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I want to cook like chef Gordon Ramsay -- with a pit crew

December 16, 2009 |  7:04 pm
Cookalong Did you "Cookalong Live" with a raspy-voiced chef Gordon Ramsay on Tuesday night? The bad boy best known for terrorizing his underlings on "Hell's Kitchen" showed another side of himself: charming, lighthearted, frantic and frenetic while preparing a three-course meal and inviting audiences nationwide to, well, cook along.

I had a seat in the audience, but unfortunately I wasn't close enough to get any of the grub that chef Ramsay cooked along with his celebrity guests, comedian Cedric the Entertainer, country music star LeAnn Rimes and "How I Met Your Mother" star Alyson Hannigan. Oscar winner Whoopi Goldberg joined in from her kitchen on the East Coast, as did many other Americans, via Skype. On the menu: a shrimp-and-pasta appetizer, steak Diane served with sauteed potatoes and peas as the main course, and a quick tiramisu for dessert.

I was close enough, though, to have a front-row seat to what happened during the commercial breaks: A veritable NASCAR-worthy pit crew swooped in and swabbed the decks, swapping out dirty plates, wiping down counters and serving up fresh silverware before fading back into the wings.

Imagine the meals I could make at home if I had my own clean-up crew....

I was also close enough to witness justhowfast Gordon Ramsay cooks. Absolutely no wasted motion. No wonder he's always irritated with the chefs on "Hell's Kitchen." There is just no keeping up with him.

What did you think about the show? I thought the best part was just seeing Chef Ramsay at work -- he makes it all look so easy, and even though I don't think for a single second that I could duplicate it, I enjoy the way he puts plates together -- his approach to cooking can be as casual as it is meticulous, and it's a fun combination to watch. Otherwise, though, the show felt too rushed. The celebs were, in theory, a fun touch. But there was just no time to find out much about their cooking habits, or even the "cookalongers" at home, as chef Ramsay called them.

Maybe the rushing around was appropriate, though: Try cooking a three-course dinner for four on a Tuesday night.

-- Rene Lynch
On Twitter @renelynch

Photo credit: Fox