I happen to be a fan of celebrity chef, Gordon Ramsay and, believe it or not, what I enjoy about his shows is related to what I enjoy about getting organized. In Ramsay’s shows, particularly Kitchen Nightmares, he cuts through all of the unimportant stuff so that the restaurant owners can focus on what’s most important. That’s what good organizing is all about: removing the barriers so you can get to what’s most important in your life.
In keeping with this theme, let’s get the bad stuff about Mr. Ramsay out of the way first. Yes, he yells. He yells A LOT. He comes off as arrogant. He plays up the drama for the cameras. He has the benefit of extensive editing, which makes him look good. Finally, and most distressing to my wife, on the British version of Kitchen Nightmares, he finds any opportunity he can to change into his chef’s jacket, exposing his bare chest (and it ain’t that good).
What I find compelling about Gordon Ramsay, however, is his ability to recognize the nonsense, cut through it, find the solution, stick with it, and be right. The nonsense may take the form of meaningless tradition, overly-fussy food, and my favorite, blind delusion. All of these things are unimportant. What’s most important is that these owners are not only in danger of losing their restaurants but their homes as well.
Chef Ramsay always manages to put this in perspective for the owners and chefs before he can help them. He will tell them what to cook, how to cook it, how to serve, and how to market their restaurant, but first- ALWAYS- he has to remove what’s not working. This includes filthy kitchens, spoiled food (“it’s rotTEN!”), cluttered décor, and overly ambitious menus. The bewildered restaurant owner may be unclear about what to do with all this stuff. Ramsay is not. “GET IT IN THE BIN!”
Only then can Gordon Ramsay work his magic with the restaurant and the result: food is “simple, fresh, VIBRANT,” décor is “warm, relaxing,” and staff is “friendly, knowledgeable!” Most importantly there’s “real money in the till.”
Yelling is not my style. Never will be, but I do agree with Chef Ramsay’s overall approach. You need to give up less important conventions, so that you can see your way clear to simple solutions that will address your most important needs.