Saturday, February 16, 2008

Hell becomes Nightmare

Well, I was wrong about at least one thing that I was supposed to do yesterday. I had thought that Trent, Christian and I were going to drive to New Jersey to sell cheese and salumi (Charcuterie) at a staged green market that had something to do with Gordon Ramsay's cooking game show Hell's Kitchen. Instead, it turned out that the green market in Cranbury, New Jersey was part of the restaurant reality show called Kitchen Nightmares.

Now I understand that there are many readers of this blog who love or hate Kitchen Nightmares and so want to know everything that I know about what the show was about and so on. But I'm really not allowed to go into any of that (Yes, I signed something.). Heck, I took a lot of pictures but had to delete about 70 percent of them because they showed stuff and that I was not allowed to show. I was not even allowed to photograph Chef Ramsay to add to the celebrity chef photograph album that is at once my only source of spiritual inspiration and a handbook on how to achieve real greatness in contemporary Anglo-American culture :-)

ANYWAY; yes, I talked to Chef Ramsay and yes, he was very polite and engaging. I did not expect him to behave otherwise, frankly. While I don't like his Marco Pierre White act on Hell's Kitchen, I've always known that his chef-embraces-the-dark-side was put on for the amusement of the cuisotainment crowd (my neologism, thank you).

In other words, his act is an act.

And let's face it, the man is a serious practitioner of the craft. Anyone who cops a three star rating from Guide Michelin automatically gets my respect for his skill.

Although Chef Ramsay and I did not talk about anything of particular moment, you may be interested to read what Trent had to say after the chef began to express interest in our cheese.

The following is not a literal transcription of the conversation...

Chef Ramsay: So what is this? (points to cheese on board)

Trent Hendricks: That is my cheddar and it is better than anything made in Britain.

CR: Well, let's have a taste. (Picks up piece and chews it thoughtfully) Well, you are right. That cheddar is as good as anything in Britain. (He's smiling, clearly amused by Trent's hubris.) We invented it after all.

TH: No, you are wrong. It is better than British cheddar. You guys invented it but we perfected it.

At this point I thought to chime in by saying "Yeah, just like the Brits wrote the magna carta and we perfected it with the Constitution" But since the chef appeared to be choking (with laughter) and I did not want to steal Trent's moment I held my tongue. And yes, it was all filmed and the voice track recorded so perhaps you'll get to see it when the show airs.

Here are some slides from yesterday. Double click the box to view a larger version.


Maryann said...

I knew he was a softy when I saw him on a show with his Mum :)
Thanks for the photos.
Plus, he's just so damn cute!

Don Luis said...

You're killing me Bob.

The salumi and cheese look great. Except for the occasional care package (shipped at astronomical rates) and what people smuggle in their luggage when they visit, I can't get any of this stuff in Puerto Rico. There's just no demand for it. Perhaps in San Juan, but I don't get there often.

And I do watch Hell's Kitchen. It's pure epicaricacy. Most of the contestants are not qualified to flip burgers, let alone run a restaurant.

I also watch American Chopper and Iron Chef America.

fiat lux said...

I occasionally watch Kitchen Nightmares. I don't watch Hell's Kitchen. Of the two, I'm glad you guys ended up on the former.

The Foodist said...

Did you at least get Rhodans or Godzillas autograph?! geez Bob, get a move on it... these guys have a lot of villages to topple!

boberica said...

I gotta be honest, I watched both versions of nightmares, and have seen hell's kitchen....I truly thought this guy was a huge flake.
Then I read an article in the times last year about his humble beginnings, and understood his feelings on food a little better.
The guy's incredibly passionate, and I gather that his cookstaff absolutely love working for him.
That hair, however, is a totally different subject

Joseph Bayot said...

I think the point you made about receiving three Michelin stars is an important one to remember, in case anyone ever questions whether he's really as good as his shows play him out to be.

He really does seem to have a great sense of humor, based on his interaction with his guests on the f word. It's nice to hear that anecdote.

I'm looking forward to seeing you guys on the show. Maybe you guys will develop a British following haha

blondee47 said...

What part of the show did ur friend Trent portray at the market...was the market the feature or just part of a shopping spree for the show?

blondee47 said...

okay --all i saw was Gordon Ramsay highlighted so of course i didn't read the first line of the I know the answer to my foolish question

Deborah Dowd said...

You didn't get to hear the f-word once? No one will ever believe that you met Gordon Ramsey unless you have photographic proof. Loved the repartee between Trent and Gordon(althought I think you should've made your Magna Carta point...might have elicited a f&@!) and hope it survives the final edit!