Posts Tagged ‘Gordon Ramsay’

Big Chef Takes On Little Chef

January 20, 2009

The Great British Food Fight, alternatively referred to as ‘more cookery rubbish’ by the public at large, kicked off last night with Heston Blumenthal’s much-touted attempt at reinvigorating Little Chef’s branding, by way of the focal point of their operation – their rancid menu.

Like Blumenthal, I’ve not been inside a Little Chef in twenty-odd years. When Channel 4 eventually ventured in, it was both heart-warming and disturbing to see that absolutely nothing had changed in there. Not only in terms of the style of the interior, but also the actual interiors themselves. No broken chairs or peeling wallpaper appears to have been fixed. Now, this may not be true of every branch. Channel 4, devious bastards that they are, are probably using one bad example to tarnish the whole change. All the same, wilting pink walling isn’t what you want to see as you eat a leathery mixed grill.

Speaking of the food, it’s hard to defend what Little Chef were putting out. Hardened, overcooked, frozen meat. The fish pie looked like mixed bodily-fluid with the skin of an old woman floating on the surface. The Hawaiian Burger looked like roadkill. Heston and pals even gagged as they sipped the coffee. It could have been pantomime snobbishness, but it looked the real deal. Even as someone who despises the meaningless, middle-class bullshit of the word ‘foodie’, the food here simply looked unappetising

The strange thing with Heston Blumenthal is that, despite his running one of the most celebrated ponce-kitchens in the world, he comes across like a very decent bloke (and the kind of boss we all wish we had). He reminds me most of certain posh kids at secondary school who were almost embarrassed of their accents and sought to rid themselves of their upper-middle class roots by selling hash by the teenth in the playground. He comes across, essentially, as a stoner schoolchild with a frying pan.

Heston B’s approach to food is, fundamentally, at odds with what Little Chef seek to do. They’re operating in completely opposing markets – as Channel 4 knew full well when setting this absurd venture up. And fireworks have already started to fly, with the show’s one special ingredient turning out not to be the not-very-nutty professor Heston, but rather the Head Honcho at Little Chef, Ian Pegler. Pegler gifts Channel 4 the tools with which to make entertaining television, and from the moment he refused to give the company’s GP (or any figures at all, as it turned out) to Blumenthal, we knew we were on to a winner.

Ian is the anti-Alan Sugar, by way of Alan Partridge. From his bewilderingly misplaced use of the term ‘bluesky thinking’ to his assertion that Heston B could do absolutely anything he wanted with the company (so long as he didn’t change the menu), the befuddled swine was a trove of amusing vignettes, no moreso than the point towards the end at which, when pressed, he hung up on Heston Blumen-heck in a mild panic – a comedy moment which had to be seen
to be believed.

So far it’s a curious little programme this. You can’t help but feel HB is the only one of Channel 4’s four chefs who could actually do something with the idea. Hugh FW would start blubbing straight off the bat, Ramsay would fail, then blame everyone around him and Oliver would fail whilst pretending he’d succeeded, playing some Snow Patrol over the end credits by way of insisting he’d changed the world.

It’s interesting watching snobbishness battling inverse snobbishness and so I’ll watch this through to the end. It’s worth it for the guilty pleasure of the hilarious hatchet job on Ian Pegler, which would be cruel rather than amusing, if only it wasn’t Ian himself himself holding the hatchet.

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NewsGush: Ramsay’s Cookalong Dead

November 25, 2008

Poor old Gordon Ramsay’s PR people. And a twinge of sympathy, if you will, for old scrotum-face.

First his indiscretions are made public by the gutter press and then his ratings come in quite some way below expectations. It’s not often that Gordon gets two doses of bad publicity in a week, and it feels like the world’s started turning in another direction all of a sudden.

Are people sick of his barking, bullying, self-righteous schtick? Have his vainglorious, tedious televisual displays of self-love finally rubbed his public up the wrong way?

Have the people, after all this time, finally realised he’s a complete and utter arsehole?

Not sure if you’ve seen Cookalong Live, but it’s a fine example of a presenter being prised into a format they really, really can’t handle. For a reference point, think Davina on her eponymous chatshow as she made millions change channels, as they realised there was less to her than they’d originally thought.

