How Dale MacKay Got Off On The Wrong Foot With Gordon Ramsay - Exclusive

If you were to ask us what situation we'd least like to be in as a chef, it would probably be getting stuck on the receiving end of one of Gordon Ramsay's signature tirades. It's no secret that when people do things in the kitchen that displease Ramsay, he has no problem with humiliating them or hurling obscenities at them. Thus, if you work closely under the British chef, you're probably going to be on the receiving end of his infamous temper at least a few times, no matter how good you are at your job.

That's the case for Chef Dale MacKay, who spent years overseeing restaurant openings all over the world for Gordon Ramsay. Although we now know Ramsay more as a TV chef and food celebrity, back in the early 2000s, when MacKay worked for him, he was a very active presence in the kitchens of his restaurants. As MacKay put it in an exclusive interview with Mashed, "He was in my face every day for the first couple of years and beyond."

After his time with Ramsay (and later, Daniel Boulud), MacKay went on to win "Top Chef: Canada" Season 1. Now, he runs a successful restaurant group in his hometown of Saskatoon and is set to compete in "Top Chef: World All-Stars." However, he still has plenty of Ramsay stories — including the entertaining tale of his semi-disastrous first meeting with the chef.

MacKay couldn't remember to call Ramsay by the right name

It seems like some of Dale MacKay's Ramsay stories aren't super fun; as he told us, "I don't know if we can actually say many of them." However, the story of how he was first introduced to Gordon Ramsay is fairly lighthearted.

If you've worked in a kitchen, you know that many chefs prefer to be called "chef" instead of being referred to by name. It's a practice that's drilled into the heads of restaurant workers everywhere. Ramsay is different: "He was the rare case in that he didn't like being called 'chef' — it was always Gordon." MacKay knew this, but he was so nervous that he couldn't stop calling Ramsay "chef" when he met him for the first time. "I said, 'Hey, Chef.' I kept saying 'chef,' and he's like, 'Stop calling me "chef."' I said, 'Okay, Chef.' He's like, 'You call me "chef" one more time, you'll be cooking staff food for the next month.'"

Eventually, MacKay got the message, but he had one more slip-up. When Ramsay left the meeting and said goodbye to his new employee, MacKay replied one last time, "You too, Chef." In response, Ramsay made a face at MacKay that he remembers to this day. "I couldn't get it out of my head," he said.

Bravo's "Top Chef" returns for Season 20 with the "World All-Stars" edition on Thursday, March 9, at 9:00 pm ET/PT.