Does Gordon Ramsay write his own material, or is his one of those reality shows that’s scripted? Whatever the case, most fans of his show can agree that Gordon’s wit—however searing—makes the show that much more interesting.
Of course, watching the nervous novice chefs scamper around the kitchen is a bit nerve-wracking, too, when fans know what they’re about to face. But when it comes to tough love, Gordon’s got a lot of it to give—in the form of his snarky and on-point insults.
His snark is so well-loved that fans all over the web have memorialized some of the best insults via meme and more—there are even video compilations of all of Gordon’s best (read: worst) kitchen moments. From dissing his chefs’ (and patrons’) looks to their backgrounds, he always finds a punny way to hit them where it hurts.
Then again, that’s the whole point of the show—and if its notoriety is anything to go by, Gordon’s got something that the public loves. At the same time, the guy has a family so he’s clearly not as bad of a guy as the show makes him out to be. Ironically enough, he quit an early chef gig because of uncomfortable work circumstances—including the same type of harsh criticisms he himself deals to his chefs-in-training.
Clearly, however, Gordon has earned his current status as master chef. And whether these insults were scripted or not, his deadpan delivery of these epic lines makes them that much more entertaining on-screen.
20 What Are You?
This one is a classic that has been turned into a meme a hundred times over. And, it’s a double whammy. First, Gordon asks the chef who made the mistake, “What are you?” and then prompts her to answer with “An idiot sandwich.” But it’s more than just him making her repeat the insult: it’s that he actually grabs two slices of bread to slap on either side of her face while he delivers it. As if telling her how bad she was wasn’t enough, he also had to immortalize her embarrassment in meme form thanks to the sandwich visual.
19 Are We In A Movie?
In yet another of Gordon’s trademark pop-culture disses, he tells a chef: “This crab is so undercooked I can still hear it singing ‘Under the Sea.’” For those who aren’t Disney fans, that’s a direct reference to the singing crab Sebastian in The Little Mermaid. Clearly, although Gordon’s kids are much too young for the original Ariel movie, he still knows what’s happening in pop culture—and he knew that fans all over the world would likely get this reference. It’s hilarious for viewers, but it also gets the point across to his cooks—who, by the way, can never seem to fully cook any meat or seafood entrée!
18 Need Something To Soothe The Burn
While we’re sure every cook who receives Gordon’s tutelage needs to go home and ice some burns at the end of the night, this guy may have some trouble running a cool bath. Gordon told him, “I wouldn’t trust you running a bath” in regards to how the cook was managing the kitchen—and he also added, “let alone a restaurant” to that line. This one is unique because it’s about more than just the cook’s culinary ability—he’s literally saying the guy isn’t smart enough to manage the kitchen of the restaurant, which is the ultimate put-down in Ramsay-speak.
17 Suspended Disbelief
Gordon does this “thing” where you think he’s gearing up to deliver a compliment, but then things take a turn for the worse. This is one of those cases, and we wouldn’t want to be on the receiving end of this almost-uplifting comment. He started off with, “I’ve never, ever, ever, ever, ever met someone I believe in…” and you could tell the recipient’s hopes were rising—until he delivered the final blow: ”…as little as you.” Cue the tears, because that’s one tough judgment, especially given the fact that Gordon’s passed severe judgment on tons of chefs in the past. To rank as the least likely he’d believe in? That’s harsh.
16 Surprises All Around
Here’s another scenario where one of Gordon’s “students” fell into the early celebratory trap. In a sit-down with one of his cooks, Gordon started off with, “You do seriously surprise me…” and the cook took that as a positive note. He began to explain how he’d given his all and went over 100 percent on this last dish, when Gordon returned with, “You surprise me as to how [bad] you are.” Way to let him down easy, Gordon! At that, another cook in the room smirked at the cameras, but the chef under fire looked like he wished he could crawl under a rock.
