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."

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Project Manager (HR)- Bristol - Upto £400 p/day

£350 - £400 per annum + competitive: Orgtel: Project Manager (specializing in ...

HR Business Partner (Maternity Cover 12 Months)

£30000 - £34000 Per Annum 25 days holiday, Private healthcare: Clearwater Peop...

Project Manager (Procurement & Human Resources)

Unpaid: Cancer Research UK: If you’re a professional in project management, lo...

Geography Teacher

£85 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: We require a teacher of Geogr...

Day In a Page

Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices
Could our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?

Could smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases?

Health Kit and Google Fit have been described as "the beginning of a health revolution"
Ryanair has turned on the 'charm offensive' but can we learn to love the cut-price carrier again?

Can we learn to love Ryanair again?

Four recent travellers give their verdicts on the carrier's improved customer service
Billionaire founder of Spanx launches range of jeans that offers

Spanx launches range of jeans

The jeans come in two styles, multiple cuts and three washes and will go on sale in the UK in October
10 best over-ear headphones

Aural pleasure: 10 best over-ear headphones

Listen to your favourite tracks with this selection, offering everything from lambskin earmuffs to stainless steel
Commonwealth Games 2014: David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end

Commonwealth Games

David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end
UCI Mountain Bike World Cup 2014: Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings

UCI Mountain Bike World Cup

Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings
Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star