A new BBC TV series this autumn, Chefs In The Raw, will give an insight into the personal lives of some of the UK’s favourite television chefs. Here is a taster:
Gordon Ramsey. In this clip, he has just returned from church, and is relaxing with a nice cup of herbal tea. ‘I hate all that swearing,’ he admits, ‘but it’s a job. My contract states how many times I have to swear in each programme, so I keep a careful count. And telling those restaurant and hotel owners how awful their places are – we all have a good laugh as I ham it up for the cameras! They join in as well, of course, pretending to be upset. It’s not what I want to be doing when I’m sixty of course, and right now I’m training to be a counsellor, so that I can express my caring side a lot more.’
Jamie Oliver says that he finds it difficult to maintain his estuary English, and longs to be able to speak in his natural Surrey accent. ‘One has to remember to speak as if one had truly been born in Southend – or Sarfend, as I have to say! I must confess that when I was at Oxford studying for my degree in Philosophy and Economics one did not expect to become a TV chef! One was hoping to enter the diplomatic corps, but then one was approached by the BBC to act as what I believe they termed a “wide boy”, and one’s career as a TV chef began. One knew nothing about cooking, but one was advised to throw everything into a pot with olive oil and salt and cook it for an hour, and one has lived on that single recipe ever since. Fortunately one has been supported tremendously by the actors who play one’s parents, wife and children. My actual wife, Jacinta, finds the whole business highly amusing. And my family and friends know that I hate being called Jamie! They all call me James, which is my proper name.’
Delia Smith is filmed in the middle of one of her regular sex parties, where everyone wears Norwich FC scarves. Because of the adult nature of this episode, it will be broadcast later than the others, so that children will be safely in bed, where they can watch it on their bedroom televisions.
Nigel Slater is shown relaxing with his wife. ‘I had this great idea to pretend to be gay,’ he says. His wife laughs as she recalls how Nigel realised there was niche for a gay chef on television. ‘We were in the middle of one of our all-night sessions,’ she says, with no hint of embarassment, ‘and Nigel suddenly said “A gay chef!” I thought this was another one of his role play ideas, but it turned out to be his inspired idea for a complete change of direction from his career as a local government officer.’
Nigella unwinds at home on the beanbag in her cluttered flat in Hull that she still shares with her lesbian love Tatriana, and fifteen cats. “The whole celebrity chef thing started as a joke after Tatty and I had a particularly gritty shift on an 0898 sex talk line, but then one of the punters asked us to pretend we were eating trifle off one another. Tatty joked that he seemed to like me describing the ingredients more than her body, and the whole idea blossomed from there.’ She revealed the hardest thing was to knock off the chain smoking during filming of episodes of her show. “The family really didn’t recognise me without a rollie hanging from the corner of my mouth, or wearing girlie clothing. It has been fun, but I sometimes miss stripping trucks down during the day, and letting the punters imagine stripping me over those phone lines in the evenings. Actually that last bit hasn’t changed much.”
In the final episode, we see all our views reaffirmed that in his personal life Antony Worrall Thompson
is actually an annoying red-haired gnomish git can’t cook anything other than books.
(hat-tip to Squudge)