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By Suzanne

Gordon Ramsay

Interview with Gordon Ramsay of "Master Chef" on FOX 6/1/11.

Krista was at this conference call. She says: I was a little late getting on the call so I didn't get to participate, but I really enjoyed the part I got to hear, and I especially enjoyed reading it. I think the call went well, and I enjoyed reading Gordon Ramsay's thoughts on Masterchef versus Hell's Kitchen, and also about how cooking today has improved due to the economy being bad and people not eating out as much and cooking at home.

FBC PUBLICITY: The Master Chef Conference Call with Gordon Ramsay
June 1, 2011/10:00 a.m. PDT

Kim Kurland Ė Host
Gordon Ramsay - Speaker


Moderator Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for standing by and welcome to The MasterChef Conference Call with Chef Gordon Ramsay. At this time all participants are in a listen-only mode. Due to time constraints, weíre asking that you ask one question and one follow-up, if there is time. You may re-prompt us, and if there is time, we will take your question. At this time, I would now like to introduce Kim Kurland. Please go ahead, maíam.

K. Kurland Hi, everybody. I just wanted to welcome you all to The MasterChef Conference Call with Gordon Ramsay. As a reminder, weíre here today to ask questions regarding the MasterChef premiere only. It premieres on Monday, June 6, at 8/7 Central. At this time, Iím going to turn the call over to Gordon, and then weíll begin with our first call. Gordon.

G. Ramsay Hi, Kim. Good morning, ladies and gentlemen, and thank you so much for joining this morning. Iím really excited as of Monday, Season 2, and wow, what a season. Highly creative, incredibly pressurized, and a completely different level of standard from this time a year ago. So, yeah, really excited.

Moderator Our first question will come from the line of Sanni Turano with TV Grapevine. Please go ahead.

S. Turano Hi, good morning. How are you?

G. Ramsay Iím good, darling. How are you?

S. Turano I am good, thank you. Itís good to talk to you again. My first question for you is what do you expect from your contestants? What is the one thing that you expect every one of them to have?

G. Ramsay So, the one thing I expected when they walked into the MasterChef kitchen was determination. Determination with a really ballsy attitude. I think whatís happened over the last 18 months or two years in terms of the disposable income that we havenít had to go and eat out in restaurants as often as you would like. So, everybody is watching the pennies, everyone is very careful.

So, therefore, weíll be cooking more at home, and on the back of cooking at home more often, maybe, three, four, or even five times a week, whatís happened, naturally, is theyíve got better. They got more competitive because thereís more TV shows, more magazines, sourcing food is so much more easier. So, them, as individuals came in with a much more so sort of toned ambition. Almost in a way that they wanted to sort of set the bar thoroughly on in the MasterChef kitchen.

S. Turano Okay, and my other question is what was the most standout meal that youíve had cooked this season so far?
G. Ramsay The most standout meal Iíve had cooked was quite early on and it was was amazing. It was a chicken drum and a chicken leg, and it was done with this homemade garam masala. So, it was like a sort of Southern take on a sort of light Indian spiced. But this lady was a brain surgeon and she ground her own spice for a living, and she sort of sold it to her friends on the school run. Can you imagine, those little bags of spice being dropped off to parents when theyíre checking in with the kids at school. So, it was sort of light Southern Indian spiced coconut chicken dish. Mind blowing.

Moderator Thank you. Our next question comes from the line of Megan Ward with Please go ahead.

M. Ward Hi. How are you today?

G. Ramsay Fine, thank you, Megan. How are you?

M. Ward Good, thank you. Now, when you worked on Hellís Kitchen, youíre working with professional chefs, and when you worked on MasterChef, youíre with the amateur chefs. Now, how do you see them like as, like whatís the big difference between them? Are you finding that some of the amateur chefs could possibly be, you know, the level of the professional chefs?

G. Ramsay If you asked me that question in three years ago, Megan, I would have said that the difference was night and day. Now, hand on heart, the difference is pretty much insignificant and is quite scary in a way on how good the home cooks are becoming. So, itís a breath of fresh air really that the domestic front can give the professional chefs, me including a boot up the ass.

Why? Iím not saying we got complacent, far from it. But theyíre getting good. I mean, they are getting very good. So, they, obviously, had a little bit more time on the hands, but they are obsessed foodies, and I would now confirm that weíre a nation of foodies here.

