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Herald on Sunday Editorial: Ramsay shows off his softer side

Gordon Ramsay. Photo / Supplied
Gordon Ramsay. Photo / Supplied

Gordon Ramsay famously detests being described as a celebrity chef. But he fits the definitions of both words and it was good news for the Auckland restaurant scene that he tweeted about several local eateries in such complimentary terms this week.

"Food bloody amazing [at] Depot, Euro, Ebisu," he wrote, urging the publishers of the esteemed Guide Michelin, which has awarded him 13 stars, to "hurry up".

Ramsay charmed the socks off Aucklanders in several public appearances. Our reporter was one of hundreds to be very impressed with the famously fiery Scot, who even took copies of his books to the airport to sign while he was waiting for his flight, after one appearance was massively oversubscribed.

These were gracious gestures that he could easily have got away without making, and it is to his credit that he made them. He travelled around the world to resolve a dispute over his failure to front at sold-out charity events that were supposed to raise money for an organ transplant for Napier schoolgirl Matisse Reid.

Many people of Ramsay's stature would have simply left a matter like this in the hands of lawyers. The fact that he didn't shows that there is more to the man than the TV persona.

In his top-rating show, Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares, he sorts out failing restaurants (usually by suggesting they serve roast chicken) but the reason people like the programme is that they're forever waiting for Ramsay to lose it. Likewise, when we see him in the kitchen, we're aching for him to start spitting profanities. Not for nothing was one show called The F Word: the "f" didn't stand for "food".

That's show business and, to some extent, show business was what Ramsay was up to this week. But he also gave the lie to the restaurant reviewer AA Gill, who described Ramsay as "a really second-rate human being".

Ramsay's wife has said, "There is a perception of him, and then there is the real Gordon Ramsay, charming, caring and decent." That's the Gordon Ramsay who was in town this week - and he's welcome back any time.

- Herald on Sunday

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