Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

How I Knifed Gordon in the Back(that's Gordon the Lobster, by the Way)

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

How I Knifed Gordon in the Back(that's Gordon the Lobster, by the Way)

Article excerpt

Byline: VALENTINE LOW

Celebrity cooks baulked at preparing creatures for the pot in TV's Hell's Kitchen.

Standard writer Valentine Low takes the ultimate Gordon Ramsay test

IAM staring at a lobster, a tea towel in one hand, a fearsomelooking 10-inch chef 's knife in the other. Somehow I am going to take the knife and, without removing any of my fingers, dropping the lobster on the floor or anything else that would involve me being labelled an absolute ****, I am going to kill it. Stone dead. Which seems a bit of a pity, because the lobster has never done me any harm.

But that's cooking for you, a world littered with the corpses of creatures who have led blameless lives, but made the strategic mistake of being nice to eat.

Killing the little sweethearts, however - not to mention pulling out their feathers, removing their entrails or whatever else is necessary to make them fit for the table - can be a nasty, bloody business.

The celebrity cooks who are being put through their paces by Gordon Ramsay are certainly finding it a little on the tricky side. On the first day of his new series, Hell's Kitchen, Brookside star Jennifer Ellison and Coronation Street actress Amanda Barrie baulked at the rather gruesome task of killing a lobster, while on Monday, actor James Dreyfus found the task of beheading and plucking half a dozen pigeons was a challenge too far.

But how hard can it be to dispatch a lobster? Is Jennifer Ellison just being a feeble girly. Or is the murdering of helpless crustacea something that should be left to the professionals?

Gordon Ramsay certainly thought she was being a bit on the wet side.

"We are not running a hair salon," he said. "If you want to eat it, get in and plunge a knife in the brain."

Well, I don't know about Miss Ellison, who, judging by Mr Ramsay's comments, does not seem to eat enough at all, but I do rather like eating lobster. So, to grapple with these philosophical imponderables - and to provide a nice lobster for dinner - I engaged the assistance of Leiths School of Food and Wine. …

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