Oh, Gordon Ramsay. Those 10 Michelin stars are not—we repeat, not—some sort of military ranking allowing you to run roughshod over the delicate sensibilities of reality-television viewers. I refer, of course, to Ramsay’s recent fake spear-gunning incident. British television’s Channel 4 has admitted that Ramsay pretended to spear several sea bass for an episode of The F Word, striding out of the waters off the Devon coast, fish in hand, chuffing, “I feel like a fucking action man” (we assume that’s what all those asterisks in the Sunday Times article stood for). In fact, the sea bass were caught by a spearfishing expert over an hour before.
The sea bass embarrassment follows former Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares contestant Martin Hyde’s lawsuit alleging that Ramsay and his producers “faked” how bad Hyde’s restaurant was by planting bad hamburger meat in the fridge and staging a scene in which Ramsay fell off a wobbly chair brought into the restaurant.
It also follows reports that winners on Hell’s Kitchen didn’t get their promised jobs.
You know, reality television not being, um, real is one thing, but blatantly dishing out lies is bound to create a little dyspeptic backlash. As Ramsay gets set to debut the American version of Kitchen Nightmares this fall, the New York Observer asks, “Who exactly is Gordon Ramsay?” Is he the “exasperated Simon Cowell caricature,” a “nurturing, wickedly talented food expert who wants to save wayward restaurants,” or “just a greedy blond bastard?”