What follows is an open letter to TV chef and personality Gordon Ramsay. In this letter, I detail the rise, fall and dissolution of the love I experienced for him. It is a Shakespearean story of love will most likely move you to tears. Steel yourself.
Dear Gordon, (I call him Gordon but you should probably refer to him as Mr. Ramsay)
I have stayed up long nights agonizing over what I want to say and how I want to say it. Before I begin, I want you to know this has been one of the hardest and most grueling decisions of my life. Never before have I faced a dilemma of such magnitude, not only for my own life but for the life of another. Despite my fears and reservations, I must reveal the truth of my heart to you. Gordon, I am no longer in love with you. Perhaps we can still be friends?
At this point, you must be wondering, “What have I done to drive you away? What happened to our love?” I would love to tell you that “it’s not you, it’s me” but that would be disingenuous. You know I have never lied to you and I’m not planning to start now. From my perspective, you have changed in so many subtle yet terrible ways. Because I still care about you, I will try to explain to you where things went so wrong.
In the beginning, we found each other on a small and elegant BBC programme about restaurants and cooking called Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares. I will never forget those halcyon days as we traveled to and fro across the English countryside. We went to so many restaurants and helped so many people; they all seemed so happy and grateful. In those angelic days of peace, our hearts full of joy and happiness, I came to love your abrasive but honest tongue and your undeniable passion for the art of food. I could see at every turn your selfless desire to save hapless restaurateurs and bewildered chefs. I knew your heart and it was good.
After a few years of this bountiful bliss, we traveled across the vast expanse of the sea to America. With high hopes, you began to bring your harsh but loving style to the restaurateurs and chefs of the Americas. But alas, things were not as they were meant to be. Your new Fox program, Kitchen Nightmares, was little more than a terrifying death mask, a twisted shadow of the life and joy we once knew. Seemingly overnight, the sincerity of your speech seemed to have fled to be replaced by the vicious wagging of a tongue far removed from the heart. No longer did your passion for restaurants and cooking shine. Instead, you paraded about doling out curdled helpings of free P.O.S. systems and ill conceived relationship advice in equal measure. At that time, I could see in my mind’s eye that you had lost your way but I was not yet ready to turn my back on you. I thought that, for the sake of our salad days, you deserved another chance to redeem yourself.
Upon this notion, I undertook to see how you fared in another Fox program known as Hell’s Kitchen. Considering your track record with American shows based on BBC properties, I was immediately concerned but had high hopes for you. Despite my reservations, I could see much of your sincerity and devotion to cooking spring once more to the surface. For a time, it seemed that we were revitalized with the youthful innocence of our past; it seemed that things might return to what they once were. Perhaps I was deluding myself. I soon found that the elation and vitality that had begun to bloom within me was withering and dying on the vine. During this time of renewed jubilance, I began to suspect that the world you had artfully constructed with the help of Fox was not what it seemed. As I followed my suspicion and began to inquire, I quickly discovered that you were engaged in duplicity most vile. Everywhere my eye turned, I learned more and wished that I had learned less. I longed to be struck by an ailment of the mind to plunge me back into splendid ignorance but no such frailty struck and I am left with the evil I have learned. I am left with the knowledge that you, whom I came to love, may have actively misled the contestants on Hell’s Kitchenabout the prizes they would receive. In possession of this foul information, I understand that I must put an end to our relationship before you can hurt me any further.
While I could read the writing on the wall Kitchen Nightmares, I hoped and prayed that there was still a chance for us. This outright deception has revealed to me the full extent of the blackened tar that has spread through your veins since we came to these American shores. I still believe that, deep beneath the surface in the quietest recesses of your heart, you are a good man who cares about restaurants and fine cooking; I know that I will not be the brave soul who mines those deep crevices in hopes of gold. For us, the day is done. Goodbye.
John Patrick Owatari-Dorgan