How did Gordon Ramsay spend his pandemic lockdown? Getting frenetic in a kitchen, of course.
The chef with a dizzying number of books, restaurants and TV shows was home in Cornwall, England, with mouths to feed last year when he did a series of lives on Instagram cooking meals in 10 minutes or less.
The fast-moving endeavour he began on YouTube the year before culminated in 'Ramsay in 10,' his latest cookbook filled with recipes made against the clock.
“There's so much fun to be had in cooking food that doesn't need to take 60 or 70 minutes at a time,” he explains.
Before COVID-19, his wife, Tana did all the home cooking.
“She is an amazing home cook,” says Ramsay.
“That's the first time I've properly cooked at home. It's like running a restaurant where no one went home."
`'Ramsay in 10' is miracle book born from a terrible situation
He describes 'Ramsay in 10' as "a bit of a miracle" because it's the first time in his career that life has forced him to slow down and take a time out.
The world is used to seeing a sped-up — and sometimes terrifying — Ramsay, saving failing restaurants, judging chefs competing for prize money, scaling Sicilian cliffs in search of the perfect octopus.
But it's not used to seeing him run around his own kitchen surrounded by his wife and their kids, ranging from 2 to 23.
The Instagram lives tickled thousands of fans with the rare treat of seeing Ramsay cook in real time.
“No passports. No flights. No schedule,” he said of the shutdown.
“You’re not filming. You’re staying home and you’re cooking breakfast, lunch and dinner. If you told me that two years ago, I’d never have believed you. We had to get super creative and go quick and easy and uncomplicated.”
He had the pandemic's strains on families at the forefront of his mind.
“Every doctor and nurse was on their knees, and every hospital was bursting with anxiety and pressure,” Ramsay said. “And so what I wanted to do was to take that pressure off.”
Decadent cheese omelettes and one-pan pumpkin pastas
Among his 100 recipes made in a flash: a humble omelet elevated with mozzarella and shiitake mushrooms, and another with fish sauce and shrimp.
There's a one-pan pumpkin pasta with amaretti biscuits and lemon thyme, and a quick smoked haddock kedgeree using pre-cooked rice.
Ramsay filled his book — his 31st — with shortcuts and tips on how to stock a pantry and fridge for home cooks on the go.
He calls these recipes fast food at its finest — not quicker than a frozen meal tossed into a microwave but faster than a takeout delivery. And he gives home cooks grace on the clock, acknowledging his status as a seasoned pro.
“The way I used to write cookbooks was thinking I’m going to be judged by every chef on the planet. The recipes were laden with 152 ingredients. Cooking at home is completely different, and I’ve learned that so much more,” Ramsay said.
Gordon's 'Ramsay in 10' is out Nov. 2 through Hachette Book Group.