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Food

InterviewGordon Ramsay: “Social Media is a Massive Benefit to Chefs”

Words by Rob Chilton

We talk to the legendary chef on his most recent visit to Dubai.

Celebrity chef, Gordon Ramsay stopped by Dubai recently to officially launch his new restaurant Hell’s Kitchen at Caesar’s Palace.

We sat down with him to chat fitness, social media and being criticised by his own children.

Gordon Ramsey Hell's Kitchen

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Supplied Gordon Ramsay welcomes people to the grand opening of Hell's Kitchen Dubai

HOW’S YOUR FITNESS THESE DAYS?

I snapped my Achilles tendon but I’m back to full fitness now. I have a new Swedish trainer who’s extraordinary.

The only problem is that we’re up at 4am, training for an hour on Monday, Wednesday and Friday and then we do a long bike ride on Sunday.

I’m planning to do a 70.3 [half Ironman] in June and then a full Ironman in Barcelona in October, fingers crossed.

DO YOU NEED THAT TIME TO SWITCH OFF YOUR CHEF BRAIN?

I absolutely use fitness as a form of relaxation, which sounds bizarre. But it allows me to get out of that work zone and switch off.

WHAT COUNTRY’S CUISINE IMPRESSED YOU RECENTLY?

I love the melting pot of Moroccan cuisine. I was there in January filming for National Geographic, foraging for wild mushrooms. The food influences there are incredible.

ANYWHERE ELSE?

I also love Vietnamese food because there’s no dairy. Every chef should try and cook with no dairy, just using pastes and broths instead.

There’s no refrigeration so they use fresh produce twice a day.

WHERE WAS YOUR LAST TRIP?

I was in Alaska two weeks ago and spent some time with the Klinkit community which was amazing. I went into the back garden of the head of the community. Where we might have a barbecue, he had a smokehouse.

His 10-year-old daughter was sitting there, plaiting the intestines of a seal she had shot that morning. I thought she was plaiting hair.

Some people may think eating seal intestines is vulgar but it’s how that community survives through winter, nothing goes to waste. We visited islands in Alaska where there are more bears than people. I was blown away by it.

HOW DO YOU SPEND YOUR FREE TIME IN DUBAI?

I like to go diving. The water is warm so no wetsuit, and the visibility is amazing. My children learned to dive and got their PADI at ages 10 and 11.

I wanted them to learn about the importance of the sea bed and plankton. And if they’re diving it means they’re not on an iPad.

HOW WOULD YOU FEEL IF YOUR CHILDREN WANTED TO BECOME CHEFS?

I’ve never sent my son or daughters into the kitchen, none of them have trained under me. I told my kids to go and learn with someone else and then come back to me.

If they worked for me I think it would put too much onus on my team to be nice to them: ‘Oh it’s Ramsay’s kid, I can’t tell them off.’

I’m very honest with my chefs so if my children came back to work for me one day I’d talk to them like I do with all my chefs: straight to the point. I’d love one of them to do it.

They’re all incredibly passionate about food and they all can cook. They were cooking scrambled eggs at the ages of two and three.

HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT SOCIAL MEDIA AND RESTAURANTS?

Social media has been a massive benefit to chefs. Anybody with a phone is a critic now and I love that, I welcome the immediate feedback.

We wake up every day with the ambition to make people happy but you can’t please everybody. Even my daughters criticise my burgers!

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