I planned to beat the Saturday crowds at Borough Market and went Friday afternoon for lunch. Hungry upon arrival I went straight to Roast for a pork belly sandwich with apple sauce. My guilt took over with too many indulgences this week and at the counter I switched my order to a hand-carved roast turkey sandwich. There was a crowd beginning to form just in front of the sandwich cart and I asked around to see what was going on.
Gordon Ramsay's coming to beat a Guinness World Record! Guinness World Record for what? Salmon deboning and slicing. Intrigued, I joined the crowd and waited for the famous chef's arrival. Ramsay's fame in the US catapulted with his TV show Hell's Kitchen. I'm always a bit skeptical of celebrity chefs but Ramsay has been awarded multiple Michelin stars and if he was attempting to beat a Guinness World Record his knife skills must still be in tip-top shape.
Just a few minutes late, Ramsay arrived in a funky leather jacket which he quickly removed and replaced with an apron.
Ramsay was jumping around, full of energy, and it became clear to me that his trademark swearing is just part of his everyday vocabulary. Ramsay went head to head with a fish butcher who holds multiple Guinness World Records for fish butchery.
After one practice round the two shook hands and attempted to beat the World Record.
Experiencing a bit of trouble deboning the salmon, Ramsay fell quickly behind. With all the bones out he started slicing and started to gain on the other gentleman. Unfortunately, the more experienced fish butcher completed the task seconds faster than Ramsay. The judge couldn't determine a winner just yet...the salmon had to be checked for any missed bones and if both parties had met the predetermined number of slices.
Ramsay was one slice short! Bummer! The fish butcher did beat the world record and the segment will air on BBC sometime in November. Ramsay challenged him to another match next year and promised to practice in the meantime.
After a few handshakes and pictures Ramsay disappeared in a whirlwind and I went to explore the market. This was probably my fifth visit since moving to London and there seems to be something new every time. This time I saw a mushroom the size of a basketball...
English Puffball Mushrooms. I think I expressed more excitement with these then when I saw the Crown Jewels.
Just a few paces away, something I've never seen at my local farmers market. Fresh fowl.
I wasn't quite sure if I should attempt the butchering of any of these this time so I moved on to more familiar ground.
Taking a closer look and smell it was clear that the tomatoes were taking their bows. The artichokes on the other hand were back for a second act this year. This is great because for a few moments when I scrape the meaty artichoke leaves against my teeth I'm in California.
UPDATE February 4, 2009
I've just learned that the name of the "fish butcher" who beat Gordon Ramsay is Darren Matson. Congratulations, Darren Matson!