How Anthony Bourdain Really Felt About Gordon Ramsay

Some television clips manage to capture a moment almost inconceivable decades after they aired. One such moment occurred when Anthony Bourdain visited the Gordon Ramsay Restaurant for the London episode of A Cook's Tour "A Pleasing Palate." 

What makes the moment so compelling is that, according to IMDb, it aired on April 20, 2002. So, only a couple years had passed since Bourdain had published "Kitchen Confidential" and Ramsay starred in the documentary "Boiling Point." Their years as working chefs were just ending, and soon both would become established in the cultural imagination as television stars.

During his meal at the Gordon Ramsay Restaurant (via YouTube), Bourdain never descends below a state of rapture. After discussing what he was serving him, Ramsay snarked "That should stuff him but knowing him, he eats like a f—ing horse. So I know he'll find room somewhere." And judging from Bourdain's commentary throughout the meal, he would indeed find atom-sized specs of room. Comments of "It's too good" and "It's extraordinary" punctuated noises of pleasure. "He's walking that tightrope between perfect and overkill," he continued. "I like that. This is one of the best things I've eaten ever." 

In short, Bourdain respected Ramsay's cooking, with all the knowledge that two decades working in kitchen could provide. That said, Bourdain didn't hesitate to call out Ramsay, years later, over what he saw as a breach of ethics.

Respect comes with criticism

One of the main characteristics of Anthony Bourdain was that he said what he thought, usually in language that goes against the stylebook of Mashed. So, despite his respect for Ramsay as a chef, Bourdain did not hesitate to call Ramsay out when he tried to trademark the name Spotted Pig in the UK in 2012. The issue was that the Spotted Pig was a pre-existing brand in the US that the celebrated chef April Bloomfield and Mario Batali developed. If his application went through, the American restaurant could never enter the country.

"That Gordon Ramsay would register the name 'Spotted Pig' in London and screw April Bloomfield (who built the brand) over is shameful, pathetic," he snapped on Twitter. And a few months later Grub Street reported that Ramsay had halted the trademark application. It's unlikely that Bourdain alone caused this to happen though. 

Still, it's worth noting that the two never had any real public disputes either, unlike how Bourdain disdained the entirety of the Food Network. There was a professional respect which required calling out a colleague when they stepped out of turn. The same can be seen by how Ramsay did his public bit on Twitter after Bourdain died about how much Bourdain had contributed to the world (and shared a hotline for anyone who needed help), writing that Bourdain "brought the world into our homes and inspired so many people to explore cultures and cities through their food."

The two had earned each other's respect but it didn't seem to go much further than that.