Gordon Ramsay: Chef Blast – as good as his cooking? (pic: Outplay Entertainment)
GameCentral talks to celebrity chef and world class profanity-thrower Gordon Ramsay about his new video game and cooking during lockdown.
Gordon Ramsay is not someone you’d normally associate with video games but given how active he is on social media it’s perhaps no surprise to find him becoming involved in gaming as well. After all, Ramsay has already enjoyed great success throwing out culinary advice and colourful put-downs on Twitter and TikTok – showing an understanding of modern media that is well ahead of the average celeb.
Which is why, in an attempt to promote new mobile game Gordon Ramsay: Chef Blast, we ended up with the chance to interview him via email. As you’d expect, it doesn’t seem he has much time for traditional video games, but he certainly understands all too well the dire problems that lockdown has brought to the hospitality industry and how difficult it’s made buying ingredients for home cooking.
As we discuss though, the one silver lining is that people now have more time on their hands for cooking and to that end Chef Blast includes a number of recipes to unlock, including some that Ramsay has designed specifically for the game.
Chef Blast is a neat little colour-matching game and while it’s full of all the typical pitfalls of mobile gaming, including microtransactions and watching ads for bonus items, they’re very easy to avoid, at least at first, and keep the whole game entirely free-to-play.
The idea is that you can match two or more coloured blocks to remove them from the play area, with the more you remove at once creating power-ups like bombs and rockets. Where things get more interesting is when actual food is added to the mix, each of which has different rules – so while onions can be removed simply by destroying adjacent blocks hamburgers have to be dropped off the bottom of the screen.
It takes a while to unlock a recipe, which requires earning stars from each of the 260 stages, but it’s an enjoyable alternative to already established favourites like Candy Crush Saga. Although we have to admit we were slightly disappointed that Ramsay’s voiceover never swore at us for our incompetence, but perhaps we just never played bad enough for that…
We don’t think he got the Master Chef joke (pic: FOX Broadcasting)
GC: You don’t strike me as someone that has much time for video games or is that wrong? Perhaps you’ve played with your kids?
GR: I’m always on my phone when I’m not in the kitchen or on set. But I don’t have the free time the kids do, so I always try to see what they’re playing when they’re ignoring me at home! I’ve seen how glued they are to their phones, trying to distract themselves from everything around them, so I figured since they won’t pay attention to me, I should put myself back in the App Store!
GC: Was this game designed specifically with lockdown and the pandemic in mind? And if it wasn’t what did that change about your plans in terms of the game and the recipes themselves?
GR: This game has been years and months in the making; however, what the lockdown and pandemic have done is up the ante in the game. People are at home and on their phones more now, so we decided to put exclusive recipes that only players can get in the game. It’s the first of its kind and the first time I’ve developed recipes for a game!
GC: People are stuck indoors with nothing to do during lockdown, which gives them more time than usual to experiment with cooking (and video games) but they’re also more limited in how they can get to shops and their choices of ingredients – so what kind of advice are you giving for people to cope and do you think lockdown will be an overall benefit in terms of making people more aware of what and how they eat?
GR: Good question, I think we’ve seen an explosion of home cooks over the last year. From sourdough breads to pancake cereal, people have let their creativity flow. More so than ever, people finally don’t have an excuse not to cook! Use those knives and dust off that pan and start with simple dishes. These dishes tend to have a small amount of ingredients that can often be found at home and can then be used in other dishes.
At least beef wellingtons are healthier than candy (pic: Outplay Entertainment)
GC: Between this, TikTok, Twitter, and all the rest you seem to find it pretty easy to keep up with social media trends, are you getting advice from others on that or is it just something you’re naturally into? How do you think things would’ve been different for you if this sort of thing had been around when you were a kid and just starting out?
GR: I don’t own a laptop or have a computer to do my business, my phone is my office. So I’m always on it and looking at what people are doing and what’s trending. And, of course, there’s a team I work with and my kids – they share trends for inspiration. I’m always on the go, jumping around various project and ideas – I genuinely can’t comprehend the days before social media, we had no distractions; food was my absolute focus!
GC: That cartoon image of you in the game is pretty flattering, can you see yourself making other games in different genres? Super Gordon World or Halo: The Master Chef Collection, perhaps? Maybe you could be a skin in Fortnite?
GR: Why thank you, little Gordon does have some good hair. Well, this isn’t my first game [likely a reference to a Hell’s Kitchen tie-in from Ubisoft, back in 2008 – GC] but it is my first in the puzzle space. We’ll see! I love technology and how it continues to change. Who knows, maybe I should be doing some Fortnite events like Marshmello. Though I’m not sure we need Fornite Gordon.
GC: What lasting effects do you think the pandemic is going to have on the way we eat and the restaurant/catering business? Will there be a point where everything gets back to normal or will playing a video game on their mobile now be the closest some people get to eating out?
GR: Good question, I think once we become vaccinated and start to return to normal we’re all going to want to go out, we saw it after the last lockdown. It’s been tough for all of us in the restaurant business and I hope the public will come back to support us because our teams miss it as well. So hopefully in a year’s time you’ll be playing Gordon Ramsay: Chef Blast in your Uber as you head out to have an amazing night out with friends at Lucky Cat.
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