BFS Video // 2010 // 100 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Patrick Naugle // November 5th, 2011
The holidays never tasted so good!
Get ready to host the best Christmas gathering ever, when master chef Gordon Ramsay teaches you how to put together an extravagant meal for the ages in Gordon Ramsay's Ultimate Christmas! Utilizing over twenty years of professional experience, Ramsay shows viewers what it will take to wow guests and keep them coming back for more. From fresh meats and ripe vegetables to succulent breads and decadent desserts, Ramsay is in charge of a Christmas spread that will surely be the hit of your holiday feast!
Gordon Ramsay is a polarizing personality. If you've ever seen any of his television shows -- especially Fox's Hell's Kitchen or Kitchen Nightmares -- you know the man can come off as a complete and utter tool. In fact, I've actually become quite angry during some Hell's Kitchen's episodes; I really don't understand why a celebrity chef has to treat contestants to such vile venom (I know, I know...Ratings). Ramsay is probably rolling in the dough, and yet there he is screaming at people on the verge of a nervous breakdown while nervously attempting to roll pizza dough. Seriously, does this guy not have anything better to do with his advanced culinary skill set?
So, I went into Gordon Ramsay's Ultimate Christmas (originally broadcast on BBC America) preparing for the worst and came out pleasantly surprised. This seasonal two-disc set features 100 minutes of Ramsay cooking up a fancy holiday dinner that's supposed to be "stress free on a budget." I'm not sure how truthful that statement is -- frankly, everything in this cooking show looked complicated to me. Then again, I'm a confessed bachelor who has a hard time not burning cold cereal.
There are a lot of fantastic looking recipes here. A spicy sausage stuffing (that looks like a meatloaf) is a variation on the norm with a wonderful presentation. A roast turkey with lemon and bacon (among many other ingredients) looks absolutely mouth watering. Plus! Mint chocolate truffles and other goodies. It's a fairly basic meal plan -- Ramsay doesn't use exotic ingredients or fancy equipment -- which should allow novices to cook like professionals.
The recipes Ramsay presents clip along at a speed faster than most TV cooking shows. In fact, things move so fast it will most likely make your head spin; recipes are covered expediently from inception to preparation to final baking or broiling. The makers of this show would have done well to have slowed things down a tad (even if it meant cutting a recipe of two) so viewers could really drink in all the attractive ingredients.
I was struck by the fact that Ramsay utilizes his children (or what I assume are his kids) in some segments. It's cute, but you get the idea producers are trying hard to humanize a man who has made a living out of being an obnoxious monster on television. While it's amusing and mildly heartwarming to see Ramsay with children -- you can almost hear him screaming, "Look, my kid has chocolate on his face! Ain't that just adorable" -- the kitchen combatant still doesn't come off as a cuddly teddy bear. Brief moments with Ramsay's wife at home also lend him a bit more personal depth...with mixed results.
For someone serious about making a seasonal meal with a lot of pizzazz, this DVD set is a good purchase. There isn't a lot to report on for content -- you get Ramsay showing you how to make the meals and very little else. His instructions often fly by too fast (good luck trying to cook these delicious meals as you're watching this set), but the level of detail is both thorough and informative.
Gordon Ramsay's Ultimate Christmas is presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen, a transfer suitable for the material. Edits are quick and the food looks scrumptious. I doubt the folks purchasing this set are buying for video quality. The soundtrack is what appears to be Dolby 2.0 Stereo in English. Much like the video segments, there isn't a lot to say -- dialogue is easily understood and the thematic, seasonal background music is pleasing to the ears. No alternate subtitles or language tracks.
Aside of five laminated recipe cards (roast turkey, honey glazed ham, pumpkin soup, vanilla shortbread, and pork apricot stuffing), there are no bonus features.
Gordon Ramsay's high class but low maintenance ideas may be well worth your
time, if you're into cooking fancy recipes and can hit the pause button fast
Review content copyright © 2011 Patrick Naugle; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2013 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
Studio: BFS Video
* 1.85:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 100 Minutes
Release Year: 2010
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Recipe Cards
* Gordon Ramsay