Gordon Ramsay isn’t known for holding back. As the star of series such as Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares and Hell’s Kitchen, the TV Chef has made a name for himself with his entertaining tirades as much as his cooking. But one American woman’s recipe for a British classic almost drove the well-known personality over the edge.
The lady who drew Ramsay’s ire was an American named Michelle. Michelle – who comes from North Carolina, but who now resides in Britain – has won a following on social media thanks to her take on classic British recipes. The mom-of-three has a dedicated YouTube channel called “Traveling Family of Five,” which details their adventures as “Americans living in the U.K., and exploring Europe.”
Michelle’s YouTube channel has nearly 7,000 subscribers, all of whom are treated to content ranging from the family’s take on British food to various challenges. Michelle also shares with her 205,000 followers on TikTok. And it’s fair to say that her interpretations of British classics have left natives of the British Isles feeling less than impressed.
Indeed, it wasn’t long before Michelle’s videos attracted the attention of someone who holds British cuisine close to his heart. Gordon Ramsay is known on both sides of the Atlantic for his culinary skills. Yet the TV chef also has a temper that’s frequently on show across his hit television series. Michelle was the latest in a long line of budding chefs to find herself on the receiving end of Ramsay’s barbs.
Ramsay was born in Scotland, but he was brought up in England. As a youngster, he enjoyed soccer. In fact, he very nearly made it as a professional with Glasgow Rangers, before an injured knee put paid to his aspirations. Forced to reconsider his options, Ramsay went back to school and secured a hotel management qualification.
It was food that became Ramsay’s particular focus. The young man sought guidance from some of the world’s top chefs by apprenticing in London under the likes of Albert Roux of the famous Le Gavroche restaurant and Marco Pierre White of Harvey’s. Ramsay then moved to France to continue his education.
Soon, Ramsay graduated from his apprenticeships and became a head chef in his own right. His adventure began at Aubergine, a London restaurant which soon secured two Michelin stars under his leadership in the kitchen. Before long, the chef had opened his own establishment in London, a place he called Restaurant Gordon Ramsay.
Throughout these early stages of his career, Ramsay was beginning to pick up awards. He secured the 1995 Newcomer of the Year prize from the Catey Awards, widely considered to be among the most prestigious in the restaurant and hotel industry. Five years later, he was declared Chef of the Year by the same organization. Plus, further Ramsay establishments were eventually opened in New York, South Africa and Dubai, among other notable locations.
Simultaneously, Ramsay moved into the television business. In 1996 he became a judge on the popular BBC show MasterChef. That was just the start, as Ramsay then became the subject of a documentary series called Boiling Point. This charted the opening of his first ever establishment. Ramsay’s volatile personality, it appeared, was perfect for the small screen.
Ramsay soon became the host of a number of popular TV cooking shows including Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares and Hell’s Kitchen. His style – combustible, passionate, confrontational and potty-mouthed – was a major hit with viewers. His fame soon spread to the United States, where an American version of Hell’s Kitchen was run on Fox.
Other American shows followed for Ramsay, including Kitchen Nightmares and MasterChef. Soon, the host branched out into other series including Hotel Hell. Ramsay’s face became a familiar presence on small screens on both sides of the Atlantic. Additionally, he’s also the author of over 20 cookery books, further adding to his reputation as a food guru.
In contrast, American mom Michelle’s culinary credentials are virtually unknown. But that didn’t stop the bubbly blond taking to social media to entertain her followers with her interpretations of some of the dishes and beverages that Brits like to enjoy. The mom focused on British food as her family had relocated to the United Kingdom from their native U.S.
Michelle – posting as JChelle36 – had already begun producing viral TikTok videos before her latest effort caught the eye of Ramsay. One of the mom’s earlier attention-grabbing efforts was her attempt to make classic “hot tea, or British tea,” as she called it. Clearly, viewers had never seen anything quite like it.
To begin, Michelle filled up her mug with cold water straight from the faucet, or “tap” as it’s called in Britain. She then proceeded to heat the mug’s content in the microwave, a piece of equipment that she frequently relies on. Once out of the microwave, Michelle’s daughter added a copious amount of milk, and then the tea bag. The finishing flourish was a large quantity of sugar added.
