Hundreds of foodies flocked to the Eaton Centre on Feb. 9 in order to catch a couple minutes with celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay.
Ramsay, star of such television shows as Kitchen Nightmares, Hell’s Kitchen and the F Word, made a stop at Indigo to promote his latest book, ‘Gordon Ramsay’s Healthy Appetite’.
One Indigo manager commented that at any given time there could have been 1,000 people in the store. At least 270 people waited in a line that went right up the staircase to the upper floor for an autograph and a few words with the famed chef. Among those fans was Aaron Rotondo, 16, an aspiring chef from Oshawa.
“He’s my idol,” Aaron said. “I’m pursuing a career (in cooking) and he’s like my guideline.”
Aaron arrived at the Eaton Centre a little after 8 a.m. but mentioned that some had been waiting since 5 a.m. After meeting with Ramsay, he and his family headed home, where Aaron will try out some dessert recipes from the new book.
Some in the crowd, like Lana Pollard, don’t have any professional chef ambitions and simply came to see the man himself.
“I just love him,” Pollard said.
Pollard’s mother is also a fan, but for health reasons couldn’t make it down to the Eaton Centre herself.
“Everyday that (my mother) watches Gordon Ramsay is a good day for her,” she said. “And I wanted to thank him in person and just show him what he does.”
Pollard says Ramsay has inspired not only her cooking, but the way she manages her kitchen at home.
“I’m practicing a lot of his work ethics at home,” she said. “Sometimes if my husband isn’t cutting things right or is burning something, I make him start all over,” she laughed.
Ramsay has gained fame for his zero-tolerance attitude towards laziness in the kitchen. On his television shows he throws out anything frozen, will order cooks on Hell’s Kitchen to make and remake a dish until it meets his standards and doesn’t hesitate to tell anyone exactly what he thinks of them, often using words not allowed on prime-time.
“I just want to hear him call me an asshole,” said one voice in the crowd. So it would seem there are all kinds of draws to Gordon Ramsay.