Gor­don 2.0

Chef Gor­don Ram­say may be best known for his trade­mark ag­gres­sive kitchen an­tics, but the 51-year-old is more fight­ing fit than F-off these days as he turns over a new (salad) leaf. AN­THONY HUCKSTEP re­ports

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - FRONT PAGE - Gor­don Ram­say was in Mel­bourne film­ing for Net­work Ten’s up­com­ing sea­son of Mas­ter Chef Aus­tralia, which is cel­e­brat­ing its 10th sea­son. Visit de­li­cious.com.au to­day to see our quick-fire Q&A with Ram­say.

No more plate throw­ing, no more an­tics. He’s fit­ter than ever and has his ‘S**t sorted out’. Who is the new Gor­don Ram­say?

He’s tougher than a $2 steak and has an un­canny abil­ity to lob F-bombs from 50 paces and find his tar­get. Gor­don Ram­say was schooled in the gal­ley of tough-nut cook­ery and his ap­proach to ex­cel­lence has al­ways been served with a side of ex­ple­tives. But there’s a very dif­fer­ent F-word that’s driv­ing his life these days.

“My fa­ther [Gor­don James Se­nior] died of a heart at­tack at 53 and now I’m 51,” says a more con­sid­ered Ram­say.

“Just the thought of leav­ing the fam­ily in two years’ time scares the sh*t out of me to be hon­est,” he says.

Fear, with a cap­i­tal ‘F’, took hold of the man who nor­mally eats wimps for break­fast. Now he’s drink­ing nour­ish­ing smooth­ies. It’s a change that started three years ago and it has com­pletely trans­formed the con­tro­ver­sial chef.

Head­ing into his 50s, Ram­say re­alised he needed a spring in his step. His age com­bined with the bru­tal­ity of the kitchen – the odd hours, travel and in­con­sis­tent diet – were all catch­ing up with him.

“I felt I was get­ting slug­gish,” he says. “I re­alised I needed to change my habits.”

A dis­ci­plined regime sees him mod­er­ate his food con­sump­tion, and al­though he’s the fittest he’s ever been, his in­creas­ing ap­petite for health has at times bor­dered on self-de­struc­tion.

In 2016, he rup­tured his Achilles ten­don, then, while com­pet­ing against his son in Hawaii Iron­man, he col­lapsed and ended up in the back of an am­bu­lance suf­fer­ing de­hy­dra­tion.

“I’m per­haps push­ing my­self a bit too hard, but as a chef, I need to find that point of bal­ance. If I stopped run­ning, walk­ing and swim­ming to­day, I’d blow out to 19 stone in three months.”

Ram­say says the stress of the job takes a phys­i­cal and men­tal toll. “Ray­mond Blanc has had three heart at­tacks, Bernard Loiseau blew his brains out be­cause he was con­cerned about los­ing the Miche­lin star,” he says. “I saw the ef­fect of the drug epi­demic in the in­dus­try.All that façade of a rock ’n’ roll im­age is bullsh*t,” says Ram­say, who be­lieves it’s time for a new hori­zon.

“It’s clean cut, that’s the po­si­tion of the chef to­day.You have to be like an ath­lete to sur­vive,” he says.

Fear may have driven a change in Ram­say, but the out­spo­ken chef hasn’t lost any of his ap­petite for suc­cess, rather he’s al­tered how he reaches the end goal.

“I’ve sus­tained that level of im­pact in the in­dus­try by be­ing on my game, be­ing a real chef with no bullsh*t, and – most im­por­tantly – I chal­lenge my­self. I just haven’t sat back, got a big gut and thought ‘f*ck it ,I’m go­ing to dis­ap­pear and drive my Fer­raris’,” he says.

Ram­say hasn’t tech­ni­cally been be­hind the line and on the pans pro­fes­sion­ally for 15 years, which he now con­cedes he is grate­ful for.

“I have an amaz­ing young Aus­tralian chef at Gor­don Ram­say at Hos­pi­tal Road [in Lon­don] who is go­ing to be the next big thing – Matt Abe, from Syd­ney.

“If I didn’t have that del­e­ga­tion I would have been on my third or fourth heart at­tack by now for sure,” he says.

As part of Ram­say 2.0, he’s launched a new grey colour to his ca­sual din­ner range with Royal Doul­ton – Union Street Cafe (pic­tured), which he was here in Aus­tralia to pro­mote – that is cen­tred around shar­ing food at the ta­ble, as well as a new cook­book, Ul­ti­mate Fit Food, which en­cour­ages a health­ier life­style.

“Let’s get this right straight away,” de­mands Ram­say.“This is not a book for di­eters. It’s not a diet book. It’s what I cook on week­ends and a cou­ple of nights a week at home. It’s be­ing smart with cream, but­ter, eggs – never cut­ting them out but re­duc­ing your in­take.

“For me this is a go-to life­style, whether it’s the baked chicken, or break­fast smooth­ies. There are in­dul­gent dishes in there too, pro­vid­ing you find that bal­ance be­tween what you eat and mov­ing your body,” he says.

The life of a chef is all too of­ten about ex­cess, so how does Ram­say stay on top of his new-found health?

“I eat smaller por­tions, but what I do eat is al­ways de­cent. I changed milk to al­mond milk and dropped milk in my cof­fee al­to­gether,” he says.

He also has some sim­ple tricks any­one can im­ple­ment at home. “I drink sparkling wa­ter be­fore din­ner so I feel fuller,” he of­fers.

Ram­say is adamant even small changes will al­ter your en­tire per­spec­tive, but the hardest part about los­ing weight and get­ting fit is start­ing.

“It’s a head f*ck try­ing to get out of first gear. It’s hor­ri­ble, slug­gish, and a change from what you’re com­fort­able with,” he says.

“Walk away from a dish when you’re full, even if it’s amaz­ing. Don’t sit there ev­ery af­ter­noon and drink more cof­fee. Try get­ting out of bed early and go­ing for a walk. It’s start­ing a new rou­tine that’s the high­est hur­dle.

“On the plus side, when it’s 6am and you get off the bike af­ter 60 min­utes, you can eat what­ever you want, trust me,” he says. “If you want to make a change, you should be aim­ing to move like a f*ck­ing bal­le­rina!” Yes, chef!

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.