Sunday, July 7, 2013

Gordon Ramsay in Singapore

Gordon Ramsay signed this for me. He signed the photo sideways,

Singapore's been abuzz all week about a celebrity visit to our small shores. Nope, not talking about Ronaldo, nor David Beckham...but Gordon Ramsay. Now who'd have thunk a celebrity chef would garner quite so much attention? Not me...but then again Singapore is such a foodie nation that I shouldn't be surprised.

HungryGoWhere and Singtel posed a challenge to Ramsay to hold a cookoff with three top hawkers/restaurants and not one to shy away from a little competition, Ramsay took them up on it.

So Ramsay's challengers were Tian Tian Chicken Rice at Maxwell Hawker Center, 328 Katong Laksa and Jumbo Seafood. Ramsay jetted in on Friday and got straight to work, visiting Tian Tian's stall but was quickly swarmed by fans, patrons and everyone. It was like he was Justin Bieber, everyone wanted to meet him, shake his hand or take his photograph. He was so overwhelmed that he had to leave a couple of times before eventually returning so he could learn how to cook the dish.

Ramsay leaving

My friends M and J wanted to meet him, especially since J is a huge fan of his. So game to meet the celebrity chef, we headed out to meet him at his hotel before he departed for his chilli crab cooking lesson at Jumbo Seafood. Within five minutes of our arrival he  emerged from the elevators. He was more than happy to sign autographs but as he was in a rush he didn't have time to pose for photos, but he agreed to make one exception- for J. Please excuse my less than exceptional photographs.

Ramsay departing in his SUV

So today the big event rolled around and I decided to high tail it to Newton Hawker Centre to see I could snag one of the 1,000 passes that would enable me to sample  Ramsay's culinary attempts at mastering local cuisine.

But by the time I got there,  all the passes had been snapped up.  I guess there were over well  a thousand people there. It was completely and totally packed! It's no wonder as I heard some people say that the crowds had already started forming early in the morning.  

A frazzled security person was removing some people from behind some barricades, saying that it was too crowded, reasoning there was not enough space. Well, that was the whole point of the event, wasn't it? attract a crowd. When someone questioned security as to why people were being pulled out, he got a testy response. 

I don't know why they were asked to move because people ended up up standing just where they wanted to, which happened to be just right in front of me.

This is the best shot I managed to get of Ramsay.

The crowd went wild when Ramsay showed up at about 5:30pm. Arms shot up in the air, holding iphones, ipads and cameras aloft. It was virtually impossible to get a photo. I wonder if he gets such a response everywhere he goes...hmmm...? Anyway since I wasn't going to get anything to eat, I decided to split. Here are a few photos of the pandemonium that I took just as I was leaving.

UPDATE: Ramsay lost his cookoff to Tian Tian Chicken Rice and 328 Katong Laksa; however he triumphed over Jumbo Seafood. Congrats to our HawkerHeroes and to Ramsay for mastering chilli crab in a mere 48 hours.

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