There was one lady in the competition who actually went to have her knives made to fit her hand. She actually went to a specialist that got the grip focused around her hand. I mean, soccer players get their football boots made to measure, models get dresses and shoes made to measure. Youíre having these domestic goddesses now that go and get knives made to fit their hands. I mean, Jesus, Iíve never of that before.
M. Ward Do you think that perhaps the reason why home chefs are becoming so good is because of all the television food shows?

G. Ramsay Yeah, I mean to your question, Megan, I think the exposure with the TV shows in general, and not just the magazines, the Internet, the little quick 90-second YouTube clips. I mean, theyíre getting more and more exciting. And of course, look at the kitchens available now: from an amazing stove to amazing pots/pans.

So, yeah, it all has a huge sort of effect, and nothing but a plus situation. I mean, thereís so much freedom cooking. You know, and if you are stressed out; thereís one lady, I mentioned earlier, who was this unique brain surgeon, and she used cooking as a way of de-stressing. Well, I know thousands of chefs professionally that think cooking is stressful. How cool was that for this lady to come on the program and sit there and say, ďCooking, stressful my ass. You should see what I do for a living. Cooking is easy, itís a way of de-stressing.Ē And it made us all sit up and say, ďUm, she has a point.Ē

Moderator Thank you. Next, we go to the line of Joshua Maloni with Niagara Frontier Publications. Please go ahead.
J. Maloni Hi, Chef Ramsay. Thanks for your time today. So, we know what the participants took away from the First Season, but what was the biggest thing that you took away from the First Season?

G. Ramsay The biggest thing I took away from the First Season; I got a little bit scared, to be honest. Whitney Miller, at the age 21, 22 years of age, I saw her again three weeks ago, putting the final touch to her cookbook, I just couldnít quite believe how trained her palette was. I mean, MasterChef is a phenomenon in the U.K. and it is globally, but I didnít actually think it would be as big as it was in the States.

You know, you go to the food halls, you look at all the food trucks, you go to the shops, you go to the malls, you see how busy the restaurants are, you see how excited young kids are cooking. Iím fed up with that sort of level of ignorance about chefs portray the wrong image, and chefs, you know, sending the wrong message out to kids with obesity and all that.

Itís not kidís fault; itís the bloody parents fault, and you canít blame an 11-year-old on what they eat, itís the parents. So, thereís a huge responsibility and the biggest scare for me was how competitive they really are at home. Iím not talking about glamorous ingredients. Iím talking about a box of anchovies, some dry spaghetti, sun-dried tomatoes, extra-virgin olive oil and some fresh lemons. Thatís not at all expensive.

J. Maloni All right. And talk about the relationship on and off set between you and Joe and Graham.

G. Ramsay Yeah, itís sort of funny. Sometimes it goes like a sort of a highly competitive spirit sat on those chairs. Then they all sort of retreat to their comfort zones. Joe doesnít like Indian food; Graham canít understand Chinese food; Joe wants olive oil drizzled on everything.

Then we have a bit of banter and then when we start arguing, yeah, it gets a bit hairy sometimes. Graham comes out as a big cuddly bear that everyone wants to sort of love. Joe is the one theyíre undecided of because depending on how he looks at them with his eyes will dictate whether theyíre going through, and with me, well, you never know whatís going to happen. You know, if I find something absolutely delicious, Iím going to fight tooth and nail to get it through. If I think itís shocking, then Iíll say it there and then.

Moderator Thank you. Next we go to the line of Makita Madden Toby with Detroit News. Please go ahead.

G. Ramsay Hi, Makita.

M.M. Toby Hi, itís Mekesha.

G. Ramsay Mekesha, excuse me. How are you?

M.M. Toby Oh, no. You didnít say it wrong, no worries. You are a rock star on television and in the food circles. What do you think this celebrity chefs, a few of the celebrity chefs, like what is it that people love about, not just you, but like celebrity chefs in general? Do you have an explanation as to why all this popularity?

G. Ramsay Thatís a good question. You know, we eat three times a day, donít we. So, whether itís a fun bowl of, usually; I made some porridge this morning for the kids, and I got some prunes, and I sort of stewed these prunes and then put them in the blender and blitzed them into like a puree, and mixed crŤme fresh in there. Matilda, my youngest daughter said, ďDad, you know, you just ruined my porridge.Ē I said, ďNo, I havenít.Ē I said, ďIíve given you some sort of extra protein and vitamins.Ē She said, ďYeah, but it looks like diarrhea. You just put diarrhea in my oats.Ē

So, weíre having an argument, and I started telling her how good prunes are. And thatís just for breakfast. So, you know, when you eat three times a day and thereís three meals, breakfast is an important meal, lunch is a light sandwich, salad and dinner can be fun.

