After a few boring old runs last night (they were just normal old runs with nice people that knew what they were doing! Where’s the fun in that? Don’t these people know I’ve got a blog to write?) we tucked Alex into bed and retired to the living room to get some use out of that long neglected home furnishing…
We love that genre of show, the food competition. Top Chef, Chopped, and Hells Kitchen have been among our most favorite ones, while the Food Network Challenge and The Next Iron Chef come in on the second tier, and Iron Chef comes in last.
Not the original Japanese Iron Chef. I’ll watch that all day long. No, it’s the new one we don’t really care for.
The only reason we actually ever watch it is because I’m an Alton Brown fanboy, and because we both love Mario Batali, who is sadly underused.
We both dislike Bobby Flay. A lot. And he seems to show up in reruns quite often.
Masaharu Morimoto kicks ass, but also sees scarce face time.
If I were to put together a list of favorite Food show personalities to watch on TV, it’d be something like this;
- Tom Colicchio
- Alton Brown
- Gordon Ramsay
- Ted Allen
Anyway. Again. And moving on.
We rarely actually watch TV, except for some specific shows Cassie likes that we Tivo, but we do love to watch those cooking competitions.
Recently, to get a little more Gordon Ramsay in our diet, I’d requested Season 1 of the UK version of Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares on DVD from Netflix.
Disc 1 came a few days ago, and we watched the revisited versions of The Glass House and Bonapartes.
Fun shows, but only two episodes per disk? Even with a revisited version, come on, man!
Oh, right. Only four episodes were done for season 1. Okay, fine. Grrr.
Yesterday, Netflix dutifully delivered disc 2.
After Alex’s tender ears were safely abed, we settled in front of the zombie box, lowered the lighting, and prepared to watch Ramsay investigate horrendous kitchens and try to turn the businesses around in one short week.
We weren’t sure what exactly was about to happen… but I thought chances were pretty good that there would be swearing. The F-word would turn up a time or two. Dog’s breakfasts might be discussed. A refridgerator would likely be disgusting.
It turned out only one of those things actually happened.
We spin up the disc, and there appears on the screen Gordon Ramsay.
Walking down the hall, talking about the people sitting at home wanting to learn how to cook. How this is the show for them.
He’s taking his clothes off.
He strips naked! (From the waist up.)
This, I have to admit, is a new approach to kitchen makeovers.
Cassie at least seems happy with this new direction for the show.
Then he puts on his kitchen smock, and heads into a beautiful if trippy restaurant, and on the screen the music jazzes up and the title “The F-word” appears.
What the f-word?
Netflix sent the right disc jacket… with a completely different disc inside. Some show called The F-Word.
But it’s still a Gordon Ramsay show, so… hmm.
Oh, what the hell. Let’s check it out.
It turns out that instead of disc 2 of season 1 of Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares, we got disc 2 of season 1 of The F-word, a different Ramsay show that’s more of a food magazine, multiple topic kinda thing filmed at one of his restaurants.
Ramsay, and hold onto your butt here, Ramsay spends a lot of time actually cooking, and showing you how to cook on this show. In a highly stylised fashion, of course. You couldn’t actually make something by watching him, but you do get a feel for how it works.
I’d never actually seen him DO anything before. I’m more used to him ripping other people a new one in a high energy, humorous way.
And this is supposed to be filmed at one of his restaurants, named “The F-word”, so this is how he designed the interior of one of his places? No shit?
Somehow, it fits with the name. Very ‘up in your face’ kind of place.
I thought it was a cool looking place, but who the hell cares what I think? I will say that it’s not where I’d take Cassie for a romantic dinner for two on Valentines’ Day, but I’d sure as heck hit the place for a foodie dinner with a party of 6 friends on a night on the town with cocktails.
Here’s the deal about the show.
We watched the first episode, and we’re both laughing so damn hard it hurt. It’s so wild and irreverent and out there on a limb not giving a shit, that it’s like wathcing a train wreck in the making that never quite crashes, because just at the last moment, when you’re sure it’s about to hit the bus stuck on the tracks, the bus gets out of the way and the train keeps on barreling along.
No brakes. But it never blows up or goes down.
Episode 4, the first episode on that disc, was good, with tons of crazy.
What won us over and really broght home how crazy this show was, was one of the other two correspondants, food critic and writer Giles Coren, who appears later in the episode to deliver an impassioned speech, out in the woods, about Squirrels.
The man goes off for 5 minutes on what rotten little bastards Grey Squirrels are, advocates their mass slaughter, with frequent cutaways to look at the cute little furry buggers in trees, finally culminating in visiting a restaurant that serves Squirrel on the menu, talks about they prepare them and how they taste, and then takes cooked squirrel out on the street to get people’s reaction to how it tastes.
I know. I know how bad that sounds.
In America, where the very suggestion that eating bacon or a hamburger can inspire people to go into a hate-crazed frenzy of taking offense at you all up in your face, this is over the top chaos at it’s finest.
