There’s a lot to learn from Gordon Ramsay, star of Kitchen Nightmares, Hell’s Kitchen, and MasterChef. Whether you’re a professional cook, an aspiring chef, or simply whip up something on occasion at home, Ramsay inspires others to be passionate and put their best possible work out there.
Sure, he might come off as loud and harsh, but the chef works with his TV show contestants so that they can improve and succeed in their endeavors. He loves what he does, and it shows. Here are the lessons we’ve learned from Gordon Ramsay—they apply in the kitchen and in real life.
Focus on your strengths.
You don’t have to be perfect in every area. Even Ramsay has admitted to being a competitive perfectionist, but he always encourages contestants to focus on their personal strengths. Whether it’s baking, Asian fusion cuisines, or soul food, you should lean into your best work, and success will follow.
Keep learning and trying new things.
In Ramsay’s Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything) thread, the chef stressed the importance of familiarizing yourself with new ingredients.
“I think, being a chef, the first thing that I set out to do was to make sure that I almost got to taste every ingredient anywhere in the world,” Ramsay wrote. “I wanted to learn so much about ingredients that I’d never know what NOT to do with an ingredient.”
Lemon juice will help get rid of the heat from chili peppers.
Have some residual heat on your fingers from chopping spicy peppers? There’s a simple solution, and it’s probably already in your fridge. Squeeze lemon juice onto your hands, Ramsay advises, and that heat will be gone in a flash.
“Get things off your chest.”
There’s a reason Ramsay is known for his brash demeanor. “I have to get things off my chest. If there’s one thing my mum taught me, it’s [to] speak your mind, be firm, get things off your chest,” he wrote in the Reddit AMA. “I think it’s a good way to work, and quite healthy to have that attitude.”
Broaden your horizons by traveling, if you can.
When an aspiring chef asked Ramsay for a nugget of advice in the Reddit thread, the chef’s answer was simple: Travel. “I thought I really knew how to cook when I worked for Marco and then when I went to France, it really opened my eyes,” Ramsay wrote. “So learn a second language and travel. It’s really important to travel. That is fundamental. Because you pick up so many different techniques, and learning a second language gives you so much more confidence in the kitchen.”
There’s a right way to cut and peel a mango.
Ramsay demonstrated the proper method in a YouTube video, and you won’t look at the fruit the same way. The chef halved the mango “stalk end-up,” then proceeded to cut the mango into lattice-shaped squares. To get rid of the peel, just slide the chunks away from the peel with the knife, turning the peel inside-out as you go.
Attention to detail can set a great chef apart from a good one.
When Ramsay hosted a Quora question session, he was asked about the “difference between a good chef and a great chef.”
Ramsay’s answer? “Level of sensitivity on their palate. There is a defined level of perfection and the ability to maximize an ingredient and the flavor of that raw ingredient,” he wrote. “Great chefs have the ability to make edits on the plate where they know to say stop. They know that something is utterly perfection.”
The bottom line? If you think a recipe is enough, stop! There’s no need to go overboard with details when you’ve perfected something.
It’s never too early to teach kids about cooking.
During the Quora Q&A, Ramsay described a family dinner where his young children all helped with the meal preparation. Sure, they might not be operating a stove or handling chef’s knives at such young ages. But there are ways to ways to include your kids in the meal that can help them develop healthy relationships with food that will last a lifetime.
RELATED: The easy way to make healthier comfort foods.
“Know your customers.”
Planning on opening a restaurant or starting another small business? Make sure you know the market and that you’ll be filling a need in the community. “Know your customers,” Ramsay wrote on Quora. “Cook within the vicinity you are in and don’t start reaching too far too soon.”
Sometimes, simple is best.
This goes along with Ramsay’s other advice about great chefs knowing when enough is enough. But it’s worth repeating. Fans who’ve seen Ramsay’s television shows know that the chef often instructs contestants to keep the menu simple. Adding too many flavors can be distracting—sometimes the most flawless dishes are the most simple ones.
Avoid burnout, even if that means taking a step back.
When a chef suffering from burnout asked Ramsay for advice on Reddit, the MasterChef star advised him to take a break.
“Cooking at this level is so intense. So don’t give up. Be honest with yourself, and take a month out,” Ramsay wrote. You don’t have to be a professional chef to take this advice—taking a step back from any job that’s causing you stress can help you regain balance in your life.
This doesn’t just mean scheduling vacation time, either. Ramsay participates in triathlons; finding your own hobby could help you maintain a work-life balance, too.
There’s a super-easy way to figure out if a pineapple is ripe.
Have you ever tried to knock the stub of an avocado stem off to see if the fruit was ripe? There’s a similar way to check on a pineapple. Try pulling a leaf from the top of the fruit—if it comes off without much give, the pineapple is ready to go.
Passion is everything.
If you watch Ramsay’s shows, you know he puts his passion and love for cooking into everything he does. And he brings out the passion in his contestants and lights a fire in them, too.
Whether you’re a master chef yourself or just an at-home cook who loves Ramsay’s shows, there’s always something you can learn from the TV personality.