British audiences were left horrified by what they’d witnessed. Indeed, many felt compelled to post under the video, and the comments made for hilarious reading. “A little bit of me died inside when I [watched] this,” one viewer wrote. “This is a crime,” declared another. The clip has attracted nearly 80,000 comments on TikTok to date.
Fresh from her tea-making attempt, Michelle turned her attention to a classic British snack – baked beans on toast. Straight off the bat, the amateur cook angers viewers by claiming to be making a “traditional British breakfast.” Although beans on toast can be eaten as the first meal of the day, it’s typically enjoyed at any time. And it certainly wouldn’t be deemed a typical breakfast meal by Brits.
Michelle then proceeds to empty a tin of beans over a slice of bread that hasn’t been toasted. Then, she places a slice of processed cheese on the top and puts the plate and its contents into the microwave. She then presents the dish to the camera. “And that’s how you make beans on toast,” she declares.
Viewers of the TikTok video were quick to disagree that this was how beans on toast should be made. “Nobody makes beans on toast like this,” one angry commenter posted. “This hurts so much,” added another. Yet others were keen to see Michelle turn her attentions to other British favorites. “Do a Sunday roast next,” one such viewer suggested.
Michele soon heeded some commenters’ advice to take on more classic recipes. And if her attempts at British tea and beans on toast attracted their fair share of mirth, then her next effort was to raise the bar. Michelle decided that she’d have a go at one of the most famous of all British recipes. This, of course, was fish and chips. And naturally, her take was unique, to say the least.
In her video, Michelle starts by sourcing her fish. Viewers are left aghast when they see Michelle picking up a dead specimen from a local beach, which she describes as a “watering hole.” Next, we move to the kitchen to see Michelle wielding a knife to the fish that she describes as “cod.” Indeed, Atlantic cod is often the favored fish used in the British recipe, although Michelle’s choice appears to be a different species entirely.
After cutting off the fish’s head, Michelle then turns her attention to the batter mix that traditionally covers the fish. In the classic British recipe, this batter is coated around the fish, which is then deep-fried. Michelle starts by adding flour to a bowl, and then cracking open an egg.
Next, Michelle adds a rather large quantity of sugar, followed by seasoning in the form of salt and pepper. Then comes a rather surprising ingredient in the form of a root beer. Although available in the United Kingdom, root beer is certainly not a drink – or recipe ingredient – that’s often enjoyed or employed. Michelle then declares that “your batter should be thick.”
As the next step, Michelle coats her now-headless fish in the batter. She adds salt and pepper to an empty plate and then places the battered fish on top. Next comes the microwave as – probably to the exasperation of the vast majority of viewers – Michelle places the fish into the appliance and cooks it for 20 minutes.
To accompany her fish, Michelle shows some pre-cooked chips that she’s cut into circular shapes. Once the cooking is complete, we see the enthusiastic chef make her final declaration. “And that is how you make British fish and chips,” the American native states. Except most viewers – even those with limited cooking experience – were aware that what they were watching was not, in fact, the way to make the dish.
It wasn’t long before Michelle’s video tutorial attracted the attention of one famous viewer. And this was someone who knows a thing or two about cooking – especially classic British recipes. What’s more, this was a viewer who’s never been shy of letting people know what he really thinks about their culinary efforts. That person was none other than Gordon Ramsay.
Ramsay had been critiquing social media food videos for some time using his ramsayreacts hashtag. It seems the chef was keen to get into the celebrity TikTok craze. Of course, it was all but certain that Ramsay’s famously abrasive style would go down a treat with viewers. #ramsayreacts currently has more than three billion views on the social media platform.
What ensues is comedy gold as, in a split-screen video, Ramsay reacts to Michelle’s fish and chips tutorial. And as we’ve come to expect, the British celebrity chef doesn’t hold back. In a self-shot video in an outdoor setting, Ramsay’s famous furrowed brow doesn’t leave his face for the duration of his analysis.
It all starts pleasantly enough. Michelle announces her intention to make the British classic, and Ramsay’s response to it is positive. “Okay, good, love fish and chips,” the TV personality admits. However, it all goes downhill quickly from there, starting from Michelle’s suggestion to “go to your local watering hole” and “find your fish.” Like most viewers at this point, the confusion on Ramsay’s face is clear to see. “Find your what?” he exclaims.
