9 Delicious Facts About Gordon Ramsay

Ethan Miller/Getty Images for Vegas Uncork'd by Bon Appetit
Ethan Miller/Getty Images for Vegas Uncork'd by Bon Appetit

Chef Gordon Ramsay’s favorite curse word in the kitchen is “f*ckos.” This should come as no surprise, given his reputation as a potty-mouthed culinary firebrand. Ramsay, the first Scottish chef to be awarded three Michelin stars, describes himself as “a crazy f*cking psycho!” in the kitchen, and it would seem that few who have worked with him over the years would disagree. I mean, you don’t get yourself put on TV Guide’s list of the "60 Nastiest Villains of All Time" for nothing.

But with more than 30 restaurants around the world, several Michelin stars, and a bevy of popular television shows—including Hell’s Kitchen and MasterChef—it’s hard to argue with Ramsay’s success in the entertainment universe. Here are some things you might not have known about everyone’s favorite foul-mouthed gourmand.

1. HE ONCE THREW JOAN COLLINS OUT OF HIS RESTAURANT.

Technically, Ramsay threw noted food critic A. A. Gill out of his flagship London restaurant, Restaurant Gordon Ramsay; but Gill’s companion for the evening and witness to the gastro-ejection, actress Joan Collins, was kicked out by default. As it turns out, Ramsay had a beef with some of Gill’s past criticisms of his food, including the time he said that, “The menu was, in some respects, utterly tasteless and embarrassing.” Gill went on to describe his nemesis, Ramsay, as “a wonderful chef, just a really second-rate human being.” Ramsay’s mother was apparently not pleased at all with her son’s behavior in this instance.

2. HE NEVER MUCH CARED FOR VEGETARIANS … UNTIL HE LEARNED ABOUT PIGLET CASTRATION.

Ramsay has never made a secret of his disdain for vegetarianism. On one occasion, he bragged about telling a table of vegetarians who were eating artichoke soup that he had made it “with vegetable stock, when it was chicken stock.” On an episode of Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares, he let an unwitting vegetarian eat a slice of pizza with ham on it—and didn’t divulge the ingredients until after the diner had consumed it (which Ramsay found quite humorous). The chef seemed to have a change of heart, however, after seeing a video of the horrors of commercial pig farming in Europe—including the practices of tail docking (removing a piglet’s tail) and piglet castration (self-explanatory).

“It’s enough to make anyone turn f***ing vegetarian for God’s sake,” Ramsay said. “And I’ve always sort of knocked vegetarians and vegans for, you know, missing out on the most amazing flavor you get from meat, but you can see why so many people change instantly.”

3. HE AND MARIO BATALI ARE NOT FANS OF ONE ANOTHER.


Michael Loccisano/Getty Images

As noted in the New York Post in 2009, the feud between the two chefs began when Mario Batali criticized Ramsay’s food, calling it “dull and outdated.” Ramsay retaliated by nicknaming Batali “Fanta Pants” (a knock on his signature orange pants), which led Batali to ban Ramsay from all of his restaurants. “Ramsay’s people call, trying to book tables, and I say no,” Batali told The Guardian. “I won’t have him in there … Gordon bugs me … Now he goes about town calling me Fanta Pants.” But Batali seemed open to burying the hatchet, saying that, “If Gordon called me himself and said, ‘Let’s sit down for a drink.’ I’m sure it would be fine. We’d be cool. But right now it’s not cool.”

4. HE HAS HAD SOME COSMETIC SURGERY.

"I've got four children, and they've become 'Dad, why have you got so many wrinkles on your face when Clementine's daddy has no wrinkles?,'” Ramsay told The Guardian in 2010 of his decision to have the blemishes removed via cosmetic surgery. “The lines were pretty horrific, like Scarface, and I was never embarrassed by it, but my children helped me become more paranoid about it. You've seen the articles: craggy face, map of Wales, ugly, deflated rugby ball. There's only so much sh*t you want to take.”

