Australian PM is latest to join the 'I hate Ramsay' club

Rudd steps in after chef likens TV presenter to image of pig-faced woman

In his expletive-strewn trajectory towards culinary fame and uncertain fortune, Gordon Ramsay has alienated countless individuals, from sous chefs to rock stars, with his trademark cocktail of food and fury. But until now the chef's antics have not attracted the ire of those of prime ministerial rank.

An attempt by the famously profane Briton to drum up business in Australia backfired spectacularly after he mocked a television interviewer by likening her to a doctored picture of a woman with multiple breasts and a pig's face, and in return found himself described yesterday as a "new form of low life" by the country's Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd.

Condemnation by a world leader was the latest twist in an extraordinary row between Ramsay, 42, and the broadcaster Tracy Grimshaw after the chef appeared on her prime-time news programme, A Current Affair, on Friday in a largely uneventful interview about his ambitions Down Under.

Ramsay opened hostilities the next evening when he told an audience of 3,000 at a cookery demonstration in Melbourne that Grimshaw needed "to see Simon Cowell's Botox doctor" and presented the photograph of a naked "pig woman" on a giant screen before declaring "that's Tracy Grimshaw".

Ramsay, who is also in Australia to inspect the construction of his restaurant in Melbourne's Crown Casino, denied claims that he had also called Grimshaw a lesbian.

But after 48 hours of dignified silence, Grimshaw, whose employer, the Nine Network, has had a ratings hit with Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares and Hell's Kitchen, issued a devastating critique of the chef's attack, describing Ramsay as a self-obsessed bully.

In a spectacular reversal of the knuckle-dragging Antipodean and the dignified, slightly-puzzled Pom stereotypes that normally dog Anglo-Australian relations, the journalist calmly described Ramsay's assault, saying it had been hurtful to her and anyone who loved her.

"Truly I wonder how many people would laugh if they were effectively described as an old, ugly pig. How is that funny exactly? It is not even witty."

Grimshaw said she had considered maintaining her silence but decided she could not let his claims go unanswered. "We all know bullies thrive when nobody takes them on. I'm not going to sit meekly and let some arrogant narcissist bully me."

She said she had agreed to a requirement from Ramsay's publicists that she not mention allegations that he had had a long-running affair but he had not returned the compliment by making "very clear and uninformed insinuations" about her private life.

"Obviously Gordon thinks that any woman who doesn't find him attractive must be gay. For the record, I don't and I'm not," she said.

The riposte prompted a high-level closing of Australian ranks against Ramsay. Prime Minister Rudd said: "I think I could describe his remarks as reflecting a new form of low life. That's off and offensive. Good on Tracy Grimshaw for coming out and giving him a left uppercut."

Ramsay, who holds 14 Michelin stars, and his publicity advisers initially tried to laugh off the row with Grimshaw, saying it was a tongue-in-cheek spat between "good friends".

But Ramsay last night clearly decided that a carefully-worded climb down was in order.

A spokeswoman said the chef had made his remarks in front a "large and boisterous" audience: "His intention was to make a joke and indeed he did raise a big laugh at the time. However, with hindsight he realises that his comments were inappropriate and offensive to Tracy Grimshaw, and he has unreservedly apologised both to her and anybody else who may have been upset."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Austen Lloyd: Practice / HR Manager - Somerset

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: A rare and exciting opportunity for a Practice...

Ashdown Group: HR Executive

£20000 - £23000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: An exciting opportunity...

Tradewind Recruitment: Geography Teacher

£150 - £180 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: A mainstream Secondary school in C...

Guru Careers: HR Administrator / Training Coordinator

COMPETITIVE: Guru Careers: An HR Administrator / Training Coordinator is requi...

Day In a Page

Mullah Omar, creator of the Taliban, is dead... for the fourth time

Mullah Omar, creator of the Taliban, is dead... again

I was once told that intelligence services declare their enemies dead to provoke them into popping up their heads and revealing their location, says Robert Fisk
Margaret Attwood on climate change: 'Time is running out for our fragile, Goldilocks planet'

Margaret Attwood on climate change

The author looks back on what she wrote about oil in 2009, and reflects on how the conversation has changed in a mere six years
New Dr Seuss manuscript discovered: What Pet Should I Get? goes on sale this week

New Dr Seuss manuscript discovered

What Pet Should I Get? goes on sale this week
Oculus Rift and the lonely cartoon hedgehog who could become the first ever virtual reality movie star

The cartoon hedgehog leading the way into a whole new reality

Virtual reality is the 'next chapter' of entertainment. Tim Walker gives it a try
Ants have unique ability to switch between individual and collective action, says study

Secrets of ants' teamwork revealed

The insects have an almost unique ability to switch between individual and collective action
Donovan interview: The singer is releasing a greatest hits album to mark his 50th year in folk

Donovan marks his 50th year in folk

The singer tells Nick Duerden about receiving death threats, why the world is 'mentally ill', and how he can write a song about anything, from ecology to crumpets
Let's Race simulator: Ultra-realistic technology recreates thrill of the Formula One circuit

Simulator recreates thrill of F1 circuit

Rory Buckeridge gets behind the wheel and explains how it works
Twitter accused of 'Facebookisation' over plans to overhaul reverse-chronological timeline

Twitter accused of 'Facebookisation'

Facebook exasperates its users by deciding which posts they can and can’t see. So why has Twitter announced plans to do the same?
Jane Birkin asks Hermès to rename bag - but what else could the fashion house call it?

Jane Birkin asks Hermès to rename bag

The star was shocked by a Peta investigation into the exotic skins trade
10 best waterproof mascaras

Whatever the weather: 10 best waterproof mascaras

We found lash-enhancing beauties that won’t budge no matter what you throw at them
Diego Costa biography: Chelsea striker's route to the top - from those who shared his journey

Diego Costa: I go to war. You come with me...

Chelsea's rampaging striker had to fight his way from a poor city in Brazil to life at the top of the Premier League. A new book speaks to those who shared his journey
Ashes 2015: England show the mettle to strike back hard in third Test

England show the mettle to strike back hard in third Test

The biggest problem facing them in Birmingham was the recovery of the zeitgeist that drained so quickly under the weight of Australian runs at Lord's, says Kevin Garside
Women's Open 2015: Charley Hull - 'I know I'm a good golfer but I'm also just a person'

Charley Hull: 'I know I'm a good golfer but I'm also just a person'

British teen keeps her feet on ground ahead of Women's Open
Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

Turkish President Erdogan could benefit politically from the targeting of the PKK, says Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: Our choice is years of Tory rule under Jeremy Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

Our choice is years of Tory rule under Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

Yvette Cooper urged Labour members to 'get serious' about the next general election rather than become 'a protest movement'