The split-screen video then follows Ramsay’s reaction as Michelle takes her fish back to her kitchen. “Clean your fish,” is Michelle’s next top tip, but this once again leaves Ramsay cold. “Clean it? You’ve left the head on,” the chef bemusedly declares. Clearly, he isn’t enamored with the American’s approach.
“Okay guys, this is a cod,” Michelle then states. Ramsay isn’t so sure. “Cod?” he ponders. Yet the video ratchets up in comedy value as Michelle then proceeds to move onto her batter mixture. Now we see a bowl already half-full of something before Michelle explains to “pour your flour in.” At this point the exasperation in Ramsay is wonderfully evident as he declares, “Oh my God!”
Michelle’s next step is to “crack your egg.” Ramsay is nonplussed. “Egg yolk, no,” the well-known personality derides. “Add some sugar,” Michelle then suggests, as she’s seen pouring in a not-ungenerous amount of the product. Ramsay seems to take this step as a personal affront. “No!” he moans, adding another “no” to the mix as Michelle adds salt and pepper.
One of Michelle’s more individual takes on the recipe is her choice of root beer in the batter mix. Unsurprisingly, Ramsay is shocked by the ingredient. “Root beer?” he asks. And as Michelle then shows off the completed mix and declares, “This is how it should look,” Ramsay’s response is just as we have come to expect from the prickly chef. “Puke,” he states.
If Ramsay’s choice of words can be somewhat coarse and unkind, he’s unrepentant. As Michelle then declares that the “batter should be thick,” Ramsay puts the boot in. “Yeah, diaper thick,” he snarks. It’s pure Ramsay, and it’s entertaining in the extreme for viewers. But Michelle isn’t done yet – and neither is the chef.
Michelle’s next step is to begin coating the fish. “Oh my God, no flour, stop it!” Ramsay pleads. Still we keep going. “Salt and pepper your plate,” Michelle suggests, as she’s seen seasoning an empty dish. “What are you doing, you cannot be serious?” Ramsay asks, echoing the words of legendary tennis player John McEnroe.
The final steps of the recipe – and indeed the final moments of the video – reach a rather hilarious climax. As Michelle moves the now-battered fish over to the season plate, Ramsay’s wrath is palpable. “There’s nothing British about that,” the award-winning chef declares. And indeed, Ramsay should know what he’s talking about.
Michelle’s decision to use a well-known kitchen appliance gets particularly short shrift from Ramsay. “In the microwave. Are you kidding me?” he sneers. Clearly Ramsay isn’t aware of the American mom’s love of the fast-cooking machine. And then, as Michelle presents her pre-cooked chips, Ramsay doesn’t hold back. “Oh, you’ve lost the plot,” he exclaims.
Perhaps the most hilarious aspect of Ramsay’s whole critique is his parting shot. As Michelle presents the completed dish, the disdain in the professional chef’s voice is barely hidden as he declares, “You’ve never been to Britain.” Knowing what we do of Michelle and her family’s life – and the fact the American clan currently reside in the U.K. – it’s a considerable put-down.
But there’s one question we should ask ourselves. Namely, is Michelle really serious with her interpretations of these recipes? Many think not. Indeed, one viewer of the beans on toast video may have called it exactly as it is. “Hahhahaha – as an Englishman who regularly has beans on toast for lunch, I can appreciate the pure mischief of this lovely video,” the viewer said.
Ramsay’s take on Michelle’s recipe has attracted widespread interest, including being reported in a number of British newspapers. And the public reaction to the split-screen video was predictably enthusiastic, with social media users delighting in what they’d seen. “That’s pure gold,” one commenter stated.
Michelle herself has used her newfound fame to push her agenda. “I think I need my own cooking show, I’m getting really good at this,” the mom commented on Twitter, resharing her beans on toast video. And with a super chef now a fan, of sorts, it might not be long before her wish becomes reality. Perhaps we could see a future series with Ramsay and Michelle operating in tandem? It would certainly make for some great TV.