But don’t expect Ramsay to go under the knife again. “Of course I'm not going to have any more f*cking work done,” he asserted. “The amazing guy who did it said to me, 'Let's get one thing right: I am not, under any circumstances, ever going to touch that forehead.’”

5. HIS FAVORITE MIDNIGHT SNACK IS BAKED BEANS.

When asked about his favorite midnight snack in an interview with Bon Appétit, Ramsay said, “That would be baked beans. Chili flakes, garlic, Tabasco sauce, hot sauce. Sourdough bread—grilled—baked beans on top, with a duck egg, covered with Parmesan and gratinated under the grill.”

6. HE’LL ALWAYS ORDER THE BEEF WELLINGTON.


Mark Davis/Getty Images

No matter where in the world Ramsay is, if he sees beef Wellington on the menu, you can bet that’s what he’ll be ordering. “So the first thing I would want to order if I see it, if there's a Wellington on any menu, whether it's in the middle of Milan or the middle of Paris or the middle of New York,” Ramsay said. “I grew up with beef Wellingtons."

7. HE CAN’T BELIEVE THAT EDIBLE FOAMS HAVE STUCK AROUND.

When it comes to cooking, Ramsay likes to keep things simple and stick to the classics—which definitely does not include any type of edible foam. When asked during a Reddit AMA "What is the dumbest trend in food that you thought would not have lasted, but has?" Ramsay was quick to respond that, “I think foam should be used for shaving, not go on top of food. Because when a foam hits a plate, unless you've eaten it within three or four seconds, at the end it looks like sort of toxic scum on a stagnant pool."

8. HE’S NOT A FAN OF GIRL SCOUT COOKIES.

And on a 2016 episode of Jimmy Kimmel Live!, Ramsay, who had confessed to never having eaten a Girl Scout Cookie before, was challenged to taste the confections on air. “They look like dog biscuits,” was Ramsay’s response upon looking at plates of Tagalongs, Samoas, and Thin Mints. His opinion didn’t change after trying them.

9. HE’D LOVE TO COOK DINNER FOR HILLARY CLINTON.

Ramsay told Bon Appétit that if he could cook dinner for one celebrity it would be Hillary Clinton. And what would he make her? “I would say something authentic, rich, and a sauce that had been doused with lots of red wine. Like a braised short rib, because she’s of that era—of that age—that she understands fine food.”

15 Delicious Facts About Pizza Hut

iStock.com/RiverNorthPhotography
iStock.com/RiverNorthPhotography

For more than 60 years, Pizza Hut has been slinging hot, cheesy pies to hungry consumers all over the world. (There are more than 16,000 locations worldwide.) Whether you're a meat lover or vegetarian, here are 15 things you should know about the popular pizza chain.

1. It was founded by two brothers who were still in college.

Dan and Frank Carney borrowed $600 from their mother in 1958 to open a pizza place while attending Wichita State University. The name was inspired by the former bar that they rented to open their first location.

2. Pizza Hut franchising was almost instant.

A year after the first location opened in Wichita, Kansas, the Carney brothers had already incorporated the business and asked their friend Dick Hassur to open the first franchise location in Topeka, Kansas. Hassur, who had previously gone to school and worked at Boeing with Dan Carney, was looking for a way out of his insurance agent job. He soon became a multi-franchise owner, and worked to find other managers who could open Pizza Huts across the country.

Once, when a successful manager of a Wichita location put in his notice, Hassur was sent in to convince the man to stay. That manager happened to be Bill Parcells, who had resigned his Pizza Hut job in order to take his first coaching job at a small Nebraska college. Of course, he later went on to coach numerous NFL teams, including leading the New York Giants to two Super Bowl victories. "I might have been wrong there," Hassur said of trying to convince Parcells his salary would be better as a manager than as a coach, "but I'm sure he'd have been successful with Pizza Hut, too."