Ramsay is forced to be nice to people whilst working within a very limited timeframe and he can’t handle it. I watched the first episodes and found myself feigning a posh, Glasgow-inflected accent, shouting ‘Ey! Big boys! Where’re your balls?!’ as he fluffed link after link and hopped up and down on the spot in pure panic so much that my household now bursts out laughing every time we see him. ‘Hippity Hop’ we call him. Cookalong is a hop off more than it’s a cooking show.

From 11.3% of the viewership to 6.3% is quite a shocking drop over the course of three weeks, but if  you’re hoping we’ve seen the back of him, you’ll be disappointed as he, Oliver and Fearnley-Whittingstall return to our screens again sooner than you may have expected with another series of patronising lectures and book advertisements in the coming months.

Hooray! Yes?

Yes?

Yes?

NewsGush: Friday Night With Jonathan Arghhhh…

October 17, 2008

Oh Christ. It’s bad enough usually, but tonight Jonathan Ross is hosting his mate Wicky Gervais in what’s becoming an annual slime-festival. Don’t they ever learn, these people?

[Gervais]… admits to being a big X Factor fan: “I get caught up in it. When it’s a genuine human interest story, I cry.

“It’s very well done, they press the right buttons emotionally.”

… Ricky says.

What the fuck? What’s wrong with him?

Wicky’s got a film to promote but to heap further nausea on proceedings, celebrity bully and all round complete and utter cock Gordon Ramsay will be interviewed to inject a little bit of Nazi P.E. Teacher comedy to proceedings.

No doubt someone will say a rude word! And they might be a bit rude to each other! Oh, what larks!

Thankfully, the guest roster is completed by the brilliant Sarah Silverman. She’s a favourite round my house. Her sitcom was great and her stand up film Jesus Is Magic made me laugh my arse off.

Alright, I admit it. I fancy her.

NewsGush – Too Many Cooks

August 27, 2008

Great news for morons from Channel 4, home of morons. As part of the Autumn schedule we’ll have even more cookery on the box as Gordon Ramsay swears very impressively (and live, dangerously enough) whilst Oliver will try and fail to change the world. Again.

Jamie Oliver travels to Rotherham to launch his latest campaign and face some of his fiercest critics in four-part documentary, Jamie’s Ministry of Food. The Channel 4 chef wants to recruit the locals to his drive to encourage home cooking at the expense of unhealthy ready meals and has taken the wartime ministry as his inspiration.

Gordon Ramsay will also be back aiming to extend the nation’s culinary repertoire, this time with a full seven-part series of Live Cookalong. 

So, if you love watching arseholes cook stuff while you eat cereal, you’ll be well catered for.

Bafta Television Awards, 2008

April 21, 2008

Harry Hill

Sunday evening and time for some glitz and glamour. I stuck on my dinner jacket and dicky bow, turned out the lights, put out a few nibbles and took some notes on the proceedings, so we can all remember the highs of last night’s wonderful Bafta awards. What a night! What a show! What a collection of humorous acceptance speeches!

If I’m honest, I half-watched it whilst sitting in my pants and reading the paper.

Best actor
Andrew Garfield – Boy A
(Channel 4)

I didn’t watch Boy A when it went out. The only one I did watch of those nominated was Secret Life (the one about the paedophile with the elastic band). That was good and should’ve won, in the expert opinion of someone like me who couldn’t be arsed to watch all the others. The acceptance speech was a bumbling, heart-warming mess, and I wish the young bastard well.

Best actress
Eileen Atkins – Cranford
(BBC One)

Won by that woman out of Gosford Park. Again, I didn’t see Cranford. Was it any good? Was Atkins in Tenko? I think she was in Tenko.
Dame Dench was in the same thing, was nominated, but didn’t win it. Good. Give it to someone else for a change, Dench. Gina McKee should’ve won it, as she was the only one nominated who was in a programme I might actually have watched but can’t remember due to drunkenness (The Street). Plus, she was good in Brass Eye and Naked.

Best entertainment performance
Harry Hill – Harry Hill’s TV Burp
(ITV1)

Hooray! I like TV Burp. Even though – in my paranoid mind – he reads WWM and nicks some of our ideas, like Charlie Brooker and Sam Woolaston from the newspaper. Except they probably don’t.