I like eating beef, I love bacon, but I’d take a pass at the squirrel cutlets myself. Gamy chicken somehow doesn’t excite me. We weren’t cheering the idea of mass slaughter, we were charmed by his crazed delivery and frantic passion. Damn, he was convincing.
Oh, and I may not eat it myself, but if you want to eat squirrel, well, bloody well eat it. I hope you find it tasty. I’m certainly not going to get in your face screaming at you about it.
We now interrupt the lighthearted post to turn serious for just a moment.
To explain to all the honest vegetarians and vegans who may think I’m taking shots at them for no reason, or feel I’m even talking about them, I want to let you know this really isn’t about your views at all. I respect your views, and think there is a lot to admire about your positions and choices. I really do.
Why I am overly energetic about the pro-choice aspect of dining is that I’ll never forget the time, on this blog, that someone replied in a comment to one of my old posts about enjoying bacon that maybe I’d appreciate having my son killed and eaten, and added a Googlemaps link to my house.
If you are vegetarian or vegan, if you are someone that has made a choice on your diet for any reason, whether it be for fashion or based on moral grounds, I’ve got no problem with you whatsoever.
It’s the person that goes beyond living a lifestyle of their own choosing to take that next step of being a militant activist, telling other people how THEY should live and how THEY should behave… someone who believes meat is murder, and enjoys being confrontational with strangers over what they choose to do in their lives.
Let me be clear on this; one militant idiot has already stressed that they were fine with killing my son and showed they knew where I live. In public. It’s been done. Not a hypothetical. So future militants, guess what. You’ve got zero f’ing sympathy coming from me if you don’t like my tone. Tell someone else how you think they should live, and kiss my ass.
All the hate does now is encourage me to increase my bacon intake to piss you off more, so back off. The more you bring it, the more bacon I’ll eat. Threaten my son again and I buy an entire cow for our deep freezer. And I’ll name the cow, first.
That’s right. Back away or the cow gets it.
In fact, my next step may be to hold a “Sponsor the Bear Bacon Binge” event, and have people donate to a Paypal account to fund my bacon eating extravaganza.
Oh yeah, I’ll go there. Bet on it.
This post kinda took a turn back there, didn’t it?
Let’s get ‘er back on the rails.
We now return you to the lighthearted post on The F-Word, already in progress.
As far as the Squirrel bit, we just about died laughing.
This is not a show for people who are expecting a traditional, predictable anything. I never got the feeling they were going for a shock factor, as much as they were going for an ‘anything goes about food’ vibe. You never, ever know what the hell is going to happen next, but it’s fun and the people, for the most part, all come across as being themselves. They may like and crave the attention, but it’s kinda charming.
Also, it wasn’t THAT scripted. More than a few times, Ramsay crafted his recipes, served them, then went out and asked the diners what they thought. The criticism he got was oftentimes on the rough side, and frequently he was visibly upset at not having the food gushed over. And it all aired. I love that. Don’t just show how everyone fawns all over the famous chef, show what people really thought about the food. And boy, they do that.
No matter what, he did maintain his sense of humor, even if you could tell he was pissed. And one sign he’s pissed is when he starts calling guys “big boy”. It’s cute.
All in all, when we saw that we didn’t get the disc we expected, we were disappointed. But we said what the heck, and gave it a go.
Turns out, we enjoyed “The F-word” a lot more than I would have thought possible. Probably a lot more than we would have enjoyed Kitchen Nightmares.
God, I was just laughing my big butt off. How hilarious.
I guess a lot of the diners are celebrities that we’re supposed to recognise, but we had no idea who any of the people were at all. It didn’t matter at all.
I’m not suggesting you go see it. For all I know, you hate cooking shows in general, or Gordon Ramsay in particular.
Or maybe you like a bit more distance between your cooking shows and where the meat comes from. In episode 6 on the disc, he makes some celebrity kill a live lobster and cook it. Again, it was hilarious to us, because the celebrity was obviously shocked he’d be expected to touch a live fricken’ lobster, and kept waiting for the “just kidding” part of the gag. When he finally realises Ramsay is serious, and he’s expected, on camera, to kill a lobster, he offs the lobster, but with a lot of whining. But once it’s cooked, he’s all strutting around the kitchen like Davy bloody Crockett, king of the wild frontier.
It’s funny how what started as a simple disc mix up turned into one hell of an entertaining night.
Maybe I should call Netflix and thank them for mixing things up!
PS… Yes, I’m serious about the bit about the death threat. Very long time readers might even remember the incident, it was years ago on like my first bacon gushing post, but there are quite a few of you awesome folks that have been around a long time that might have seen those comments before we killed it. It was the first time I just felt like closing the blog. In the end, we tightened up comment approval processes so shit like that never gets out live again from a first time commenter. And we did some IP tracking, but that’s another story.
But yes, I always, and I mean always, do my best to tell the truth here. Yes that shit happens. Believe it.