TV Chefs

One of our UK Icons or a Great Briton? We at were f@cked if we knew where to put potty-mouthed TV chef Gordon Ramsey until our immigrant cleaner, who we pay £3.00 an hour and who helped write this article, made the point that a Great Briton wouldn’t have had a facelift that left him looking like he was sucking lime juice off of electrified stinging nettles – so UK Icons it is.

Gordon Ramsey represents the UK phenomenon that is TV chefs. Starting life as black and white skits to show post-war Brits how to make the most of their rations, TV bosses decided to give these programmes a face and began with the wicked witch of the whisk known as Fanny Craddock. With her bouffant hair and chiffon gowns, Craddock had all the charm of an Auschwitz guard and peppered her shows with lines such as: “Only a slut gets into a mess in the kitchen.” Harsh but true.

Craddock was overtaken by the infinitely more likeable Graham Kerr, aka The Galloping Gourmet who would buzz around the kitchen in a jovial manner quaffing glasses of wine and tickling the gastronmical fancies of Seventies housewives who gazed at the TV through a fug of cigarettes, gin and prescription tranquilisers.

Following a barren period that saw preppy Delia Smith handling the meat and two veg of the viewing public, bon viveur and absolute alcoholic Keith Floyd encapsulated the Eighties mood of excess with Floyd on Fish, a show that would have been more aptly titled 'Floyd on the Piss'. Floyd lurched from one TV show to the next and provided the UK public with on and off screen entertainment with a car crash personal life of alcoholism, marriages, divorces and bankruptcy.

The imperfect antidote to Floyd's anachronistic crassness was benign Rick Stein, who ironically first appeared on Floyd on Fish. Throughout the Nineties Stein presented a host of TV series centred on fish and seafood. Stein lacked Floyd's charisma but suited the era which saw New Labour and political correctness rise to power. However, the squeaky clean (and married) fish chef was powerless to resist his agent when she laid on the slab and said 'Fillet' with the resultant tabloid scandal leaving the door open for a new kid on the block: enter Jamie Oliver aka The Naked Chef.

The big-tongued Essex boy's show, The Naked Chef only ran for three series between 1991 and 2001 but his no-nonsense approach to cooking and twat vernacular was an instant hit with a new generation of young adults who wanted to more with food than 'pierce the film lid and heat on full power for five minutes'. Giddy with success, Oliver took his eye off the ball to try and forge some kind of political career for himself only to be nudged aside by foul-mouthed kitchen bully Gordon Ramsay.

With a series of programmes like Hell's Kitchen, Kitchen Nightmares and The F Word Ramsay has minced around the kitchens of those less fortunate than he and issued forth a sea of bile filled with profanities for the delight of a nation that has become hooked on a culture of bullying courtesy of programmes like Big Brother, The Weakest Link and the long running comedy known as New Labour. However, Ramsay has been caught out as something of a fraud after a newspaper investigation revealed he was using pre-prepared food in his restaurants. The result was a loss of a Michelin star and a lot of cache.

The rise of Ramsay and his megalomania beg the question what next for TV cookery, cannibalism perhaps? We at certainly hope so and will be first in line to put the knife into Mr Ramsay.

Since this article was written has reviewed its casual staffing policy and sacked the cleaner and got in one who is willing to work for less.