This is it. Today’s the day. I’m going to experience a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I’m going to meet none other than the one… the only…



I meet Chef Ramsay in the kitchen of his famous [insert restaurant name here] restaurant in the city of [insert city name here].

He greets me surprisingly warmly, and shakes my hand. This isn’t the Gordan Ramsay I’m familiar with from TV. Our interview begins…

“Chef Ramsay, it is often said that part of the reason for your immense popularity in the world of reality-TV cooking-shows is your unique, and often brutal form of criticism. Is this just a part of your TV-persona or is it an accurate reflection of your own style as a top-industry chef?”

“Cooking is about passion, so it may look slightly temperamental in a way that it’s too assertive to the naked eye. The minute you start compromising for the sake of massaging somebody’s ego, that’s it, game over.”

“And do you find this to be an effective means of development for aspiring chefs?”

“As a soccer player, you want an FA Cup winner’s medal. As an actor, you want an Oscar. As a chef, it’s three-Michelin’s stars, there’s no greater than that. So pushing yourself to the extreme creates a lot of pressure and a lot of excitement, and more importantly, it shows on the plate.”

An interesting point. Perhaps there’s something to his style.

“Is that how you became the chef you are today?”

“I am what I am. A fighter.”

“If you want to become a great chef, you have to work with great chefs. And that’s exactly what I did.”

“I can certainly appreciate that. But please, why all the foul language?”

“Swearing is industry language. For as long as we’re alive it’s not going to change. You’ve got to be boisterous to get results.”

“And do your staff understand this, or do they find your style too assertive?”

“Kitchens are hard environments and they form incredibly strong characters. There’s a bond among a kitchen staff, I think. You spend more time with your chef in the kitchen than you do with your own family.”

I thank Chef Ramsay for sharing his honest thoughts. But now it’s time to have some fun. When Chef agreed to my interview request, he also suggested I might like to make a simple dish for him to sample. I gladly accepted.


“I thought I would make a grilled ham and cheese. I’m not much of cook, to be honest. But I’m confident I can at least make a mean sandwich. And please, there’s no need to go easy on me. Show me a little of that TV-Ramsay I’m so fond of.”

I laugh, of course he’ll go easy on me. This is just for fun and we’re not on TV after all. But I digest, it’s time to get down to business!

I scramble to prepare my ingredients and familiarise myself with the kitchen. I’m nervous, and I think it shows.

“You look like you’re just about to lose you virginity.”

Haha, that’s more like it. Classic Ramsay-ribbing. He’ll have to do better than that though if he wants to get under my skin.

“Aren’t you forgetting something?”

Chef calls out for my attention. I double-check my ingredients, but I can’t see what I’m missing.

“Hey, panini head, are you listening to me?”

Another zinger! Nice one, Ramsay.

“Yes, Chef!”

The cheese! I forgot the cheese. I rush back to the fridge and get what I need. I return quickly and get back to work. Damnit, not enough cheese. I return to the fridge for more.


Chef curses my incompetence. He takes two slices of bread and presses them together on either side of my head.

“What are you?”

Chef Ramsay looks me dead in the eye.

“An idiot sandwich.”

I sob pathetically. My bottom lip starts to quiver and I fight to keep down the welling tears beginning to form.

“I just want more cheese.”

“Right. I’ll get you more cheese; I’ll ram it right up your fucking arse. Would you like it whole or sliced.”

“Sliced, please.”

At least he’s offering to help now. I continue to prepare my sandwich, but then…

“Oh shit! Where’s my ham?”

“You fucking donkey!”

His words bite with a harsh sting of accuracy. I know I’m not a great cook, but does he really have to be so brutally honest about it?


At long last my dish is completed and I serve it up to Chef Ramsay. I wipe a bead of sweat from my brow. I’m anxious to know what he thinks.

Chef Ramsay samples my sandwich as I watch-on nervously. He chews and swallows, but whatever he thinks of it, his expression gives no hint.

“You do seriously surprise me.”

Finally, a compliment!

“Thank you Chef, I was hoping you’d see that, I mean, I gave it all I’ve got.”

I swell with pride. I’ve made it through this ordeal and come out the other side sparkly clean, like a freshly washed jock-strap. And you know, I think I’ve learned something about myself too. But before I can finish my epilogue, he cuts me off.

“You surprise me, how shit you are.”

“You’re a fucking disgrace!”

I let loose with a great howl of anguish for my broken pride and dash out of the kitchen like the soft mushy carrot I am.



His torrent of abuse follows me as I escape my kitchen nightmare (get it?). I’ll never touch a slice of bread again…

Empty Chair Interviews