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

Senior Risk Manager - Banking - London - £650

£600 - £650 per day: Orgtel: Conduct Risk Liaison Manager - Banking - London -...

Commercial Litigation Associate

Highly Attractive Package: Austen Lloyd: CITY - COMMERCIAL LITIGATION - GLOBAL...

Systems Manager - Dynamics AX

£65000 - £75000 per annum + Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: The client is a...

Service Delivery Manager (Software Development, Testing)

£40000 - £45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A well-established software house ba...

Day In a Page

Read Next
The economy expanded by 0.8 per cent in the second quarter of 2014  

British economy: Government hails the latest GDP figures, but there is still room for skepticism over this 'glorious recovery'

Ben Chu
Comedy queen: Miranda Hart has said that she is excited about working on the new film  

There is no such thing as a middle-class laugh

David Lister
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform