Gordon Ramsay's shows make a real difference...unlike The Great British Bake Off

While it’s fair to say that Gordon is a bit of a jerk, at least he goes out into the real world and helps people through his programmes

Share
Related Topics

Chef Ramsay may be a foul-mouthed egomaniac with a forehead like a freshly ploughed field, but he certainly doesn’t deserve Great British Bake Off judge Mary Berry’s hatred.

In a recent interview with the Radio Times; the 78 year-old presenter seemingly described all programmes that aren’t Great British Bake Off as ‘violent, cruel and noisy’. Harsh terms indeed, particularly given the fact that the broad boundaries of her disapproval could theoretically include things like Sean the Sheep, Blue Peter and Scooby Doo.

However, it’s more likely that those three words were aimed at Gordon Ramsay, as Mary then went on to say that she ‘hated’ his programmes, implying that she dislikes his use of - ahem - ‘colourful’ language. It’s a very weak and archaic reason to write someone off, though to be fair the whole interview reads like it’s been broadcast from another century.

While it’s fair to say that Gordon is a bit of a jerk, at least he goes out into the real world and helps people through his programmes. He isn’t peddling sugary televisual methadone designed to make viewers believe that they’re living in a twee, post-war fantasy land.

Outside the grounds of the stately homes where the GBBO producers plonk their cake tent, things have never been worse. As of May 2013, youth unemployment stands at 21.4 per cent; small businesses are closing their doors at an unprecedented rate and cuts to rehabilitation services mean that securing a post-prison job may soon be an impossible dream for many ex-offenders.

Gordon’s shows, while obviously offering him a vehicle for self-promotion and associated profit, at least attempt to tackle some of these issues instead of perpetuating the myth that everything is jolly lovely and that a freshly baked scone can solve any problem imaginable. Particularly if it’s displayed on a vintage cake stand covered in doilies.  

As well as attempting to turn around failing businesses in Kitchen Nightmares and giving aspiring chefs a leg up in Hell’s Kitchen, last year Gordon set up a bakery in the basement of London’s Brixton Prison to highlight the untapped potential that many offenders could access if they were given the opportunity.

Gordon Behind Bars was a huge success, so much so that participant Anthony Kelly recently praised Ramsay, saying that he owes Gordon a lot. Thanks to the show and additional support from rehabilitation charity Anchor House, Anthony was able to secure work on his release and has even tried his hand at acting: not bad for a man who has been in and out of prison since he was 15.

The bakery Gordon founded is still going strong; in fact it’s been taken over by an organisation called Working Links and provides dozens of men from difficult backgrounds with vital training. However, Mary Berry probably doesn’t seem to realise that. She probably didn’t watch Gordon Behind Bars as, in her interview, she writes off all reality television programming as ‘ghastly’.

Maybe if she poked her head above the parapet of her spun-sugar castle for five minutes she’d see that far from being cruel, programmes like Gordon Behind Bars have a genuine, positive effect on the lives of people who aren’t receiving support anywhere else.                                            

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Spanish Speaking

£17000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - German Speaking

£17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Japanese Speaking

£17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: If you are fluent in Japanese a...

Recruitment Genius: Graphic Designer - Immediate Start

£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Dom Joly owns a pig. That thinks it's a dog.  

I'll bow out. Let Wilbur, the pig that thinks it's a dog, bring home the bacon

Dom Joly
 

Forget charging by the page - with books, heart matters more than heft

Katy Guest
The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'