. re: guster4lovers
                                                j
                                                jameshig Aug 22, 2010 08:16 PM

                                                I agree with what you say guster, but the bottom line is that it is HIS choice in how he is portrayed. If he didn't like his persona in the first season of hell's kitchen, he would have said, this isn't for me, piss off. He actually had another show earlier this year, 1 episode, something like "cooking with the stars." Thank jeebus it didn't stick!!!

                                                I have no doubt he was a great cook at one point, but he's no longer in the kitchen. I doubt he even has time to look at menus. He has a host of chef de cuisines and executive chefs to take care of all of that. I have no doubt that his restaurants are fabulous, but the only thing he can claim is ownership. It would be interesting to know the last time he actually got into a real kitchen and "worked the pass," or did the ordering- I bet it's been an incredibly long time.

                                                1. re: jameshig
                                                  g
                                                  guster4lovers Aug 22, 2010 09:58 PM

                                                  I agree that Ramsay is astute enough to understand what kind of an image he is presenting but there IS a big difference between his UK and US shows. He has clearly been advised that he can be sold better in the US by playing up to that 'angry chef' side of his character. He has made use of this image and it is a major part of his character, BUT you get a more complex view of his character on the UK shows. The UK shows demonstrate that he is not like that all of the time and that he is passionate about food. In one episode of the F Word he goes and works on the line in a dim sum restaurant and other kitchens such as an Indian restaurant (he does really well at some of them in a short space of time - dim sum was his toughest challenge). I love these segments as he gets all excited like a schoolkid about learning new skills.Try this link:
                                                  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XZIH6N...

                                                  The show you mentioned ("Cooking with the stars") was Ramsay's Cook-along. It was only supposed to be a one off show in the US but they did a whole series in the UK. Actually if you type in Ramsay Cook along into you tube he also did a series of helpful lessons for beginner chefs (for Channel 4). Once again - I will admit that the US version was not great - although it was similar to the original UK show.

                                                  In relation to whether or not he is still a great chef - is he supposed to have forgotten everything he spent 20 years building , and learning, just because he has made a few TV shows? I can not imagine Ramsay being able to hold himself back from being in the kitchen for more than a few weeks. He clearly loves the adrenalin of it and is a guy who is obsessed with being in control.

                                                  In addition I doubt there is a single top chef that is always in their restaurant expediting, assembling or cooking every meal. At MIchelin level dishes have to be broken down and division of labour is required - so very few Michelin chefs prep or cook all (if any) components of their dish once they achieve success. They invent the dish and then they train others to make each component and assemble. What you are buying is a unique dish created by a highly rated expert. That expert has then built a team who can execute their vision. The dish therefore becomes the team's dish rather than the chef's. Ramsay does that so well that he can afford to leave his restaurants and standards rarely fall. He also gives away the chance to be a head chef to younger chefs (many top chefs are possessive of this position and refuse to give their team a chance to shine).

                                                  I think the key word here is "bet". The fact is that you don't know for sure and neither do I. I choose to give the benefit of the doubt and I refuse to believe that an expert who spent 20 years building a career suddenly forgets how to be a great cook. I do know that his staff have told me that he does still work in the restaurant when he can - and is really keen to do so. However at the same time he is keen to show his chefs that he trusts them. I have no reason to doubt them.

                                          2. re: guster4lovers
                                            chris2269 Aug 15, 2010 02:44 AM

                                            Actually, it occurs to me that Aussie MC is a lot like Chopped in those respects. WOW couldn't disagree more. In my ranking MC Australia 1st MC UK 2nd, MC NZ 3rd, MC USA (and I live here) -2000

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