15 Some More Salt N Pepa
Here’s another cultural reference that gets Gordon big points with those who were born in the ‘80s and ‘90s: everyone remembers the iconic Salt N Pepa, right? Their trademark song was even recently revived on a string of TV commercials in the US. But in this case, it wasn’t a positive that Salt N Pepa—or rather, salt and pepper—popped up on Gordon’s show. He told a chef, “You added so much salt and pepper I can hear the dish singing ‘Push It.’” And while this made fans spit out their drinks and laugh wholeheartedly, the insultee wasn’t quite as thrilled.
14 Ode To Harry Potter
This one is definitely keeping with pop culture times—and while we’re sure that Gordon knows about Harry Potter because he has kids, it’s nonetheless impressive that he pulled off this themed insult so seamlessly. Because it wasn’t salt or pepper that someone overdid this time, it was ginger: “You put so much ginger in this it’s a Weasley!” What a way to cash in on the popularity of a franchise while making it evident to the chef in question that their sense of spice was out of whack. Plus, it made viewers giggle, so that’s another plus—especially on a program that’s often full of tears.
13 Early Celebration
This deadpan delivery is another one that had a contestant about to celebrate—but a little too prematurely. Gordon was giving his closing comments on a dish, and he told this chef: “Congratulations…” She started dancing and celebrating—but then he continued, “On the worst dish in this competition so far.” At that point, the look on her face was one of disbelief, but Gordon had already made himself clear. This is one of the most difficult disses to recover from, especially since it messes with your emotions so much! There’s nothing like going from a supreme high to a supreme low in half a second.
12 No Young ‘Uns In The Kitchen
Gordon himself is no spring chicken—and the guy has a wife and kids, too—but he had a great and colorful insult to give to a team of cooks under his tutelage. While he did an expletive to it, you’ll get the gist with only clean language, too: “You guys cook like old people.” And although Gordon himself probably doesn’t think he’s “old,” he seems to think that old people cook bland food, slowly, and do it badly. It might have taken a moment for the insult to set in with the people he delivered it to, but it did get the point across.
11 Overdoing The Garlic
While he didn’t pop in a specific pop culture icon here, Gordon didn’t really have to in this scenario. And although some people feel like you can never have enough garlic in a dish, Chef Ramsay definitely has a limit. He told one cook, “There’s enough garlic in here to kill every vampire in Europe.” For most people, that might be a positive, but this clearly newbie chef definitely got the point that they’d overdone it when “spicing up” the dish. Still, we wonder just how much garlic was in there… Because what’s really too much by pro chef standards?
10 Kudos To Granny
By now, fans know that Gordon was raised by a gruff father who didn’t have many kind words to say. That led Gordon to move out of his family home at age 16, and a couple years later he enrolled in catering college. While his background may not include tender cooking lessons from his beloved gran, Gordon does know enough about his chefs’ capabilities to be able to deliver this one-liner: “My gran could do better! And she’s dead!” We don’t know much about his gran’s cooking abilities, but it seems like he’s saying she doesn’t need any to top whatever culinary mistake he was criticizing.
9 Disappointing Soufflé
Soufflés are tough to get right, so we wouldn’t want to be in the kitchen when someone orders one and Gordon Ramsay is around. Because not only does he have high standards for his soufflés—literally—but he also has some scornful words for those that don’t make the cut. In this case, his judgment was as follows: “This soufflé has sunk so badly James Cameron wants to make a film about it.” Get it? Because James Cameron filmed The Titanic. It’s an epic insult with a culinary spin plus a cultural and historical perspective. Now if that wasn’t scripted, we have a feeling Chef Ramsay’s got a future in the comedic sphere, too, not just the kitchen.
8 Keep Them Coming
Gordon has a penchant for delivering seemingly off-the-cuff insults that are entertainingly relevant to pop culture. Which is why his next insult is so epic, and culturally relevant. Upon inspecting one novice chef’s work, he declared: “This roll is so horrible Nicolas Cage wouldn’t even accept it.” Which is a tongue-in-cheek reference to the fact that Nicolas Cage keeps accepting roles that are not up to fans’ standards, but even this “roll” wouldn’t be good enough for the B-list actor. Honestly, though, this one is both an insult to Nicolas Cage and to the roll, so it’s a double whammy.
