Gordon Ramsay Pours Ketchup on Hot Dog, Calls it “Good”

The guy must have a giant pair of bollocks, I have to say.

For Gordon Ramsay to come into Chicago, open a burger and hot dog place, and brag about dumping ketchup on his signature dog, either takes a lot of guts or is the kind of in-your-face Chicago style challenge better suited to Bobby Flay. Flay seems more Chicago in a lot of ways.

Flay’s the kind of guy who would pour the ketchup on, and catching your disapproving stare, say, “Yeah, what?” In Chicago, that means, the next move is yours.

But Ramsay, the Scotsman/Brit who has his highly trained hand in the giant cookie jar of all cooking media, seems to be enjoying messing with the old Chicago approach to encased meats.

Which is: “Mustard only, no ketchup.”

That was always the unspoken – and also loudly spoken and shouted over – rule.  Fighting words, depending on how many beers you enjoy with your dog. Gordon Ramsay is betting that most city people have never tried it, and he will be a kind of Pied Piper leading customers to the edge of a cliff they never dared approach before.

He has even had a portrait done — in ketchup!

It is probably a good idea that he put the 5,000 square-foot restaurant at 2 E. Ontario Street. The folks who dine around this neighborhood are used to fancy-schmancy and “cutting-edge” cuisine. Even though the restaurant will accommodate 120 people and includes a full bar, it’s a fairly safe bet that ketchup vs. mustard fights won’t spontaneously break out here.

The menu includes what Ramsay is calling the Straight Up Dawg (has the man never heard of Superdawg inventor Maury Berman?) and is dressing his foot-long hot dog with pickles, onions, mustard … and … ketchup! There is another hot dog offering, but so what?

The thing is, I have been entertained by Gordon Ramsay. I have enjoyed his enthusiasm for fresh ingredients and discovering kitchen talent. I would probably enjoy being berated by him if I were ever to present my scrambled eggs and Velveeta with hot sauce dish to him, this being the only dish I absolutely nail. Sure, I’d be hurt, but I’d get over it.

And I have loved the food I’ve been lucky to have at a few of his restaurants. The BurGR Pub in Las Vegas featured a medium-rare lamb burger that was beyond reproach, and at Hell’s Kitchen I was all set to criticize the Beef Wellington and the sticky toffee pudding. But both were fantastic. I even had a smoked whiskey that was delivered in a smoking glass cage. It was called “Smoke on the Boulevard.” And it more than set the tone for the meal. I even got a smoker cage when I got home.

Smoke on the Boulevard

So it may very well be that the Straight Up Dawg is also tremendous.

But I hope not.

I’m savoring the opportunity to call Chef Ramsay a “Donkey.”

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  • I'm a bit late to Mr Ramsay's adventures, so thank you for the update. By the way, though, calling him a Scotsman/Brit is a lot like calling me an Illinoisan/American.

  • In reply to Margaret H. Laing:

    Just don't call a Scotsman "English." He's liable to stick his dirk in you.

  • In reply to Mark Andel:

    I know that well, even though I'd say the argument is more likely to be verbal. Some of my cousins are Scottish.

  • In reply to Margaret H. Laing:

    Hoot mon! Your Scottish cousins seem able to restrain themselves from physical violence. I had a friend who once "complimented" a Scotsman (or so he thought) by telling him he had a nice "brogue." For that, he almost got the dirk.

  • Who the hell ruled that it’s wrong , wrong, wrong to put ketchup on a hot dog? I was born in chicago 80 years ago and spent most of my life there and I always put it on my dog. Following mandates like this makes you less of an authentic Chicagoan.

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