Hell’s Kitchen and Gordon Ramsay

I happen to be a fan of the chef Gordon Ramsay.  He’s a fairly young individual with successful restaurants, many successful TV shows, both in the USA and in the UK.  You may be familiar with “Hell’s Kitchen”, or “Ramsey’s Kitchen Nightmares”.  It is very clear he knows how to cook and what is required to run a restaurant.  What he has in culinary talent and ability, he greatly lacks in social skills.  In fact, there are many colorful words that can describe Chef Ramsey, many which he utters four or five times a minute, on average.

So I may be a “fan”, it doesn’t necessarily mean I approve of his methods.  Now it’s obvious he is encouraged to be the world’s biggest jerk as it’s obvious it brings in the ratings and the producers love it.  However, it most certainly lowers my opinion of him as a human being every time I see him lose his cool and treat other people with no more respect than a spilled mess on the floor.  While I certainly agree that the nature of the job of chef certainly requires discipline and order in a kitchen, what Ramsey clear does not understand is that constant negative re-enforcement actually lowers the quality of work in someone.  This isn’t the military, and deadly bullets aren’t flying everywhere.  Such severe environments require severe training.  However, cooking for someone does not demand a loss of dignity.

Now I’m not saying to Molly-coddle people.  Oh no, I’m greatly respectful of Chef Ramsay’s brutal honesty.  The big problem is with his method.  Do you want to bring out the best in people?  It’s obvious and simple, you don’t treat them like crap.  How do you be blunt and firm, but still be a human being?  It’s very simple:

  • First, you ditch the filthy mouth.  If you can’t form a complete sentence without having to insert a word that is so filthy and foul that it alone stinks of sewage, then maybe you shouldn’t be talking.  It takes intelligence to form a cohesive sentence designed to express thought, emotion, instruction, and intelligence.  For a man who does not tolerate short cuts or sloppiness, his filthy mouth betrays him and wreaks of sloppiness.
  • You reprove or rebuke the subject without anything else but what the problem is, how the problem needs to be corrected, and why it is so important to be remedied.
  • This is most important.  Encourage the subject expressing to them their potential, and what you know they are capable of.  In other words, positive re-enforcement.  The key is doing this without marginalizing the reason for the rebuke.  If Chef Ramsey had this step alone, he’d have the best out of people and less of them either giving up, or suddenly performing poorly.  Chef Ramsey claims that cooking is an art and an emotional one, yet he only spews vitriol and negativity.  Ask anyone with training in psychology and I would guarantee that more and more positive results would come of just a slight change in tactics.  However, do not confuse this with massaging egos or Molly-Coddling.  Doing that is also just as bad, if not worse.  Honesty is the most important here.  Nevertheless, the teacher must let the student know he is not their enemy but someone who is trying to improve them.  Chef Ramsey has a lot to learn in this area.
  • Encourage when something is done right, then say they are capable of doing it even better, if appropriate.  I have seen Chef Ramsey do this, but only on rare occasions.  Usually he’s red faced, spitting in a trash can, swearing his filthy mouth off at someone he obviously enjoys belittling.  Which is a shame.  On the other hand, I must admit, a few people were pretty deserving of this, as their over-inflated egos needed a reality check.  Nevertheless, “bad form!”

Then there’s the need for humility, because nobody is perfect.  It seems that two of Chef Ramsay’s restaurants are having financial troubles.  Does another high profile chef have to come in and fix this restaurant nightmare?  Maybe, a little humble pie just might do the trick.

I pity any woman brave enough to date him.  I’m sure he’s quite capable of warmth and love, but swimming through his poor temper and filthy mouth may just be too stressful for a woman.  I don’t know.

Frankly, I think Chef Ramsay ought to be sent to a finishing school to teach him how to speak like a civil human being and to treat others like human beings, and not drones put there to satisfy his ego.  Now that would be a show I’d watch.

UPDATE!!!!

It turns out this is a new thing for Chef Ramsay.  I watched a very old episode (perhaps the first year) of “Kitchen Nightmares” and Chef Ramsay was kind, yet firm, patient, considerate, and even compassionate to those in the restaurant he was helping to improve (the ugly purple Moore’s Restaurant on a golf course in the UK).  It was amazing, almost day and night.  People were smiling and not stressed out.  Everything worked out beautifully.  Unfortunately, I can see why they “jerked up” Ramsay.  The show was fairly boring.

3 Responses to “Hell’s Kitchen and Gordon Ramsay”

  1. [this is good] I’m a huge fan of Chef Ramsay and his shows, particularly Hell’s Kitchen! The hilarity that ensues from the blunders of some of the most arrogant-wannabe-chefs are really funny! But it also has some very moving moments which sometimes led me to tears. One of the latest was the second episode’s surprising twist in the elimination. Ji, who quickly became my favorite in the show, withdrawn herself from the competition because her injury might affect her team’s performance drastically. Gordon gave some very kind words to her and even let her keep her jacket because of the talent and dedication that she showed. What Ji did was very noble IMHO, and I hope that they would bring her back to the show. I found that she has a web site, with photos and you can email and even vote as to whether to have her back to the show!

  2. I’m afraid Hell’s Kitchen is just a bit too “Reality Show” for me.  I prefer the Kitchen Nightmares.  That Ramsey is sure one complicated bloke.  Although, you must admit that he can spot arrogance a mile away.

  3. [this is good] I about it still heard nothing

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