7 The Sandwich Diss
The insult that was so iconic it became a meme right away was the idiot sandwich, but this one takes the visual a bit farther. When one of his minions wasn’t paying close enough attention to his instructions, Gordon hollered, “Hey, panini head, are you listening to me?” And while it’s one of his milder disses in terms of it lacking cuss words, it got the point across—especially because most people are already familiar with the idiot sandwich visual. So an idiot panini? It essentially had the same effect, although we’d hazard a guess that the chef on the receiving end of this one wasn’t in any hurry to go grab two slices of bread in preparation.
6 Fresh Fish Here
In another (not so surprising) scenario, Gordon is presented with a plate of fish that’s not meant to be sushi. He gives the proclamation: “This fish is so raw it’s still finding Nemo.” You have to hand it to Gordon, because with all the insults he’s given that are riddled with expletives, he still manages to get his message across in this one without any “bleeps” during editing. Because everyone knows about Finding Nemo, although it seems his culinary staff still don’t know how long to cook their seafood. Then again, we’re sure Gordon has an insult at the ready for overcooked platters, too.
5 He Knows He’s Bad
This one isn’t a direct insult, but it’s said to Gordon’s team in general, so we think it counts! After leaving the kitchen for the night, Gordon was recorded while he said, “Forecast for tomorrow? 100 percent chance of tears.” That right there tells fans that Gordon knows he’s bad and that there’s no chance anyone will live up to his expectations the following day. While that’s not a great endorsement for his culinary team, it at least tells us that he goes into each day looking to make someone cry. That is to say, maybe the chefs he’s supervising shouldn’t take it so personally when he disses them.
4 What’s In That Burger?!
This next one is more of an insult regarding the chef’s ability to discern what’s edible and what’s not, rather than a judgment of his cooking. When Gordon said, “Green burgers kill people,” viewers’ mouths were agape. Just what was in that burger, and how did anyone in that kitchen not notice it was growing something non-edible? We definitely agree with Gordon’s judgment call here—if you can’t tell that meat has gone bad, you really don’t belong in a kitchen. Of course, we like Gordon’s more creative delivery as it gets the point across but also gives us a giggle.
3 Pun Intended
Chimichangas are a beloved convenience food in many places, but we’re not really surprised that the dish wasn’t a hit with Gordon. Honestly, it’d have to be a really special chimichanga to get his vote. So no one was really surprised when Gordon delivered this pun: “Honestly chimichanga… chimi chuck it in the bin.” It wasn’t his most creative diss, but it was still a satisfying one as he wasn’t a big fan of the chef who was doing the cooking. Clearly, it doesn’t take a well-crafted insult to get Gordon’s message across—this one was enough to send that chef packing.
2 Summoning What?
Gordon often has colorful commentary on his pupils’ dishes, and he can often be heard asking them what exactly is on their platters. After all, when something is undercooked or overcooked, it can be hard to identify what it actually is. Here, though? Gordon knew what the goal was, but he used a biting comment to get to the point: “Are we making a soup or trying to summon a demon?” While we’re not exactly sure what’s required to summon a demon to our home kitchens, if it’s as simple as incorrectly mixing up a soup, we’re likely all in trouble!
1 A Pre-Meal Prayer
How many times have you actually seen Gordon sample food that his chefs have cooked? In many cases, he deems a dish complete trash and then throws it out while the maker of the dish either sobs or stomps away. But this time, Gordon was getting ready to choke down a few forkfuls of something—and that warranted this gem: “For what we are about to eat, may the Lord make us truly not vomit.” Of course, it’s understandably difficult to satisfy Gordon’s picky palate, but this wasn’t an indicator of good things to come—and his expectations were clearly already low.