Gordon’s Great Escape Review: One-Way Ticket?

GORDON’S GREAT ESCAPE: Monday 16th May, C4, 9pm

“I’m on a great escape…â€? Why Gordon? “Getting away from it all…â€? What are you getting away from Gordon? “And back to doing what I love best.â€? What are you currently doing that isn’t your best Gordon? We’re not going to be getting his answers from this form of media anyway. You can sort of understand, with a fair amount of his private life splashed all over the papers recently, Ramsay is probably quite happy to be getting away from us for a new series for Channel 4. The problem with Gordon’s Great Escape however, is that after watching it I think we’re quite happy to get away from him.

Like a lot of people, I used to like Gordon. His first few series of Kitchen Nightmares? Genius. Sure, as a portrayal of what happens in the kitchen, it was up there with those KFC adverts as those adverts, but it had melodrama, a story, swearwords, heroes and villains and practical pointers to improve their business (i.e. paint job and a new menu)…. Then of course with that success building and his reputation on the rise, what does he do next? Hell’s Kitchen. Swearing, tension music, ANGUS DEAYTON… It started to get close to the bone, but you know, it was still okay… we all liked it. Great to watch with a bottle of wine, great to feel that a bottle of wine might be thrown in his direction during the show. We were happy.

But with a need to always “developâ€? his persona and stay in the limelight in the US it has become evident: Gordon Ramsay, on TV has simply become a parody of himself. His series of Hell’s Kitchen in the US? A joke. You can only see so many smashed plates on the floor and “failedâ€? chefs to care anymore. He’s been typecast in the role so much that his shows generally don’t make any sense. In the last series in the UK you saw him ‘celebrating’ the best of UK cuisine, by going to some of the best, putting on intense challenges and then shouting at them like they’re rubbish.

We’re fed up, and all of the reported stories in the newspapers that would make premiership footballers squirm have just added to it. So you would have thought that this show would be a breath of a fresh air, as there are no kitchens, no waiters to yell at… the emphasis of this show would be Gordo travelling around the world to celebrate the best in foreign foods in the world. Surely this would be something that could help improve his reputation and lead to a new persona? Nope. More of the same. Despite being a show in a totally different context the evident same “trademarksâ€? of Gordon Ramsay exists. The first swearword? “Shit.â€? Three seconds in to the show. *Yawn*

From the start of the programme he highlights how amazing it is that in Vietnam all of the food is so fresh, so as a result you see him nearly chundering on a beating snake heart. Of all of the fresh food that you can try in Vietnam, it just came across as if he was purely exploiting the fringes of what we would find acceptable to eat ourselves. Fine if people eat such food, but the way that it came across was a bit like highlighting the variety of Irish ciders by downing a litre of White Strike. All within the first few minutes of the programme.

It wasn’t always as extreme as that. There were elements that surprised me a little. He was consistently appreciative of the local vendors and the extent that leave no waste in their food, as well as highlighting the weird and wonderful ways that people sell their food, but this was indispersed with subtle condescending judgements of how people cook and farm. He goes sailing with fishermen in round boats, makes constant comments about how they are all use a basket-case. “I’m excited about catching squid, but not in a f*cking wickerbasket no.â€? *Ugh* It’s Vietnam. It’s different. It’s what they do. Might have been light jokes, but it just came across as sneering.

So overall, you know the feeling when you go abroad and you come back more tired than when you left? I got it from this. A great concept to highlight the importance of foreign fresh food abroad for Gordon Ramsay. It just didn’t need Gordon Ramsay.