Mean Tools for Happy Cooking: Gordon Ramsay's New Kitchen Gadgets
Oh, celebrities and their unrelenting parade of products. TV chef Gordon Ramsay, who owns a host of fancy-time restaurants throughout the world but is probably known more for his foul-mouthed and abusive presence on British and American reality shows like Kitchen Nightmares and Hell's Kitchen, has launched a new line of cooking gear for Kmart. (See its creepily awesome commercials here.) Below, our editors reviewed three kitchen contraptions from Ramsay's collection so you can determine if they're worth it.
Gordon Ramsay Knife and Cutting Board Set -- $29.99
Touted as: "Good food starts with good prep work. That's easy with this bamboo cutting board and Santoku knife set. Together they let you chop, dice and slice: just like chef Gordon Ramsay."
Reality: Score one for Ramsay. For the non-knife-obsessed home cook, the 7 1/2-inch stainless steel blade is surprisingly sufficient -- it should easily handle all of your basic chopping tasks. It smoothly slices through an onion with enough precision to make a relatively fine dice. The only fair criticism pertains to the handle, which is a little on the light side and certainly doesn't feel expensive. If you're in the habit of using a glass or plastic cutting board, which can be a real kitchen nightmare, the bamboo cutting board is a nice bonus. But as far as slicing and dicing "just like chef Gordon Ramsay?" Well, we didn't find ourselves screaming obscenities at the onion, so we're not so sure about those claims.
Gordon Ramsay Everyday 10 Speed Hand Mixer -- $24.99
Touted as having: Soft grip touch; turbo and eject functions; transparent storage box for attachments.
Reality: It's a wonder how people baked before mixers were invented. We like this one's thoughtful design -- it has a cushy handle and a handy safety feature that won't let you eject any attachments while operating. But the real test of a mixer is its power. To evaluate this one's, we used it to mix up thick, cold cream cheese. (Final destination? A pumpkin cheesecake!) The recipe's directions advised beating the cream cheese mixture on high until smooth, but we didn't have to crank this baby up to that level to achieve a silky smooth cake base -- the medium setting easily did the trick. Ramsay's turbo-charged mixer's real quality test will come later, after we've been using it for awhile.
Gordon Ramsay Everyday Cuban Sandwich Maker -- $29.99
Touted as having: Adjustable temperature control; soft touch grip; non stick coating for convenient cleaning; detachable drip tray to collect juices and run offs; power on and ready indicator lights; 1400 watts.
Reality: We love paninis and Cuban sandwiches. But typically we've not relied on panini presses to make them -- a frying pan or grill pan seems to work just fine. This model from Ramsay is a great price and looks well-made, but when grilling our first sandwich, we found that the medium heat recommended by the directions was not enough to get the job done. Another thing that caught us by surprise is that the top grate has no ridges, whereas the bottom one does, making it somewhat difficult to make a grilled sandwich -- you have to flip it over to get the grill marks on both sides. Bottom line: We do wonder whether chef Ramsay himself would use this product to make sandwiches, as there are better models out there with more surface area to grill at least two sandwiches at a time. But if you have space constraints or are on a budget, this model might be just right for you.
What do you think about Gordon Ramsay's new line? Let us know in the comments.