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
Thirteen-year-old Conor awakes in bed one night to discover that the yew tree outside his house has ...
It’s hard not to feel sorry for doe-eyed Andy. He spends months pining after Louise, has huge nostr...
Fragility of life looms large over an episode that closes with the scarring on Julie's stomach. Whil...
Kan you believe it? Kim Kardashian and Kanye West reportedly name baby daughter 'Kaidance Donda'
Film review: World War Z - Brad Pitt's zombie action flick is surprisingly infectious
Theatre review: Daniel Radcliffe gives an admirably honest performance in Michael Grandage's The Cripple of Inishmaan - but his Irish accent isn't quite there
Anger Management? Charlie Sheen fires Selma Blair as his onscreen therapist with expletive-filled text
Vice pulls 'breathtakingly tasteless' fashion shoot glorifying the suicides of famous female authors from Sylvia Plath to Virginia Woolf
- 1 Serena Williams apologises after comment that rape victim 'shouldn't have put herself in that position'
- 2 Disability campaigners celebrate 'victory' after government rethink over plans to make it more difficult to claim disability benefits
- 3 Bankers could face jail after report urges the Government to introduce new criminal offence for reckless management
- 4 Breaking the Silence: In the reality of occupation, there are no Palestinian civilians – only potential terrorists
- 5 We never knew Nigella Lawson - and we still don’t