3. There was a mascot in the early days.

image of vintage Pizza Hut restaurants featuring mascot Pizza Pete
Roadsidepictures, Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Before the iconic red roof logo was adopted in 1969, Pizza Hut had a mascot named Pizza Pete who also served as its logo. The mustachioed cartoon man wore a chef’s hat, neckerchief, and an apron while serving up hot meals to hungry customers. Pizza Pete was still used throughout the 1970s on bags, cups, and advertisements, but was eventually phased out.

4. Pizza Hut perfume was a thing that existed.

It was announced late in 2012 that Pizza Hut had plans to release a limited edition perfume that smelled like "fresh dough with a bit of spice." One hundred fans of the Pizza Hut Canada Facebook page won bottles of the scent, and another promotion around Valentine's Day gave American pizza lovers a chance to own the fragrance via a Twitter contest. The packaging for the perfume resembled mini pizza boxes, and a few later surfaced on eBay for as much as $495.

5. They struck gold with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

image of people dressed as the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Kevin Winter, Getty Images

When a group of crime fighting turtles that love pizza become huge pop culture icons, it's a no-brainer that a pizza company should do business with them. Domino's was featured in the first Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles film in 1990, but ads for Pizza Hut were included on VHS when the film hit home video. Pizza Hut also reportedly spent around $20 million on marketing campaigns for the Turtles during the 1990 "Coming Out of Their Shells" concert tour and album release. The partnership continued all the way up to the 2014 release of Michael Bay's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

6. Pizza Hut Easy-Bake ovens were also real.

Children of the '70s were lucky enough to own small toy ovens shaped like the restaurant in which they could bake tiny little Pizza Hut pizzas under a 60-watt light bulb.

7. Their vintage commercials are star-studded.

An 11-year-old Elijah Wood got his start flinging potato salad at his co-star; Ringo Starr and the Monkees marveled at the stuffed-crust pizza; and former Soviet statesman Mikhail Gorbachev had a very odd, political pizza pitch, appearing along with his young granddaughter in a Russian Pizza Hut (though the ad was not set to run in Russia).

8. The Book It! program is 35 years old.

In 1984, Pizza Hut kicked off the BOOK IT! program, an initiative to encourage children to read by rewarding them with "praise, recognition and pizza." It was such a success that First Lady Barbara Bush threw a reading-themed pizza party at the White House in 1989. The program is now the "longest-running corporate-supported reading program in the country" and has reached over 60 million children.

9. They were early to the pan pizza create.

image of someone removing a slice from a personal pan pizza
iStock

Pizza Hut introduced pan pizza in 1980, nine years before their competition, Domino's, added the style to their menu. In 1983, they introduced personal pan pizzas, which are still the coveted prize of the BOOK IT! program and the only pizza option at smaller Pizza Hut cafes (like those inside Target stores).

10. They were also early to online ordering.

In 1994, Pizza Hut and The Santa Cruz Operation created PizzaNet, an ahead-of-its-time program that allowed computer users to place orders via the internet. The Los Angeles Times called the idea "clever but only half-baked" and "the Geek Chic way to nosh." And, the site is still up and running! Seriously, go ahead and try to order.

11. Pizza Hut pizza has been to space ...

image of the International Space Station hovering above Earth
iStock

In 2001, Pizza Hut became the first company to deliver pies into space. Before being sealed and sent to the International Space Station, the pizza recipe had to undergo "rigorous stabilized thermal conditions" to make sure that it would be still be edible when it got there. Pizza Hut also paid a large, unspecified sum (but definitely more than $1 million) to have a 30-foot-wide ad on a rocket in 1999.

12. … but not to the Moon.

In 1999, Pizza Hut's then-CEO Mike Rawlings (and current Mayor of Dallas) told The New York Times that an earlier idea for space marketing was for the logo to be shown on the moon with lasers. But once they started looking into it, astronomers and physicists advised them that the projected image would have to be as large as Texas to be seen from Earth—and the project would also have cost the company hundreds of millions of dollars. Better to stick with Super Bowl ads.

