BFS Video // 2007 // 405 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Roy Hrab (Retired) // October 15th, 2009
The Heat Is On!
The F Word: Series Three is the third installment of Chef Gordon Ramsay's restaurant television program presented on 3 discs. The third season continues its standing as the best of Ramsay's television series.
Similar to the previous seasons, there are three main threads here. The first is the kitchen brigade competition. The second is Ramsay breeding lambs to ultimately serve to diners in the series finale. The last, and definitely least, is Ramsay's search for a new "Fanny Cradock" (a female television cook).
For the kitchen brigade competition, as was the case in Series Two, the judges are the 50 F Word diners, who decide whether they want to pay for a dish or not. The brigade that gets the most paid diners wins the competition. The prize is the glory of winning and the privilege of cooking in the season's final episode at Claridge's. Since the brigades aren't vying for jobs, they do not cower before Ramsay and are not afraid to be themselves. Interestingly, as in Series Two, in general, the women brigades outperform the male brigades. Another positive aspect of the competition scenes, and The F Word as a whole, is that Ramsay is less abusive and more jovial than he is to the chefs on Hell's Kitchen. Last, Ramsay's reactions to large numbers of diners refusing to pay for a course for reasons he doesn't understand (e.g. they simply don't like the recipe) is always good for laugh.
The lambs segments aren't particularly remarkable until 1) a lamb is killed by an unknown predator, and 2) it comes time for slaughter, which, as in the previous two series, is shown in all its gory detail. Ramsay appears to be much less emotionally involved with his lambs than he was with his beloved pigs in Series Two. The "Fanny Cradock" sequences are the least interesting part of the series by far. Nothing much happens until episode 8 and what transpires isn't compelling.
In addition to the three main threads, Ramsay goes on his own culinary adventures, involving looking for exotic foods and teaching kitchen illiterates how to cook. For example, with respect to food, Ramsay hunts deer and hare, fishes for eels, goes to Norway to ice dive for King Crabs, and makes Buffalo Mozzarella in Scotland. The teaching segments include a visit to a man who has been living off packaged salads, a group of RAF pilots, and some track athletes. Recipes here include pan roasted cod with chorizo sausage, a fillet steak sandwich with green salad, and no-bake cheesecake. These escapades are a welcome escape from the confines of the kitchen. Also, as with Series Two, the show features segments with British media personality Janet Street-Porter, who presents on a variety of items, including unhealthy fast and prepared foods, ethical foie gras, horse meat, and drinking pig's blood!
Finally, there is the cooking challenge between Ramsay and a celebrity guest. Each prepares their own version of a dish -- carrot cake, crab tortellini, fish pie, king prawn wonton -- which are judged by a small group of diners. It's always fun to see Ramsay's look of exasperation and disbelief whenever he loses.
The video is solid. All the dishes are colorful and look good enough to eat. The audio is equally good. Every clanking pot, pan, and Ramsay curse is clear. There are extras this time round. However, they are minor, consisting entirely of six recipes of dishes prepared during the course of the series. Disc 3 contains a PDF file with the recipes for Crab Spring Rolls, Ginger and Coriander Dipping Sauce, Tandoori Spiced Halibut Fillets with Cucumber, Sautéed Potatoes with Turmeric and Black Mustard Seeds, Tiramisu, and Roast Pork Chops with Radicchio and Apples and Deep Fried Courgette.
Overall, The F Word: Series Three is on par with, if not better than, Series Two. Once again, the show rarely drags, Ramsay shows his passion for cooking, and presents many easy to prepare meals that should be enough to inspire even the laziest of people to skip take-out and try their at cooking instead.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: BFS Video
* 1.78:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 405 Minutes
Release Year: 2007
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Official Site