In fact, I’d put money on the fact that they don’t.

Thank God JLC and Alan Carr didn’t win it. Amstell just missed out, which will at least give him material for his egocentric (but admittedly very amusing) gags on Never Mind The Buzzcocks.

Best comedy performance
James Corden – Gavin and Stacey
(BBC Three)

This was very strange. The bumbling chubbyman came onstage, all sweetness and light and made a lovely speech about his co-writer (her from Saxondale). He wrapped it up with ‘not funny, but true’. Emotive and nice, setting the scene perfectly for his fuck up later. I’ll get to that in a bit.

How he beat Merchant, Mitchell and Capaldi I’ll never know. I don’t watch Gavin & Stacey and from the nomination clips, I’m glad. Where the other three nominations all had clips demonstrating the quality of the comedy up for an award, Gavin & Stacey’s featured a fat man in some girls’ pants. Hmmm.

Best single drama
The Mark Of Cain
(Channel 4)

Didn’t see it. It was about war, wasn’t it? Good, good.

Also nominated were three other dramas I’ve not seen. Again – sorry.

Best drama serial
Britz
(Channel 4)

Didn’t see it. However, I now know that the main lady in it looks bloody lovely in a halter-neck frock. Apparently it was about suicide bombers and stuff.

I didn’t see any of the others and don’t know what they were about.

Best drama series
The Street
(BBC One)

I saw one of these. I definitely saw one of these. The one with David Thewlis acting as though he was a twin that had died, when he was really the twin that hadn’t died. I even reviewed it somewhere. It was good.

I didn’t see any of the Life on Mars business as John Simm makes me shudder, and I didn’t see the others, so clearly the right one won.

Best continuing drama
Holby City
(BBC One)

Napoleon’ll be happy, I thought to myself. Obviously Eastenders was robbed.

Best factual series
The Tower: A Tale of Two Cities
(BBC One)

Guess what? I didn’t see it. It looked very worthy and, if I’m honest, boring. Who wants to be bored? Not me. Should’ve featured zombies.

I’m just glad Merton being a berk in China didn’t win. And I’m even gladder that Meet The Natives didn’t win. The former because is was more about Merton than China, the latter because it was a wholesale rip off of something Donal MacIntyre did much better a few months before to little acclaim. Tribe should’ve won, because Bruce Parry is a real man. He drinks the blood of beasts and takes hallucinogens with mean men.

Best entertainment programme
Harry Hill’s TV Burp
(ITV1)

Hooray! A good choice, and Hill had the presence of mind to give us a few catchphrases rather than the faux-modesty and badly prepared gags everyone else attempted. He also beat Britain’s Got Talent and Strictly Come Dancing, the evil reality shows that give pieces of art like Britain’s Worst Teeth a bad name.

Have I Got News For You missed out but it won’t exactly hurt them given that it’ll run on and on until they’re all dead. And probably beyond, with David Mitchell and Russell Brand doing, respectively, Oxbridge intelligensia versus working class humorist.

Best situation comedy
Peep Show
(Channel 4)

Glad this won. The IT Crowd isn’t really my cup of milky tea and The Thick of It, despite excellent scipting/improvisation is an incredibly sneery piece of work. Benidorm remains unwatched, for me. I made the unqualified decision that it’d be rubbish before it started. Was I right? Anyone?

Best comedy programme
Fonejacker
(Channel 4)

Oh for Christ’s sake. Fonejacker is a tired concept. The Jerky Boys were doing this ten years ago.

Armstrong & Miller, Ponderland and Star Stories were all better.

Audience award
Gavin & Stacey
(BBC Three)

As mentioned before, I’m not bothered by Gavin & Stacey. Tucked away on BBC3, it’s off my radar like the Lily Allen show and Alexa Chung’s new vehicle ‘The Wall’. I know Corden and his skinny mate from their rubbish turn on Big Brother’s Big Mouth. Corden, arriving on stage, blurted ‘How can we win Best Comedy Performance and this, but not be eligible for Best Sitcom??’

Tumbleweed breezed through the studio. His co-writer (her out of Saxondale) told him off. Everyone went red. Even better – what was the next category? Best sitcom! ‘That’s unfortunate’, said Norton, helping to diffuse the tension.

