Thursday, December 24, 2009

Cheffy Runs His Mouth About Gordon Ramsey and Kitchen Ethics

Cheffy Runs His Mouth About Gordon Ramsey and Ethics

I have listened to the pros and cons of what some in the cook’s world is saying about Gordon Ramsey and Hell’s Kitchen for a couple years now, whether in the newspaper, on some of the message boards on the internet I frequent or in some of today’s hospitality magazines.  I am taking the stand that I think Chef Ramsey rocks and I would be honored and humble to work in any of his kitchen’s or under any of his protégé’s.

I have followed Chef Ramsey’s career before the Hell’s Kitchen world hit America, and have followed him since also, not only on American television, but also on the BBC, other international sources of media, am knowledgeable about the great things that he has done both in the culinary world and for international charities.

In my humble opinion as a chef, Mr. Ramsey rocks… hard…

As far as his Americanized persona is concerned all I have to say is that America loves controversy and Chef Ramsey fit into that persona for this reality idea that Fox networking developed years ago. He’s a pussycat compared to some of the Chef’s that I have worked under…

Would I work with him? Bet your Ass!!!

I went into the Marine Corps before I first shaved at seventeen years old, after years of being under the scrutiny of the US Gov’t, I wound up in a kitchen under the tyranny of Chef Roy and at times, I have put myself in less than desirable positions in this culinary world…So again, with my pen and paper I am asking myself once again…Would I work under him? Again, my answer is “You bet your ass…” and I would even do it for room and board.

Following in part is why…

“…the discipline in dealing with what is good and bad and with moral duty and obligation…”

“…conforming to accepted professional standards of conduct…”
Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary

Our professional world is way beyond perfect, the ideal kitchens and jobs within those kitchens are few and far between, as is finding that “great chef” that we want to work under.

This is our life, this is who we are and what we do.

Although not dictated as such in our résumé’s, “…this is who we are and this is what we do…”, as well as “ this is who we are and this is what we’ve done” should be taken into serious consideration when discussing who we are in the Culinary World. Chef Ramsey has proven to the world long before “Hell’s Kitchen” that he is an accomplished culinarian, chef, cook, manager, owner and a freaking icon in this industry.

 Chef Gordon Ramsey
The Facts:

Three successful television programs in the EU, the mentor of Hell’s Kitchen and one of his European shows “Kitchen Nightmares” will soon be Americanized and presented by Fox the Fall of 2007.

Currently owns 15 very successful restaurants internationally. Owner of several Michelin Stars, both individually and collectively with such great chefs like Marcus Wareing and Angela Hartnett. In October 1993, Chef Ramsey became chef of the newly opened Aubergine where he won many accolades including two Michelin stars within three years of opening.
(CheffyNote: earning Michelin Stars in such a short amount of time is totally unheard of…)

Chef Ramsey provides a continuing education program for Chefs and other professionals in Europe, and also sponsors a culinary scholarship for students and non-students, with seven recipients annually, one of the contestants of the third season of Hell’s Kitchen being one such honoree with this gift from Chef Ramsey.

Being in a world where we can pursue our craft; maintain our ethics and operate our kitchen and produce our foods in an ethical manner is as close to heaven as we can get.

Gordon Ramsey is one of those chefs’s that has had the opportunity to construct an empire built on the ethics of his craft. To me this is why I became a chef to begin with.

Not necessarily to become an icon in the industry or to design my own empire, but dream of a world, no matter how insane it is, of my food, my ethics and my ethical demands…

The reality of these choices to thousands upon thousands of chefs internationally is a distant truth from the kitchens of the Ferran Brothers, or the Mr. Ramsey’s, Trotter’s or Keller’s in the world, but then again they are choices that we have made as professionals.

I do not live in a world that I produce the kind of food that I feel in my heart, mind and often my dreams, I suppose this is my choice, but in no means is it my demise.

At times we may find ourselves taking shortcuts that don’t sacrifice the expression of quality or following the norms as society has dictated either for the reasons of cost, practicality or urgency. 

If, as a Chef, you do not have an outlet for that inner-beast of creativity, how long are you going to be able to maintain your current position? If you are passionate about food and our business, I guarantee that you won’t stay employed there too long…

 Although there are some of us that find the challenge in marketing, design, crunching numbers or whatever; it’s always about the freaking food, like it or not. I find challenges in these portions of our industry also, but you know what?

It’s all about the freaking food….

It often puzzles me why chef’s (myself very much included) have settled for this type of mediocrity. My avenue/niche is to write and teach the up and coming cooks in our world, this puts me in touch with the fantasy of what I wish my world was all about. It’s not just teaching food, hell, that’s the easy part, but teaching ethics and ethical mannerisms is a whole different story. In retrospect, I suppose this is my niche in our industry today, aside of being an insane Rocking and Rolling schmuck…is to teach, learn and  tantalize taste buds, no matter how much or how little I have to work with.

Like I used to say to my good friend, former associate, student, teacher and confidant Chef Greg…
”…we have the innate ability of pulling a meal out of our ass…”

My choice is not a bad one. I could have made the decision to go to Indonesia and hang out with Chef Martin Chiffers, or pursue Chef’s like Chef Scott or a thousand others that have crossed my path and wound up in one of a hundred different kitchens worldwide, I could still be traveling nationally doing Guest Chef gigs, smoozing with people that are way out of my league,  I could have gone back to school and done something different or complimented the education I have already, then that little voice comes into my brain housing group and says

“What the hell for?”

  I have chosen to be in the rear with the gear, deal with the heat, passion and frustration of our industry, write, teach, listen, learn, bitch…


Because this is who I am and this is what I do!
Just a magician that fucking dresses funny!

That’s why…

Peace, Hugs and Cookies,
Chef Michael Hayes

Pleasing The World One Palate At A Time

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