The vocation of the restaurateur

I caught the chef Gordon Ramsey on my new favorite show, BBC’s comedy car show “Top Gear,” and since he could drive really fast, I decided to watch his show Hell’s Kitchen.

This is a sort of American Idol of cookery, only the sole judge is Ramsey, the Simon Cowell of chefs. The different cooks compete in doing the various tasks required in a professional kitchen and the winner gets to run one of Ramsey’s restaurants.

Watching the show reminds us of the hard work and high pressure that professional restaurant workers have to deal with. Ramsey is like a drill sergeant, demanding excellent work, quality preparations, and outstanding service for the customers. He yells at the contestants and cusses them out (carefully bleeped) when they fall short, but he also teaches and mentors.

The show can demonstrate to young people the demands of the no-coddling real world of demanding bosses and high performance standards. We often see the customers enjoying their peaceful dinner, unaware of the turmoil that it took to prepare it. The show makes us appreciate the vocation of the professionals who prepare us our daily bread.

(I just caught the reruns. The new season premiers tonight after “American Idol.”)

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • Don, the Rebel without a Blog

    Thanks for the reminder about tonight’s debut of Hell’s Kitchen.

    Have you ever watched Gordon Ramsey’s other show, Kitchen Nightmares? Gordon goes to a failing restaurant and, in the course of an hour, whips it into shape.

  • Don, the Rebel without a Blog

    Thanks for the reminder about tonight’s debut of Hell’s Kitchen.

    Have you ever watched Gordon Ramsey’s other show, Kitchen Nightmares? Gordon goes to a failing restaurant and, in the course of an hour, whips it into shape.

  • http://www.hempelstudios.com Sarah in Maryland

    I didn’t want to like this show, but my husband went to hotel/restaurant management school and these types of shows remind him of “the good ole days.” So we watch and I can’t believe how much I get into the show! Chef Ramsey really wants these people to suceed. He’s loud and obnoxious, but that’s what makes the show entertaining. It makes tender moments that he has (and he does have them) even more tender because of the contrast. We’ll surely be watching tonight.

  • http://www.hempelstudios.com Sarah in Maryland

    I didn’t want to like this show, but my husband went to hotel/restaurant management school and these types of shows remind him of “the good ole days.” So we watch and I can’t believe how much I get into the show! Chef Ramsey really wants these people to suceed. He’s loud and obnoxious, but that’s what makes the show entertaining. It makes tender moments that he has (and he does have them) even more tender because of the contrast. We’ll surely be watching tonight.

  • http://www.sarcasmagorical.com Brant

    Has anyone checked out TopChef as well? My wife and I are addicted to it for a lot of the same reasons (though there’s no head chef yelling at everyone). It’s another way at appreciating the vocation of chef – especially the creativity under pressure.

  • http://www.sarcasmagorical.com Brant

    Has anyone checked out TopChef as well? My wife and I are addicted to it for a lot of the same reasons (though there’s no head chef yelling at everyone). It’s another way at appreciating the vocation of chef – especially the creativity under pressure.


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