The advent of cable TV created a fertile environment for specialty channels, and one of the favorite subjects is food. We all love to eat, so what is not better than being treated to gourmet delights in our living room. Thirty years ago the term Celebrity Chef was a rarefied and lofty position, in fact I can only think of two names that made it onto TV with any regularity, Graham Kerr, ‘the galloping gourmet’ and the embodiment of Mrs Beeton herself, Julia Child.

Today we have many Chefs with ‘celeb’ status, and one of the most well known, and likely most outspoken is British chef Gordon Ramsay. His culinary pedigree is without question, in his career he has earned 12 Michelin Stars, which is approximately 12 more than most accomplished chefs. Ramsay is a frequent TV star, though mostly the programs are not showcases of his cooking, rather his unique and colorful character. I was living in Canada when I first came across Gordon Ramsay, it was the first time I had ever seen a program on the ‘Food Channel’ that was preceded by a strong language warning, and that it may be offensive to some viewers!

The warning was well founded, Gordon Ramsay has an interesting command of the English language, most of which revolves around four letter words. In fact the ‘Food Channel’ had two edits of every Ramsay show, one for daytime where the ‘color’ was bleeped out, and one for late night viewing which was shown in all of its original glory.

To US viewers Ramsay is likely best well known for his highly successful reality TV series Hells Kitchen, well if you liked Hells Kitchen you will love his British based show Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares. In Nightmares, our illustrious Chef is sent to a failing restaurant to seek out the cause of trouble and rectify it. Needless to say Ramsay pulls no punches, he is a man who speaks his mind. Owners, servers, and cooking staff all become fair game for some serious verbal marinading from the very politically incorrect star chef.

Acorn media has brought Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmare to DVD, this set contains all 6 (1 hour) episodes of season one, and is hugely entertaining. It is not everyday that you get to watch a star chef throw up on camera, but Ramsay does when fed some bad sea food! Needless to say this event was followed by a lesson in the creative usage of the ‘F ‘ word. Also included in the set are four episodes of Kitchen Nightmares Revisited in which our illustrious chef returns to the scene of the crimes to see if his ‘charm, wit, and repartee’ has had a lasting effect.

To quote from the DVD cover:

After just a few episodes of this International Emmy winning reality series, you’ll never dine out quite the same way again.

You can order your copy here.

Simon Barrett

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