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Interview: Gordon Ramsay

Gordon Ramsay on vegetarians and food critics


 SH: Do you like cooking for vegetarians?

GR: I love vegetarians. I f****** love them. My biggest frustration about vegetarians is when they sit and tell me they’re vegetarian from the age of 2. Now you really know what you’re eating at the age of 2, don’t you?! It’s the influence from their parents. When a guy or girl turns vegetarian at the age of 15 or 16 on the back of watching a program with chickens then that’s their call, or for health reasons or diet requirements, of course. My frustration with vegetarians, when I had my outburst years ago, was with chefs that treat vegetarians like lepers, because they give them the same old c***, the same risotto. We have developed the most amazing vegetarian menus over the last 10 years, whether it’s a tasting menu of 8-9 courses with tomatoes or the most amazing cèpe risotto or baked vegetable lasagne finished with truffles. And if a table of six is eating in my restaurant this evening and out of six guests one is a vegetarian, they’ll all start with a little vegetarian amuse-gueule which puts them at ease.


SH: Speaking of customers, have you ever found celeb customers difficult to deal with?
GR: To be honest, no. Food critics are more difficult. We’ve got celebrity food critics now. They're on TV, so any form of anonymity they’ve lost, and they’re more forward - they’re starting to write forwards for chefs’ cookbooks. A.A. Gill recently wrote the cook book The Wolseley. How can you go into a restaurant and judge? It’s far easier to throw him out, which I did - ten years ago. 

SH: Can you give us a couple of tips on how to cook simply?

GR: First and foremost, it’s better to spend an extra couple of pounds on the ingredients. The better the ingredient, the less it needs doing to it. I’m not very good at dinner parties, I f******* hate dinner parties, I’m not very good! When I have to suffer them, honestly I cringe – it’s far too competitive. I always suggest you delegate the starter or the dessert and just focus on one dish and have fun with it. The secret of cooking at home is utilizing waste – whether it’s trimmings from a celeriac or carrots, onions, etc, there’s always something to do with them. That helps to learn the values of respect and not waste anything.


Sarah Horrocks
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