In recent days, a super cut of Gordon Ramsay meltdowns, compiled by England’s Channel 4, has been circulating on Twitter. For nearly three minutes, the world’s most overdramatic celebrity chef hurls F-bombs and insults the body weight of various chefs and restaurateurs who, for whatever professional reasons, decided to subject themselves to his bullying. Honestly, it doesn’t even matter which of Ramsay’s shows the clips came from ‚ they’re all temperamentally the same.
Many of these tantrums are old, but that hasn’t stopped industry pros from jumping on Ramsay’s (and Channel 4’s) case about why such garbage still gets airtime today — an era when chefs have come to agree that there’s no place for barbarians, tyrants, or to borrow Anthony Bourdain’s word, “meatheads.” The first scathing remarks were unleashed right after Channel 4’s tweet went up (from people like Observer restaurant critic Jay Rayner and London restaurateur Stevie Parle). But the attacks have continued even up through Friday afternoon (see Kenji López-Alt’s contribution below).
Vice’s Munchies also followed up on Wednesday by asking more chefs their thoughts on the future of the kitchen culture Ramsay represents. Trevor Gulliver, co-founder of London’s acclaimed St. John, told the site that if your restaurant management style is to get angry and be “driven by television,” it’s amazingly “counterproductive,” adding that the “shouty chef … I guess [will] always exist,” but that Ramsay’s model is “pretty much an anachronism these days.” Dominique Ansel added that he trained in French kitchens where being burned by spatulas was “the norm,” so he wants the polar opposite of that: “Swearing and shouting will only cause your cooks to become intimidated and affect the quality of their work and productivity.”
The industry’s tide has been running against kitchen abuse for a while now, and in many critics’ eyes, Ramsay somehow represents a potent last vestige of it. It’s difficult to say if mocking Ramsay’s methods as aberrant and outdated can help lessen their influence, but if TV ratings are any indication, there are still plenty of people who could stand to be reminded that Ramsay-style shout-fests look increasingly idiotic in professional kitchens.