The best cooking lessons Gordon Ramsay has ever taught us

The best cooking lessons Gordon Ramsay has ever taught us

Illustration for article titled The best cooking lessons Gordon Ramsay has ever taught us
Graphic: Rebecca Fassola

Who do you think is the best living chef? I don’t know if it’s Gordon Ramsay, but he has to at least enter the conversation. The guy has made an undeniably huge cultural impact. Is his personality greatly exaggerated on TV? Yes. Are his overproduced, over-the-top reality shows an example of a pop culture phenomenon that has long since worn out its welcome? Probably. But many people who know Ramsay from shows like Hell’s Kitchen might not know that the veteran chef has plenty of tutorial cooking videos in his catalog, too, and they’re full of valuable advice.

It’s in these videos that we get a glimpse of the softer Gordon Ramsay, the one who was often on display in the British version of Kitchen Nightmares (and was so unfortunately absent from the American version). When Ramsay is calm, there is something incredibly relaxing about his voice. He’s authoritative, slapping his hand in his palm to punctuate his lessons, but also nurturing. As far as great kitchen voices go, Ramsay is up there with the great Jacques Pépin: his instructional whispers alleviate your worries. This is actually quite easy, they suggest, and it’s true. Gordon Ramsay’s recipes are as achievable as his tone is smooth.

Most of his videos cover basic cooking skills with succinct instructions, excellent production, and the eagerness of somebody who wants you to succeed. The best way to learn how to cook is from a chef, and if you can’t do that in person, there are few resources more readily available than Ramsay. His beautiful cooking tutorials—often drowned out by his splashy pranks and glorious tirades—can help a home cook at any stage of their development. So here are his five best, most amazing (sorry, I will be talking like him now) lessons on how to become a better chef.

Danny is a comedian and writer living in Los Angeles. Instagram @palumbros

Advertisement

2 / 7

Lobster Meat

Lobster Meat

Lobster Meat

This video from MasterChef is insane, and not for the faint of heart. Although Ramsay does kill the lobster humanely, he still shoves a knife straight through its brain cavity with the calmness of a serial killer. His how-to grows steadily more harrowing as he continues to extract every last ounce of meat from the lobster—he even extracts the leg meat with a fucking rolling pin. He then proceeds to plate the poached lobster in the shape of the once living crustacean, which is some shit a villain on Dexter would do. Ramsay generally comes off as a murderer with a taste for the theatrical, taunting local detectives. (It’s like he wants us to catch him, chief.) His expertise shines here, and if you’ve ever thought, “He’s just a TV personality, not a real chef,” this video smashes that notion to pieces.

Advertisement

3 / 7

Classic Shepherd’s Pie

Classic Shepherd’s Pie

Classic Shepherd’s Pie

This video is bizarre and chaotic and I love it. Gordon makes a shepherd’s pie in two minutes with the help of a director on cocaine and an early 2000s upbeat grunge soundtrack. If you learn by watching a 12-minute video of somebody droning on about their dogs while kneading dough, then this isn’t for you. This is all cuts and dizzy camera movements and Ramsay uttering nothing but isolated nouns and verbs: “Oil. Lamb. Season. Grate. Onion. Carrot.” In the future, all cooking shows will be 30 seconds long. I know lots of people think this video is unhelpful, but if you’ve got a working knowledge of how to cook these basic foods, it’s a great, simple recipe that works. There is a whole lot of these smash-cut-inspired videos in Ramsay’s repertoire, and this shepherd’s pie installment serves as a prime example of how to trim the fat.

Advertisement

4 / 7

Chicken Parm

Chicken Parm

Chicken Parm

Of all the chicken parm recipes online, this is the best. Coming in at a modest 10 million views, it is filled with uniquely excellent advice you just don’t get anywhere else. The generous amount of Parmesan cheese in the breadcrumb mixture is an all-time pro tip. The way he gently rolls the breadcrumbs into the chicken breast over parchment paper is an expert-level move. The extra butter in the pan to achieve an evenly golden crust? Legendary. This isn’t the chicken parm drowned in red sauce and mozzarella cheese that I crave, but it’s a version filled with great insight that you should be applying every time you fry a chicken breast at home. Plus, the fact that he found a way to offer something unique to the vast landscape of parm videos is an accomplishment all in itself.

Advertisement

5 / 7

The Perfect Steak

The Perfect Steak

The Perfect Steak

Ramsay’s steak technique has permeated the zeitgeist with ease. This is far and away the most useful tutorial in learning how to cook a steak in a pan at home. The butter, the thyme, the searing and resting. The importance of sound. Also, this was definitely the first time I heard somebody say “knob of butter.” What? I don’t have to say “tablespoons” anymore? Beautiful. This video is two and a half minutes long, and it’s quite simple to follow along. It’s Ramsay at his best: a wonderfully effective orator and teacher. His butter-basting technique is a theme replicated in many other dishes and subsequent videos, but this one was the O.G.

Advertisement

6 / 7

Scrambled Eggs 

Scrambled Eggs 

Scrambled Eggs 

40 million views. There isn’t a more iconic Ramsay video out there. It’s crazy how many home cooks reference this to me in casual conversation. Ramsay’s “risotto” method for scrambled eggs has been the gold standard for a while now, and for good reason. He emphasizes the importance of residual heat, seasoning, constant motion, and, oh yes, butter. There’s something very congenial about the whole thing. Mind you, this isn’t the tedious and often frustrating process of perfecting a French omelette. This is the humble scrambled egg, something you can order at the rattiest diner in town. His instruction is so simple, Ramsay makes it seem like you can cook just like him. The creamy, cloud-like eggs instantly changed what everyone thought they knew about breakfast. Butter sales probably went through the roof. Decadence at home in the morning became achievable. Ramsay and his scrambled eggs changed the game.

Advertisement

7 / 7

Danny is a comedian and writer living in Los Angeles. Instagram @palumbros

DISCUSSION