My new favorite food-related show on television has got to be Gordon Ramsay’s The F Word, which my good friend TiVo has been recording for me with an inspiring level of devotion. The show’s current season is set up as follows:
Four-person teams of amateur cooks (“brigades,” Ramsay calls them) prepare a three-course meal for fifty guests, who rate each plate; the brigade with the highest score wins the opportunity to take over the Claridge’s kitchen for a dinner service. Interspersed throughout the episode are interludes on specific ingredients (pigeon, crawfish, snails, etc.), miscellaneous segments by food journalists, a bit featuring Ramsay cooking a healthy meal in a viewer’s home, and visiting whatever Ramsay is raising in his backyard. In one season, it’s turkeys; in another, it’s pigs; in the newest season, he rears lambs. The kicker, though, is that the animals are then fed to the restaurant diners in the finale episode.
The Ramsay seen here is far more interesting to me and far more fun to watch than the spitting, shouting Ramsay of Kitchen Nightmares and Hell’s Kitchen (neither of which I watch regularly). The F Word‘s Ramsay, on the other hand, smiles, laughs, kids, cooks and removes his shirt in the opening credits (no kidding). He still swears up a storm, though — not that expletives matter much to me at all. A curse here or there isn’t going to change what I love about this show: its intention to make cooking and food accessible to the audience. And I think that’s (f*cking) brilliant.