Belfast Telegraph

Gordon Ramsay and Gino D’Acampo ditch turkey for Christmas feast battle

The chefs will lead two teams of celebrity cooks in preparing a banquet for emergency services heroes.

TV chefs Gordon Ramsay and Gino D’Acampo will ditch the Christmas turkey as they go head-to-head to create the perfect festive feast.

They will each pick a team of celebrity cooks out of a line-up including the likes of rapper Professor Green, singers Geri Horner and Martine McCutcheon, news presenter Kay Burley, Emmerdale actor Chris Bisson and Gavin & Stacey’s Larry Lamb, to prepare a banquet for UK public and emergency services heroes who have risked their lives for others this year.

Overseeing the contest – airing on ITV on Thursday – will be First Dates maitre d’hotel Fred Sirieix.

But the two chefs are breaking with tradition as they base their menus, to be served up at London’s Merchant Taylor Hall, on their home roots.

The Hell’s Kitchen star, who is planning a menu of roasted scallops, followed by fillet of beef with truffle macaroni and a dessert of Christmas pudding souffles, said: “There is a reason why we eat that bird once a year.

“It’s not the kind of thing we want for this banquet.”

D’Acampo, who will pay tribute to his Italian heritage with fish and Brussels sprout cooked in garlic and chilli, said: “I hate turkey so I’ve banned it from the banquet.

“I think it is bland, boring and overrated. It’s something you don’t eat all year round, so why eat it on Christmas day?”

But while they agree over the traditional turkey, the pair are already baring their culinary claws against one another.

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House of Fraser BAFTA TV Awards 2016 – Arrivals – London

Promising he will be “highly competitive”, Ramsay said: “It’s like a football game – when the whistle blows, that’s it.

“This is my one moment to put Gino in his place. I’ve cooked more of these banquets than Gino has cooked hot dinners – Nelson Mandela’s 90th birthday and cooking for royals.

“Gino is a one-man band with his pots and pans and rucksack. I know he’s shivering and coming out in cold sweats.”

But the notoriously tough boss has promised a kinder approach to his team of chefs.

“Kitchens are tough, hard environments and the first thing I will do before we start is get everyone on prosecco – getting them relaxed and a bit tipsy,” he said.

D’Acampo hit back: “Italian food is the most loved in the world, the tastiest and it looks good, so I don’t think it will be that difficult to win over Gordon.

“Gordon will go for English classics. I will do it with a smile and kill him with a smile.”

An expert at supervising blind dates on television, Sirieix admitted that he will have his work cut out mediating the two chefs.

“I’ve got to stay on my toes and will use diplomatic skills,” he said.

“I will need to be a referee and a player. They are both strong characters and I’ve still not worked out how I will be yet, but I will work it out in the moment.”

:: Gordon, Gino and Fred’s Great Christmas Roast will air on ITV at 9pm on Thursday.

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