Bill Buford serves up another Big Gulp of a bio (9,000+ words) in this week’s issue of the New Yorker, a seriously juicy, all-access-pass profile of chef Gordon Ramsay. Buford tells readers what was going on behind the scenes after Ramsay’s New York restaurant opened, during the long “silence” up until the Bruni review in the New York Times, and after. (There’s also a major revelation in the middle about Ramsay’s longtime feud with former mentor Marco Pierre White, a story that broke in England earlier this week based on Buford’s interview–no links here to preserve the surprise.) I like that Buford takes on the nature of Ramsay’s cooking, and the way in which critics are unable to reconcile his fomenting crazed yelling in the kitchen with his seemingly mild food. There is a lot of fomenting crazed yelling in the story.
The Jillian Edelstein photo accompanying the article shows Ramsay qua Dr. Evil, holding a little lamb in his arms–the Jean-Baptiste of the story, presumably, or a prop. It seems kind of sweet at first, but it is soon made clear that this lamb is literally headed for the slaughter. (Plus lamb is so English. Plus…who’s the lamb, really? Clever.)
I was trying to figure out how exactly to categorize Buford‘s role in the culinary world these days–he’s carving out quite a niche as a sort of…A.E. Hotchner? Geo. Plimpton?…participatory biographer to the bigtime chefs. It seems like there are comparisons for this out there, or terms to describe it. My mother’s suggestion? Jock-sniffer (as in the jock-sniffer school of sports journalism). Oh mom.