Chef Ramsey…psshh…You Don’t Scare Me!

Gingerbread houseI love watching “Hell’s Kitchen.” Having worked in numerous kitchens growing up, and myself having a love of cooking, I get my kicks watching Ramsey bring tears to grown men’s eyes. Granted, most of these contestants were handpicked by studio directors, no doubt under the watchful gaze of a psychiatrist, for maximum hysterics value, but it’s still fun to watch regardless.

Plus, after having lived under the tyranny of multiple drill instructors for six weeks, Chef Ramsey’s tirades pale in comparison to that of “Master Sargent Aleman” (oh ye of the state trooper hat and the gritted teeth) whose very gaze was enough to loosen the sphincters of many an 18-year-old recruit.

But it’s almost a shame really what Hell’s Kitchen has done to the art and joy of cooking. Admittedly, cooking in a high-pressure restaurant is far different from cooking for the enjoyment of it at home, but the show does little to depict the beauty of the ingredients, the smell of seared steak and onions, and the joy one gets from perfectly plating up an entire meal at the same time and delivering it to the table hot and delicious.

Which, come to think of it, is kind of like what having kids does to one’s joy of cooking.

I used to LOVE to cook, and on the rare occasion that I get to do it without a 15-month-old clinging to my leg and crying as I’m trying to one-handedly flip something in the frypan, I still enjoy the heck out of it.

But like Hell’s Kitchen, having kids means doing away with dinners that simmer patiently for an hour on the stove; instead, cooking has become this frenzied, “What can I cook that we’ll ALL enjoy” event that leaves me frustrated and dejected. In that respect, I’d take a restaurant full of parents who cook for their family, over a bunch of well-trained culinary students, to staff my kitchen any day! With these seasoned family chefs, I know that what I’m going to get may not have the freshest herbs, or the most mouth-watering Ahi Tuna available at the market that day, but you can bet that whatever we cook, it’s not gonna be raw, at the very least palatable, and by golly, if it’s rice, we’ll call it rice, NOT Risotto!

Course…there’s not much difference between Ramsey’s ranting and my kids hollering after they’ve left the table, but at least on Hell’s Kitchen, the diners are generally shielded from the noise. And on more than one occasion, as I’m trying to finish that last bite of some unusually tasty treat that I was able to prepare, as the kids come running up to me asking me something completely banal like, “Do you know why Superman wears red boots?” I’ve been very tempted to quote Chef Ramsey and say, “Pi** off!”

I’m pretty sure CareerMom would hang me up by my testicles if I said that, so I just play along nicely. Ramsey should have to cook with kids running around in the kitchen. I think it would mellow him out a bit.