The only point of interest all evening.

Best single documentary
Lie of the Land
(Channel 4)

Didn’t see it. It was about farmers or something.

Best feature
Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares
(Channel 4)

Oh for god’s sake. Don’t encourage the forehead-trenched, pigeon chested buffoon. We want him off our TVs, not on.

Best international show
Heroes
(BBC Two)

Not seen it. Looks rubbish. Was doing the crossword by now.

However, was amused by Alan ‘Jim Robinson’ Dale remarking that international seemed only to mean ‘American’. Good man.

Best specialist factual
Andrew Marr’s History of Modern Britain
(BBC Two)

Attempting 3 down.

Best current affairs
China’s Stolen Children – A Dispatches Special
(Channel 4)

7 across.

Best news coverage
Sky News – Glasgow Airport Attack
(Sky News)

Having a look at the Sudoku.

Best sport
ITV F1: Canadian Grand Prix Live
(ITV1)

Deciding Sudoku is too hard.

Best interactivity
Spooks Interactive
(BBC One)

Eh?

Long Service
Bruce Forsyth

Oh Christ… Bored and turning off.

*Click*

 

 

Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares USA

February 21, 2008

Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares USA 

The USA incarnation of Kitchen Nightmares seems to be a lot more brutal than its English counterpart.

‘Why?’ I hear you cry… well let Piqued explain with his wordz, right here.

When Gordon trundles into an American eatery they’ve little idea what to expect. They may have heard that he swears and can get a bit cross sometimes but his Michelin stars and success over here, if known, are ignored. To them he’s (annoyingly) referred to as ‘Chef Ramsey’ and a TV crew is filming him and them. That’s it.

From here on in we follow the original UK pattern – save a different initial attitude for reasons just cited. Restaurant owners seem to be timid, waiting staff thick and the chefs lazy, typically arrogant and obnoxious. The latter carry on as if they quite literally own the place and do as little as possible to get by whilst the owner wrings their hands over mounting bills.

Last night was a key example, the Chef was all full of piss and wind and we discovered that, in addition to producing horrific food, he was making mash potato out of a packet, none of the veg was fresh and his kitchen was filthier than Jordan’s gusset. Said Chef, when caught out, began posturing and giving it a load of old flannel. Cue Gordon really losing his rag, despite quite threatening posturing from the Chef. The stalemate was broken following the sacking of a light-fingered member of kitchen staff and by Gordon reorganising the whole kitchen, menus and restaurant décor, which he does every week…

But unlike the UK model, after all the yelling and learnt mistakes the USA version inspires dreadful gloopy pathos then endless apologies and creepy praise in Chef Ramsey’s direction, which are in sufficient quantities to inspire the viewer to projectile vomit. Whilst we get this to a certain degree in the UK Nightmares, the Americans like nothing more than syrupy oozing sentiment. Even the gangsta Chef was all wet eyed and simpering by the end. It’s almost as if they thrive on being proved wrong.

Americans smother themselves in a veneer of niceties – it’s virtually impossible to tell if an American, on first meeting without preconceptions, is decent or a fucking right wing ignoramus. Worryingly, this veneer of niceties seems to coat anyone who has been living in the US for over five years, wherever they’re originally from. This may have something to do with immigration policy and the pledge of allegiance to the flag which encourages all residents of the USA to BE American, it’s something the UK is seeking to emulate, but that’s another matter entirely…

Anyway, the restaurant closed after five months and everyone lost their jobs, except Gordon.

Bye y’all, y’all be having a good day now…

*bang*

The F Word

May 9, 2007

 The F Word

Ramsay. He’s an interesting fellow, old Ramsay. Where Jamie Oliver isn’t just a narrow eyed, chubby cheeked berk, but actually has talent, drive and passion, Ramsay, it would seem, isn’t just a scrotum-faced sac of testosterone. He may resemble a huge testicle squirting spermy insults into the faces of innocents, but credit where it’s due, the fellow knows what he’s doing. He’s got ten michelin stars for Christ’s sake. In these foodie times that’s akin to having found ten holy chalices.But still, there are problems. I have no problem with swearing, and I have no problem with confrontation, but every once in a while the mask slips a little and we see a well of rage beneath the choreographed bad-mouthing and at any moment we sense he could smack out. Is that choreographed as well? Or is it this dangerous aspect that makes Gordon appealing? For me, it does the opposite. It makes him look like my old P.E. teacher, and he was a cunt.Ramsay teaches people, has a position of authority over them. That gives him the perfect opportunity to humiliate them. Throw in a camera crew and the opportunity multiplies. Watching a recent Kitchen Nightmare, we were subjected to Ramsay mocking a chef far further down the food chain for never having cooked mussels.

