Gordon Ramsay is, by all accounts, a chef of enormous talent. Few of us will ever get the chance to test that claim out. But watching Ramsay's Boiling Point (C4), we can all appreciate that he is a swearer of genius. That's not to say that his vocabulary is very varied; but like the best chefs, he can whip up a few basic ingredients into something amazing.
The series picked him up just after he had walked out of Aubergine, following a dispute with his partners, and decided to go it alone, buying a restaurant called La Tante Claire. The first part of last night's programme followed him in the build-up to the opening night - among other pressures, he had discovered that he had been secretly filmed for an ITV programme called Bosses from Hell, and the press had leapt on stories of his fiery temper. This section was comparatively calm, but ended with a hint of the treat to come, as Ramsay, preparing to receive his first customers, spotted a waiter wearing an obvious dressing on his finger: "You're smart, you're immaculate and a f***ing blue plaster. S***!"
After the break, things turned spectacular. Ramsay's boiling point is, I would guess, fairly low. On this occasion, the extractor fan failed in the kitchen, pushing temperatures up to 138F. This was followed by malfunctioning air-conditioning in the dining room. It turned out that nobody knew how to work the controls, including a waiter who had been told to find out several weeks earlier. Ramsay hit a climactic riff: "Why did I send you down? So we're not in the f***ing s*** now, yer fat bastard. Or did you think it was just, come down to have a cup of coffee, show 'em how fat you were? Is your brains in your f***ing a***? What are we going to do now then, fatso?" You noticed, with something approaching awe, that the waiter wasn't even particularly fat.
It's worth pointing out that this is consensual cruelty. Most of the staff walked out of steady jobs at Aubergine in order to carry on working with Ramsay. The assistant wine waiter was summarily sacked for "Standing in front of the f***ing glass, drinking f***ing water in front of all the f***ing customers - f*** off!". But he spoke for them all when, weeping, he told his boss that he was the best chef he had ever worked with ("I don't give a s*** what he thinks," Ramsay said).
But their willingness to absorb punishment just piles on the pressure: each performance has to top the last if Ramsay is to continue shocking them into obedience. So far he has managed it, but there are four episodes to go. Something has to blow: the TV, his head, my jangled nerves. Love it.
Arts & Ents blogs
Fancy seeing a play about serial killers? How about inviting a funeral director into your home for a...
There are a good many moments in the second episode of this psychological thriller that deserve refl...
The opening titles squeal ‘Never Can Say Goodbye…’. Oh Lord how I wish I could heave this series off...
Coronation Street triumphs over EastEnders at British Soap Awards 2013
The Hangover III star Heather Graham: I'll miss playing a sexy stripper because my real life is pretty boring
Hollywood practices random acts of red-carpet kindness
Archaeologists uncover nearly 5,000 cave paintings in Burgos, Mexico
Cannes Film Festival 2013: And why exactly are vous here?
- 1 Man and woman arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to murder victim of Woolwich machete attack, named as Drummer Lee Rigby
- 2 'Sickening, deluded and unforgivable': Horrific attack brings terror to London’s streets
- 3 Grace Dent: I’m not sure how these people can avoid being called ‘bigots’. And the more ‘civilised’, the worse they are
- 4 Woolwich murder: They killed, then they performed - these men should be starved of our attention
- 5 Woolwich attack: The EDL will seek to exploit this evil crime for their own evil ends
BMF is the UK’s biggest and best loved outdoor fitness classes
Find out what The Independent's resident travel expert has to say about one of the most beautiful small cities in the world
Nook is donating eReaders to volunteers at high-need schools and participating in exclusive events throughout the campaign.
Get the latest on The Evening Standard's campaign to get London's children reading.
Win anything from gadgets to five-star holidays on our competitions and offers page.