The Australian Prime Minister described Gordon Ramsay as a "new form of lowlife" today in the wake of comments the celebrity chef allegedly made about a television presenter down under.
The Hell's Kitchen star was reported to have called Tracy Grimshaw a lesbian and compared her with a pig in front of a 3,000-strong audience at a live cooking show in Melbourne on Saturday.
Ramsay denied using the word "lesbian" and said the comments were intended as a joke, but Grimshaw used her show, A Current Affair, to lambast the chef as an "arrogant narcissist".
The Australian PM Kevin Rudd congratulated Grimshaw for dealing Ramsay a "left uppercut" with her riposte.
"I think I can describe his remarks as reflecting a new form of lowlife," Mr Rudd told Fairfax radio.
"I just drew breath when I saw the sort of stuff which was said about her, I just think that's off and offensive.
"Good on Tracy Grimshaw for coming out and giving him a left uppercut."
The 42-year-old chef's remarks, which he apparently repeated at the cooking event on Sunday and yesterday, came after a largely unremarkable interview with Grimshaw on her show on Channel 9 - the same station that shows Ramsay's programmes in Australia.
On her show last night, Grimshaw said the remarks were unprovoked, and she found them hurtful.
"We all know bullies thrive when nobody takes them on," she said, "and I'm not going to let some arrogant narcissist bully me.
"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."
Grimshaw also attacked Ramsay over the way he treated his wife Tana, making a veiled reference to allegations the chef had an extra-marital affair.
"I'm not surprised by any of this," she said, "we've all seen how Gordon Ramsay treats his wife, and he supposedly loves her. We're all just fodder to him."
Confronted by reporters while out jogging in Melbourne, he said his comments had been "blown out of context".
He said: "I never once mentioned the word lesbian, and having a tongue-in-cheek joke was not at her expense.
"For me on a personal front to see how sad and how bitter for someone like that to come out - a renowned pro - to stoop that low and attack my wife is disgusting.
"It's obvious she's done it for ratings."
Ramsay said he intended to "crack on" and was looking forward to his wife joining him in a fortnight's time.
The exchange ended in slightly farcical circumstances as journalists and cameramen tried to pursue the chef on his run and into his hotel before being stopped by security guards.
Channel 9 later aired footage of Ramsay shot backstage while he was preparing for the Grimshaw interview, during which he said a weather presenter "didn't know her f****** a*** from her elbow" for getting the forecast wrong.
He was also caught on camera giving a female reporter his tip for success in running marathons - olive oil on the nipples.