Many great artists suffer for their work, and celebrity chef and restaurateur Gordon Ramsay is no exception.
The host of a bevy of Fox reality cooking shows, including “Hell’s Kitchen” and “MasterChef” spares no detail when recounting his most humiliating moment on-set during the filming of the sixth season of “MasterChef Junior” last spring.
“Prancing around in a frickin’ elf suit in the middle of Easter, with a pair of tights on and looking like I’ve just come out of some hideous show in Paris, was destroying,” Ramsay said of the holiday-themed stunt, during a recent visit to The Times’ video studio.
But the tart-tongued chef, who’d rather mince onions than words, wasn’t finished.
“I cried,” Ramsay deadpanned. “I went back in my elf house. I came back out eating a cookie. I bent down and I saw this massive hole in my tights, right under my ass. Let me tell you, for any 8-year-old kid, that was not a pleasant sight.”
(No children were actually traumatized during Ramsay’s wardrobe malfunction, which he assured us happened during a dress rehearsal.)
Ramsay’s willingness to be the butt of the joke and undercut his image as a passionate, if volatile, personality are in large part what makes his work co-hosting “MasterChef Junior” so, well, masterful.
At least the Emmy voters think so, giving Ramsay his first nomination for his hosting abilities.
But more than scoring accolades, Ramsay is interested in teaching the young home cooks competing on the show a skill that will last them a lifetime, both in and out of the kitchen.
“The first thing I say to these young kids coming into this kitchen: ‘There’s no Mum, there’s no Dad, there’s no teacher,’” Ramsay explained. “‘We’re going to be handling issues and you’re going to be running out of time and you’re going to be upset and the most important thing throughout this competition is a solution.’”
“That’s what life’s about,” he continued. “What’s the solution?”
If Ramsay seems preternaturally good at managing the meltdowns and mood swings of children, know that the wisdom is hard-earned.
He spoke glowingly of his four children, all teenagers: daughter Megan, 19, currently attending Oxford Brookes University, twins Holly and Jack, 17, and youngest daughter Matilda, a UK reality cooking star in her own right.
But though he appears to have it all well in-hand on “MasterChef Junior,” Ramsay admitted that he’s currently dealing with a bit of classic Ramsay obstreperousness when it comes to the baby of the family.
“She’s getting a little bit too big for her boots,” Ramsay confided. “She’s now trying to charge me to eat my food, cooked in my house.”
“‘Well you charge people to come to your restaurant, so why can’t I charge you?’” Ramsay recounted of his daughter’s home cooking efforts.
For more of Ramsay’s stories, insights and an explosive exposé on The Times’ fake plants, check out the full interview below.