Dear Gordon Ramsay, what if we all cooked at home like shouty, sweary chefs? – Susan Morrison
In 1965, Kenneth Tynan used A Very Bad Word on telly. It began with ‘F’. Kenny told us that this particular bad word would never be permitted on the nation’s screens.
Last week, on an episode of Gordon Ramsey’s Kitchen Nightmares, I lost count of the number of F-bombs flying.
No-one expected a chef to be the one to carpet bomb the telly with four-letter words. They always thought it would be us, the naughty comedians. We were watched. Closely. As a matter of fact, I was briefly Frankie Boyle's F word counter. He was allowed three.
Of course, it's all part of the ‘angry chef’ cliche. That puffed-up bloke who is permitted to scream abuse, hurl pans and even wallop staff with hot trays should the boudin noir aux pommes be a tad underdone. In short, a bully.
People were meant to enjoy cooking, I thought. It’s what they say on Bake-off. Ah, the professionals say, tensions run high in kitchens. It’s just a kitchen, pal. You’re not landing a crippled A320 on the Hudson with 155 people on board.
Imagine going to a friend's house for dinner. Upon arrival, the harried host announces that his partner is refusing to leave the kitchen. She’s unhappy with the way the tatties have turned out.
Only five minutes before your arrival, she brayed him on the back of the head because the prawn cocktail hadn’t been removed from the wrapping properly (M&S, natch). Their teen daughter is tears because the “f***ing idiot” can’t cut bread straight. The dog has left home. Apparently, it can’t use the blender.
You wouldn’t stay, unless it was to find the dog, comfort the daughter and put an Elastoplast on the host's head. Bet the dinner would be rotten as well. Food prepared in a war zone is seldom good.
The bellowing chef is going out of fashion, and about time too. I wonder how many talented young chefs we lost because tin-pot dictators made their lives miserable?
Time for the men in white to make like Chardonnay – and chill. Learn to manage, not bully.