Gordon Ramsay Isn’t Down With Chefs Who Diss Instagramming Diners

MasterChef star on livestreaming, food mags and his new app

Specs

Age 49

Claim to fame Host of Fox's Hotel Hell (Tuesdays, 8 p.m.) and MasterChef (Wednesdays, 8 p.m.)

Base London and Los Angeles

Twitter @GordonRamsay

Adweek: What's the first information you consume when you wake up in the morning?

Gordon Ramsay: I'm 49 years of age and I try to keep fit, so the first thing I look at is the weather because if it's perfect out, I can go for a swim or a run. As far as news, I have CNN and BBC News on pretty much 24 hours.

What TV shows do you watch?

Love the new Chelsea Handler show on Netflix. She's straightforward, she's honest, and what you see is what you get. I'm a big, big fan of Deadliest Catch. I go to Iceland to salmon fish quite a lot, so I love those programs on Discovery about nature and being out in the wild.

Any favorite food magazines or blogs?

I'm a big fan of Bon Appétit and [editor in chief] Adam Rapoport. They seem to be at the cutting edge of things. And I love food blogs. I think that bloggers have sort of knocked the arrogance of food critics in a way. On the back of the blogging phenomenon, we set up a "mystery shopper" program in our restaurants where once or twice a week, we'll have a blogger come in unannounced and get their feedback. It keeps everyone on their tiptoes.

Does it bother you when diners at your restaurants take pictures of their food for social media?

Here's the thing: It pisses me off when I hear chefs getting so anal about what customers want to do with their food when they're paying for it. People travel all over the world to go to these foodie meccas and they're so excited, so chefs should take it as a compliment more than anything. Also, I think that level of instant insight and feedback from customers has helped chefs become more prolific than ever.

You actually post a lot of great food photos on your own Instagram account. Do you take those yourself?

Yes. I've got a great eye. When I'm out having dinner, normally, I'm out with Justin, my assistant, so we'll each take a shot and compare. I love photography. From a young age, I was taught how to dress plates, so I have that level of attention to detail. 

You recently did a Facebook Live video challenging Bobby Flay to a cook-off, which went viral. Are you big on livestreaming?

I have a program in the U.K. called Cookalong Live where you get your ingredients the day before and then at 8 o'clock at night, we'll have a couple of guests in the kitchen and we'll go live. And for the last three years on Christmas Day in England, from our home in London, I go live from 10 o'clock in the morning to 2 o'clock in the afternoon. I love that stuff. Everybody's on their phone now, so we should tap into it. If I can set the bar by going live once or twice a week, I'll do it. Now, Bobby and I are gearing up for a cook-off at the end of the year to celebrate [Caesars Palace's] 50th birthday. For some bizarre reason, he keeps on chickening out. And I've offered him a 20-minute head start!

The businesses you visit on Kitchen Nightmares and Hotel Hell are pretty unbelievable. How do you find those places?