13. They once offered pizza engagement packages.

image of someone proposing marriage
iStock

What's the perfect way to pop the big question? In 2012, Pizza Hut suggested that grooms- (or brides-) to-be order the engagement party package that included a $10 dinner box, a limo, a ruby ring, fireworks, flowers, and a photographer, all for $10,010. In keeping with the theme, only 10 of the packages were offered. But, to be clear—if you bought a Pizza Hut engagement package, you would have spent $10 on food and approximately the cost of a wedding on the proposal.

14. Pizza Hut accounts for three percent of U.S. cheese production.

With all those locations and cheese-stuffed crusts, Pizza Hut needs a lot of dairy. The company uses over 300 million pounds of cheese annually and is one of the largest cheese buyers in the world. To make that much cheese, 170,000 cows are used to produce an estimated 300 billion gallons of milk. Something to think about the next time you order an Ultimate Cheese Lover's pizza with extra cheese.

15. There are a lot of repurposed Pizza Hut locations.

An empty, former Pizza Hut building
Mike Kalasnik, Flickr // CC BY-SA 2.0

Franchise locations of companies are not always successful, and when they close, the buildings are often left untouched by their new owners rather than being demolished and replaced. Because the hut-shaped stores have become synonymous with the company, their former locations are easy to spot. The blog "Used to Be a Pizza Hut" has an interactive map of more than 500 ex-huts submitted by people all over the world. There is also a successful Kickstarter-funded photo book—called Pizza Hunt—documenting the "second lives" of the restaurants.

5 Fast Facts About Sake Dean Mahomed

Today's Google Doodle will be many people's first introduction to Sake Dean Mahomed, a noted traveler, surgeon, author, and entrepreneur who was born in Patna, India in 1759. Though he's been left out of many modern history books, Mahomed left a profound impact on Western culture that is still being felt today.

In honor of the 225th anniversary of the publication of his first book—The Travels of Dean Mahomed, a Native of Patna in Bengal, Through Several Parts of India, While in the Service of the Honorable the East India Company—on January 15, 1794, here are some facts about the figure.

1. He was the first Indian author to publish a book in English.

In 1794, Sake Dean Mahomed published The Travels of Dean Mahomet, an autobiography that details his time in the East India Company's army in his youth and his journey to Britain. Not only was it the first English book written by an Indian author, The Travels of Dean Mahomet marked the first time a book published in English depicted the British colonization of India from an Indian perspective.

2. His marriage was controversial.

While studying English in Ireland, Mahomed met and fell in love with an Irish woman named Jane Daly. It was illegal for Protestants to marry non-Protestants at the time, so the pair eloped in 1786 and Mahomed converted from Islam to Anglicanism.

3. He opened the England's first Indian restaurant.

Prior to Sake Dean Mahomed's arrival, Indian food was impossible to find in England outside of private kitchens. He introduced the cuisine to his new home by opening the Hindoostane Coffee House in London in 1810. The curry house catered to both British and Indian aristocrats living in the city, with "Indianised" versions of British dishes and "Hookha with real Chilm tobacco." Though the restaurant closed a few years later due to financial troubles, it paved the way for Indian food to become a staple of the English food scence.

4. He brought "shampooing" to Europe.

Following the failure of his restaurant venture, Mahomed opened a luxury spa in Brighton, England, where he offered Eastern health treatments like herbal steam baths and therapeutic, oil-based head massages to his British clientele. The head massages eventually came to be known as shampoo, an anglicized version of the Hindi word champissage. Patrons included the monarchs George IV and William IV, earning Mahomed the title shampooer of kings.

5. He wrote about the benefits of spa treatments.

Though The Travels of Dean Mahomet is his most famous book, Mahomed published another book in English in 1828 called Shampooing; or, Benefits Resulting from the Use of the Indian Medicated Vapour Bath.

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