‘You’ve never cooked mussels?!’

‘No.’

‘YOU’VE NEVER COOKED MUSSELS?’

‘No.’

‘YOU’VE NEVER COOKED MUSSELS?’

‘NO. I’VE NEVER COOKED MUSSELS’

At this point Gordon proceeded to start doing a ‘joey’ impression at the chef, who reciprocated the gesture, and any semblance of adult behaviour disappeared. It’s only fair to point out that GR was berating the ‘chef’ of what was little more than a greasy spoon during this tirade, so his not having cooked mussels wasn’t exactly a massive shock.

Herein lies the problem. Walking around and calling people ‘big boy’, telling them to ‘stop playing with their doo dah and put the fucking tortellini on’ and continually (and I mean endlessly) asking them ‘where their balls are’ is exactly what a games teacher would do. And what’s the big deal anyway? Tortellini, mussels? Who gives a shit?

Now we’re into the second series of the F Word. This consists of Gordon wandering around a conceptual restaurant, teaching normal people to cook. With bursts of the worst theme music I’ve ever heard in my life buzzing in unneccessarily at any given moment.

GR arrived in the kitchen this week and slammed down the bloody carcass of a deer, shouting ‘THERE’S DINNER’. Echoes of Brando in Streetcar Named Desire. Primal man and his bloody package. Yeah – terrifying. The problem is, the highlights in his schoolboy hair rather shattered the image.

This week it was a group of ex-Etonians who Gordon quite rightly tore to pieces. They were put there for a reason – to make Gordon with his working-class authenticity (where the fuck did he get that accent then, big boy?) look good. And they couldn’t have chosen better targets from his bile – one of the chaps had an opening spiel that ran thus: ‘Yah, Dad set me up on a pretty solid share scheme so I get a pretty healthy income from that’. To top that off, he resembled a rapist.

Gordon also cooked a dessert with Natasha Kaplinsky, a woman so artifiicially constructed that I have genuinely forgotten what happened in her ten minute segment. Did she even speak, or did she stand there with those reptilian eyes, staring the camera out? I can’t for the life of me recall. By the time we got to the section where Gordon caught a facehugger in Lapland and cooked it, I’d only just come round. This section of course featured the obligatory Gordon topless shot. Every Gordon show features Gordon topless. He must have it carved into his contract in the producer’s blood.

An hour is a long time to spend on a cooking show, so obviously some junk is going to get chucked in. In series one, Ramsay had the excellent Giles Coren to fall back on for small pieces to camera about this and that, but he made his mark and has his own (far superior) TV shows to make these days, so Ramsay has called in Janet Street Porter (argh!) to fill his shoes. If anyone can tell me what was going on in her attempted assassination of Prince Charles’ food range last night, please give me a shout at the email address in the top right margin. She seemed to be trying to fit two ‘Supersize Me’ type shows into a ten minute slot and believe me when I tell you, it was a garbled fucking mess. With her narrating it, it was always going to be.

Finally, on top of this (where does he find the time? Oh yes, he’s got a whole bloody hour to fill) Gordon interviewed that very current, very ‘now’ comedic figure, Dawn French. Is that the best they could do? I know she’s still working (if you can call The Vicar of Dibley working, rather than just turning up) and she clearly digs her food, but really – how are three separate interviews with her over an hour possibly going to be any fun? Dawn has kissed Gordon! Ha ha ha! Dawn and Gordon keep saying ‘fanny’! Great! Oh look! They’re kissing! Again! Faaantastic.

The problem is, I’ll probably keep watching. The food is good and the format is hit and miss, with more hits than misses. If only Gordo would stop behaving like a 12 year old who’s taken crack instead of his normal Ritalin dose it might be a bit more bearable.