|British celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay speaks during a press conference at Conrad Seoul, Saturday. / Courtesy of Oriental Brewery|
By Park Jae-hyuk
Gordon Ramsay refuted an argument that his recent TV commercial for Oriental Brewery's Cass beer showed the British celebrity chef surrendering to capitalism.
"I became familiar with the beer quite early on. There's enthusiasm for Korean food in London as well," he said during a press conference in Seoul, Saturday, introducing himself as one who has fallen in love with Korean foods going on 15 years.
In the commercial, he recognizes Cass as a "bloody fresh" beer representing the authenticity of Korean foods.
Given that the Michelin-starred chef is notorious for his naughty comments about poor cooking, his favorable attitude toward the Korean lager has pleasantly astonished his Korean fans, most of whom think Korean beer is inferior to imported brands.
Some westerners, such as Daniel Tudor, a former Seoul correspondent for the Economist, also slammed the country's beers as dull beverages that are inferior to North Korea's Taedonggang Beer.
Stressing that Cass perfectly matches Korean foods, Ramsay jokingly promised to "kick the British journalist's ass," if he meets Tudor.
"Europeans are not used to spices, so I think they don't know the importance of cleansing and properly washing foods down," he said. "I don't think Korean foods go well with wine or expensive beers. I want beer that is easy, fresh and something that I can drink without having to show off."
He defined Cass as a "beer of the people," which can be served with family-style dinners, unlike IPAs.
Ramsay also regards the Korean beer as "the freshest and the coolest beer" for its relatively affordable price amid the long-lasting economic recession worldwide.
However, the chef said he does not enjoy using Cass for "somaek," while many Koreans tend to mix the beer with soju, a popular distilled spirit here.
"It's a dangerous drink. It's one that you need to have a pack of Palladone along with it," he said with a laugh. Palladone is pain-relieving capsule. He talked about an episode in which his oldest daughter asked him to drink one after learning how to make soju bombs at her college.
He said he refused to drink the second glass after emptying the first glass with his daughter.
On top of his comments about beer, the world famous chef offered advice on Korean food and for chefs.
He regards Korean food as good enough to globalize, saying Korean dishes do not depend on over-sophisticated and expensive ingredients.
For chefs, he urges them not to cling to cooking only, introducing his business strategies of running his own production and media companies to promote his brands by himself.
Ramsay, who owns many restaurants around the world, also said he is considering opening a restaurant here, following restaurants he has opened in other Asian cities, including Hong Kong, Singapore, Shanghai and Dubai.