Celebrity chef burns women

Britain's Gordon Ramsay says women can't cook to save their lives. Don't tell his wife.

Published October 24, 2005 11:34PM (EDT)

Last week, one of Britain's top admen revealed why women don't rule the biz's executive suites: Women "wimp out" when they have babies, according to Neil French. This advertising bad boy has since wimped out of his job, forced to resign after the uproar about his comments.

Not to be outdone, this week one of Britain's biggest celebrity chefs, who is also known for being a bit of a wild card, declared that young women "can't cook to save their lives." Gordon Ramsay made the comments to Radio Times while doing press for his new TV show, which debuts this Thursday. Could chef Ramsay be ginning up a little battle-of-the-sexes controversy to garner interest in his new program?

"I have been visiting ladies' houses up and down the country with our film crew and you would be amazed how little cooking the girls are doing. When they eat, they cheat -- it is ready meals and pre-prepared meals all the way," Ramsay said, according to the Daily Mail.

"Seriously, there are huge numbers of young women out there who know how to mix cocktails but can't cook to save their lives, whereas men are finding their way into the kitchen in ever-growing numbers. Trust me, I am only telling you what I have discovered."

Twist: Ramsay employs a Michelin-starred female chef, Angela Hartnett, as the head chef at one of his famed restaurants, and she defended her boss' statements to the BBC. Hartnett said that Ramsay's comments were based on a survey for the TV show, in which 75 percent of women admitted that they could not cook. "So, he hasn't made these comments up willy-nilly," she said, adding that her master cooking classes are now split 50-50, male-female. "A lot of husbands come and say they do all the cooking because their wives can't cook. It's not necessarily a bad thing -- so long as someone is cooking, does it really matter who it is?"

Another Michelin-starred woman chef, Tessa Bramley, disagreed. She told the Daily Mail: "It is always women, not men, who do the nitty-gritty work in the kitchen. While men do cook, it is usually only ever at the weekend as recreation. They go into the kitchen making grand gestures and using every dish in the house, leaving the cleaning to women."

What about in Ramsay's own home? It looks like Mom is in the kitchen making meals for the kids, while Dad is mouthing off about how women can't cook to save their lives. The Daily Telegraph reports that his wife, Tana, has her own kitchen where she cooks for the couple's four kids.

By Katharine Mieszkowski

Katharine Mieszkowski is a senior writer for Salon.

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