I donít know, I mean, thereís three different stories, seven days a week, three times a day that can happen. I look at how busy the kids are now with their homework, with their swimming, with their running, and what they eat on a daily basis. I quite look forward to actually sitting down, and the conversations, I mean, itís the time of the day that counts very little but becomes so precious.

So, I think the whole fascination with food when you can relate to something that you can see on a TV screen that you choose, I suppose, try to inspire, not replicate and copy, but just to sort of help make things a little bit more exciting that can be done through food, and I think the fascination is totally out there now with that, not just competitive streaks but wanting to do better in your own home.
And I think thatís quite refreshing because it doesnít cost much. I mean, itís not a time to boast and show off, and thereís quite a subdued mood out there in terms of time. Everybodyís still on the back foot of spending money and being a little bit more frivolous with their costs. So, cooking is something that doesnít cost that much but can deliver so much.

M.M. Toby Thatís so true, and the puree sounds really good. Iím going to have to try that. Thank you so much.

G. Ramsay It works. Although, what I didnít tell, of course, I soaked them a little bit in cognac. So, they were slightly alcoholic, which sounds great. So, I know sheís going to sleep well tonight.

Moderator Thank you. Next we go to the line of Alicia Tamayo with Pop Culture Madness. Please go ahead.

A. Tamayo Hi. Thanks for taking the time today.

G. Ramsay Hi. How are you?

A. Tamayo Good. Iím curious. How do you think this seasonís contestants compare to last seasonís group?

G. Ramsay This seasonís contestants to last group, yeah, fascinating because, obviously, theyíve all seen the show, they all think theyíre going to sort of outsmart the judges. We raised the bar. We became more competitive with the mystery box challenges. We had some pretty darned difficult, you know, out of the studio challenges, I mean, really tough, and in some remote locations.

I think they came in better, to be honest, because we had different sort of sorts of cuisines, widespread from a phenomenal sort of lady who cooked Mexican food for her local school, a private school, and they wanted it sort of almost on a daily basis and food to go home as well . When was the last time you heard food from school to be taken home to go?

We had a molecular gastronomy chef that wanted to cook with lots of liquid nitrogen and CO2 and dry ice. He looked like a professor, pushing his cart down. To the most amazing classic American. A phenomenal baker this year as well, which, yeah, my God, the guyís name was Ben Star, and what an appropriately named surname, Star, because he cooked like a star. Iíve never seen a man stick a carrot cake together with roasted pumpkin and come out as delicious as his did. It was quite mind blowing.

A. Tamayo Wow, and also I know you touched upon this a little bit, but what kind of criteria are you looking for in your next MasterChef?

G. Ramsay I love attitude. You know, when you got food ingredients in front of you, you need to be sort of quite ballsy and somewhat selfish with a part of arrogance and a big pair of balls to sort of say, ďHey, yeah, I can make this dish better than you.Ē

So, I donít know. I never want to get into a superficial world where it all gets wrapped up in cotton wool and weíre always scared to say, ďShit, that taste delicious,Ē or ďWell done, itís bloody amazing.Ē So, I like that kind of attitude with the confidence, a smidgen of arrogance. It shows on the end delivery in terms of that dish, and I think itís quite healthy to be ballsy.

Moderator Weíll go to the line of Jasmine Hyett with People Magazine. Please go ahead.

J. Hyett Hi, how are you?

G. Ramsay Love that name, Jasmine. You should be a chef, not working for People

J. Hyett Thank you. Just quickly, so MasterChef joins a long line of cooking shows. How would you say it compares to the other cooking shows out there?

G. Ramsay How does it compare? Good question, really. I think itís more of the combination of itís quite high-end, itís packed with adrenaline, it sort of family oriented, itís a little bit of a few choice words in terms of peppered here, there and everywhere. Not from me, from the contestants.

And thereís a journey. Not just from the ingredients, but thereís a amazing journey with the contestants because these are home cooks, Jasmine. These are cooks coming out of their day job and are entering the realms of an amazing kitchen for an amazing prize. Yeah, itís a cross sector. I mean, itís quite an adventure this year; very, very competitive, but thereís a bit of fun along the way as well which, I think when you work that hard, youíve got to release a bit of fun.
J. Hyett Thank you so much.

