Tread Carefully

Innocent Susan Elderkin invited a group of friends over for a dinner made from recipes in Gordon Ramsay’s 3 Star Chef. After consulting the cookbook, she rescheduled the dinner for four days’ time. “Yes,” a guest replied, “you need to set aside four days to make anything in Gordon Ramsay’s books and even then it’s a risk without a committed sous-chef.”

Elderkin pens a hilarious report (registration required) of her experiences for the Financial Times:

The next couple of days were spent hunting down the best ingredients, with various Ramsay rallying cries for perfection ricocheting around my head. (‘Every fillet of beef, every saddle of hare, every basket of truffles is a fight you have to win. You’re up against yourself every time.’) … Aha, I thought, the battles with myself have begun.

The night of the meal itself, the battle continued. The designated sous-chef arrives to find the author-turned-chef prostrate on the kitchen floor (“Tread carefully,” she tells him. “A spell in Gordon’s kitchen has been compared to a tour of duty in Vietnam”); guests are drafted to help cook; a toolbox is required. “By the end of the evening,” Elderkin reports, “I’d fired all but one of my commis chefs for incompetence, or for eating parsnip chips ahead of time. We’d used every utensil and piece of cutlery I possessed. The garden was strewn with washing-up that wouldn’t fit in the sink.”

Tread carefully, indeed.

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