The Scot chef is a busy man. In fact, not only does he run a group of Michelin-starred restaurants, he's constantly got some television project in production in some part of the world (mostly America and England). But Gordon Ramsay will tell you that taking time with the family or cooking for a loved one is the true spice of life. And he thinks that there are five essential must-haves each refrigerator should contain.
Ramsay, whose "Hell's Kitchen" is currently running its 11th season in the US and whose "MasterChef" will soon start its third, is on the cover of the latest Men's Journal, sharing a little about his private life and what it's like being a chef driven to culinary perfection. But when he does have some down time with his family or a little alone time with his partner, he insists, as noted in a videotaped interview, that there are certain staples that must be in the refrigerator.
Ramsay said when he was training in Paris "and getting [his] ass kicked in some of the best restaurants in the world," he found that there were five "essentials" that he always kept on hand and continues to do so to this day.
"A lot of people say, 'I can tell who you are by looking in your wardrobe.' For me, I can tell the person just by looking inside their fridge. I think fridges... it says a lot -- of character and the approach on how they live on a daily basis."
The five essentials the famed chef says should be in everyone's refrigerator:
- Pink Champagne. Chef Ramsay says a chilled bottle of pink champagne "always goes down good" at any time. As a treat, for dinner, whenever.
- Eggs. The chef suggests a half-dozen. There's nothing sexier, he says, than some scrambled eggs if your "luck's in and she's doing a sleepover."
- Crème fraîche. Ramsay notes that some sour cream, or creme fraiche, helps cool down the scrambled eggs and keeps them from overcooking.
- Parmesan. Chef Ramsay suggests a block of aged parmesan cheese, because it's "guaranteed" that a kitchen has pasta, garlic, chills and such on hand. And you don't need a rich spaghetti sauce. "Trust me. Freshly grated parmesan cheese, freshly squeezed lemon juice over penne or spaghetti -- delicious."
- Humus. The chef prefers spicy but what is important, he notes, is that it is something to share, something to eat that isn't a major meal. (This traditional Middle Eastern spread (or dip) is made with chickpeas, sesame, lemon, and garlic as its basic ingredients.)
So what does that say about Chef Ramsay's character? Practical, sensible, unassuming, a sharing nature, not wasteful, perhaps with a bit of fun side (as his mention of pink champagne first might suggest)? Does that sound like the Chef Ramsay we're used to seeing berating trained chefs on "Hell's Kitchen" or recalcitrant restauranteurs on "Kitchen Nightmares?"
Regardless, that demanding perfectionist that seems to have taken over much of Fox Television's program schedule over the past few years seems to have an entirely different persona when the cameras aren't rolling. And that might be the key to his success, the fact that many can see through all the yelling and bluster, the drive to get things just so and create plated perfection providing a rough veneer on a man that truly cares about his work and the people around him.
"Learning to cook, for me," Chef Ramsay says in the interview with Men's Journal, "is as important as learning a second language or history, geography, because it's something you need to hold on to for the rest of your life. So, so important."
What's in your refrigerator?