G. Ramsay Thank you.

Moderator Next, we go to the line of Bill Harris with Sun Media. Please go ahead.

G. Ramsay Hi, Bill.

B. Harris Hey, Chef Ramsay. Nice to talk to you.

G. Ramsay Likewise. Thank you for joining us this morning.

B. Harris Glad to do so. You mentioned before that you admire a ballsy attitude, and you know, ballsiness and passion makes good TV, and I imagine it also makes good chefs in a certain sense because you need to have that passion for what you do. Although, cooking I think is sort of a, at times itís kind of a high-wire act, and I would think you would have to have an incredibly calm mind at moments. So, Iím wondering do the best people who do well on this show, do they need to have that kind of split personality in terms of calmness and passion and how does that present a challenge for you when youíre making TV?
G. Ramsay Yeah, thatís a good question. Truthfully, to get the world of TV, you know, generating excitement and putting passion into ingredients in creating a dish over 45 minutes to an hour; the cameras are filming from a distance, so itís not as if itís sort of revved up purposely to make it look more exciting.

When youíre flat and you approach an ingredient in a subdued manner and you want to sit there and stare them out for the next 20 minutes and sort of, you know, stroll along. I mean, you need to inject a bit a bit of energy because the more excitement you put into ingredients, the better the delivery in terms of taste.

What I did try to, you know, enlist across all the challenges of MasterChef was pressure. Pressureís healthy, Bill. Letís get that right. You know, you donít get anywhere in life without pressure. So, there is a sort of therapeutic side in terms of the relaxation cooking can be, but still under pressure, you really start to see people at their absolute best, and I think the ambitions of these young amateurs going out to the industry is that I donít want to lead them into a false sense of security.

So, cooking one dish in one challenge of 45 minutes is not like opening a restaurant. In 45 minutes in any restaurants tonight, tomorrow at lunch time, where it may be, youíre going to cook for 30 or 40. So, youíve also got to sort of drop them into the real world a little bit, if thatís what they want to do on winning this competition.

So, itís a good point, but I donít like it when the personality slacks. The sort of attitude is sort of somewhat dense, and they donít gain that kind of love, care, and respect for those ingredients. And Iím not talking about glamorous ingredients from Wagyu beef to truffles to truffle oil. Iím talking about humble, exciting ingredients, the tri-tip, a plate of turnips, and the most amazing beets; you know, show me what you can do with a bag of beets, some goat cheese, and some puff pastry.

B. Harris Well, thatís a great answer. Thanks so much.

G. Ramsay Thank you, sir.

K. Kurland Unfortunately, thatís all we have time for today.

G. Ramsay Oh, one more, please.
K. Kurland One more. Okay, one more. Okay.

Moderator Weíll go to the line of Megan Lavelle with US Weekly. Please go ahead.

M. Lavelle Thanks, Chef Ramsay for taking the extra time. I would love to know if you watch any other cooking shows on TV?

G. Ramsay Good question, Megan. I donít really, but I do, to be totally honest. I tell everybody else I never watch them, but, of course, I do. Iím obsessed with them. Top Chef, because everyone wants to see me on there. Iron Chef, because they want me to go up against Mario Batali. If they can film Iron Chef between midnight and six oíclock in the morning, Iíll be very happy to take them on.

All jokes apart, I do, and I watch them a lot. I quite enjoy the Top Chef, and I quite enjoy the MasterChef Juniors. I mean, to see nine-year-olds and ten-year-olds coming in, especially in the U.K. with that level of bravado and cockiness at the age of ten to say, ďHey, my spaghetti carbonara can knock yours for sticks,Ē is quite funny.

So, yeah, Iím quite excited about that. Although, Tara, my wife has downloaded on my iPad, Housewives of Beverly Hills and New York City. I mean, I canít quite believe. I sat on the plane last week, and there it was on my iPad, and she said, ďI thought you might want to watch it.Ē ďAh, no. Iím a chef, darling, I donít want to see ladies arguing and fighting over a glass of wine to who broke their nail.Ē

M. Lavelle Thank you so much.

G. Ramsay Thanks, Meg.

K. Kurland All right. I guess weíll wrap it up there. I want to thank everyone. As a reminder, MasterChef premieres this Monday, June 6th at 8/7 Central.

