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Out of his depth?
To kick off our three-page round up of cook books, Barry Shelby argues that Gordon Ramsay’s autobiography reveals the limits of the celebrity chef’s many talents.
COOK BOOKS FACTFILE'
Therevraregtyyo cookery. books the current Amazon.co.uk Top 20 bestsellers
list: Cook with Jamie Oliver is at number five, and Humble Pie by Gordon
Ramsay is at number 20. As high-value hardbacks they areihighly proﬁtable.
Jamie Oliver’s books are easily the biggest single contributor to Penguin's profits.
didn‘t want to like (iordon Ramsay's autobiography and
I don't. While starting rather softly and sincerely. he
quickly adopts the well-kent Ramsay caricature. Rough and tumble. straight-talking. no bullshit. vaguely juvenile.
The absurdly titled Humble Pie will impress diehard fans only. Vainglorious as ever. Ramsay also deploys the l: word (and I don’t mean ‘food‘) with mind-numbing repetitiveness. Similes. when they appear. are awkward at best (‘a palate like a cow‘s backside' ). At least. one can feel rather safely assured that (iordo wrote (or at least dictated) this mostly himself.
Ramsay writes in Humble Pie about the demise of the ill- fated .»\maryllis in Glasgow‘s ()ne Devonshire Gardens. ‘lt was a brilliant restaurant. the best in Scotland by a million miles. but I am not sure. now. that Scotland was quite ready for food cooked to that standard and at that price.‘ he writes. He then goes on to slander this country‘s cuisine further by immediately saying.
'dmi't forget it is home 10 1'10
deep-fried Mars bar".
Ramsay is a windup artist par excellence. His revisionist history of Amaryllis is galling. however. Amaryllis wasn‘t the greatest by ‘a million miles‘. It was arguably the finest. and ahead by a millimetre in some cases. As for the Michelin star. it was deserved but also rather inherited at this site from chef Andrew l‘airlie‘s operation.
Not coincidently. Amaryllis A
shut with people arriving for ME,
booked lunches on the very
day that Amaryllis was going to lose the vaunted Michelin star. So. he managed to avoid that disgrace.
And indeed dishonour is what Ramsay probably would have felt because the Michelin stars are a driving force — seemingly his ultimate ambition. To critics who think the entire Michelin process is rather culturally biased and over- rated. Ramsay retorts. ‘Bollocks. l'sually. that kind of moaning is just sour grapes from men who can‘t cut the mustard.‘ He admits (not within the context of Amaryllis. I hasten to add). losing one of my stars would be like a death to me.‘ I suppose that makes his (ilasgow gambit a near-death experience. then.
Billed as the full. inside story. Ramsay‘s book does delve into topics previously taboo. such as his troubled wee brother. His success as a chef is no doubt a result of graft and talent. But if his take on Amaryllis is any guide. most tales should be consumed with a good pinch of that favourite of chefs. Maldon‘s sea salt.
Humble Pie by Gordon Ramsay is published by Harper Collins, priced £18.99
1'13 30 Nov 9000 THE LIST 99