More info:

The superstar MASTERCHEF judging panel is back and includes: Michelin-starred Chef Gordon Ramsay; restaurateur and winemaker Joe Bastianich; and the youngest four-star chef in America, Graham Elliot. After conducting a nationwide search, 100 of the best amateur cooks in America -- including a police officer, an oil rig engineer, an interior designer, a forklift operator, a professional poker player, a classical pianist and a tattoo shop owner -- were flown to Los Angeles in the hopes of becoming the next MASTERCHEF and walking away with the life-changing grand prize.
In the Season Two premiere, airing Monday, June 6 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX, the hopefuls will prepare their signature dishes and present them to the judges for critique. The amateur cooks will then be put through the paces to test their skills, and only the most deserving among them will win the coveted white apron and move on to the next round of the competition. In the second episode of the season, airing Tuesday, June 7 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT), nerves are tested as the judges continue to winnow down the Top 100 in their search for the America's best amateur cook. Only one thing is certain in MASTERCHEF: Winning is no piece of cake.
After conducting a nationwide search, 100 of the best amateur cooks in America, including a police officer, an oil rig engineer, an interior designer, a forklift operator, a professional poker player, a classical pianist and a tattoo shop owner, were flown to Los Angeles in the hopes of becoming the next MASTERCHEF and walking away with the life-changing grand prize. The hopefuls will prepare their signature dishes and present them to judges Gordon Ramsay, Joe Bastianich and Graham Elliot. The amateur cooks will be put through the paces, and only the most deserving among them will win the coveted white apron and move on to the next round of the competition on the "Season Premiere" episode of MASTERCHEF airing Monday, June 6 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX.
GORDON RAMSAY (Executive Producer and Judge, MASTERCHEF)
Scottish by birth, Gordon was brought up in Stratford-upon-Avon, England, from the age of five. With an injury prematurely putting an end to any hopes of a promising career in soccer, he went back to college to complete a course in hotel management.
Gordon's first years in the kitchen were spent training under culinary luminaries such as Marco Pierre White and Albert Roux in London, after which he moved to France to work in the kitchens of Guy Savoy and JoŽl Robuchon for three years, where he was able to enhance his expertise in classic French cooking. In 1993 Gordon became chef of the newly opened "Aubergine" and within three years the restaurant was awarded two Michelin stars.
In 1998, at the age of 31, Gordon set up his first wholly owned restaurant, "Restaurant Gordon Ramsay," in Chelsea which was awarded three Michelin stars within three years of its launch and is now London's longest running restaurant to hold this prestigious accolade. Over the next five years Gordon and his team launched some of London's most high profile restaurants including "Gordon Ramsay at Claridge's," "Pťtrus at The Berkeley," "The Grill Room" and "MENU at The Connaught" and "The Savoy Grill."
2003 saw the launch of Gordon's first international restaurant, "Verre," located in the Dubai Hilton Creek Hotel. Gordon Ramsay Holdings now operate a number of restaurants across the globe in New York, LA, Tokyo, Dublin, Doha, Paris, Tuscany, Sardinia and Melbourne.
Between 2004 and 2010 Gordon Ramsay Holdings launched a number of successful restaurants in London including "maze" and "maze Grill," "Plane Food" at Heathrow T5, "Murano, York & Albany" and two pubs, "The Narrow" in Limehouse and "The Warrington" in Maida Vale.
One of only four chefs in the UK to maintain three Michelin Stars, Gordon was awarded an OBE in 2006 for services to the hospitality industry.
In March 2010, "Pťtrus" reopened in Knightsbridge, whilst further afield the group launched its first restaurants in Australia, with "maze" and "maze Grill" opening at the Crown Entertainment Complex, Melbourne.
November 2010 saw the long awaited re-launch of the iconic "Savoy Grill," following a refurbishment of the entire hotel.
Gordon has also become a star of the small screen both in the U.K. and U.S. with shows such as KITCHEN NIGHTMARES, "The F Word," HELL'S KITCHEN USA and "Gordon's Great Escape." Last year saw several exciting new television programmes; MASTERCHEF in America and "Ramsay's Best Restaurants" and "Christmas with Gordon" in the U.K. Gordon has also published a number of hugely successful books including his autobiography, "Roasting in Hell's Kitchen." 

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