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Gordon Ramsay on Super Bowl premiere, mishaps


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Gordon Ramsay’s “Next Level Chef” is moving up for season 2.

The multi-floor reality cooking show’s 90-minute season premiere receives a mega-boost following Fox’s Super Bowl LVII (Sunday, approximately 10:30 PST/7:30 PST). 

“It’s a big deal,” says Ramsay, 56, whose team of up-and-coming chefs battles to stay on the “Next Level” top floor – and out of the basement – against those fielded by chef mentors Nyesha Arrington and Richard Blais.

“Next Level Chef” moves to its regular Thursday slot (8  EST/PST) next week. But the Super Bowl Sunday premiere is fitting, with former NFL cornerback Mark MacMillian, who played for both the Kansas City Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles, vying as a “Next Level” aspiring chef contestant.

“Hell’s Kitchen” and “MasterChef” star Ramsay, who has traveled the world in his NatGeo docuseries “Uncharted,” discusses pan fires and cutting down on his infamous profanity.

Don’t fumble in ‘Next Level’ scrum

On “Next Level Chef,” teams fight to stay on the top level with the superior cooking tools, and avoid the mid-level and gnarly basement,  featuring blunt knives and decrepit equipment. Top-floor contestants also earn first dibs for the ingredients, delivered to each level by dumbwaiter.

“There’s that moment of panic where they’ve got literally 30 seconds to grab ingredients, so it gets very robust and football-like in there,” says Ramsay.

The dumbwaiter is picked over before hitting the bottom level. In “last season’s Episode 9, the dumbwaiter was so sparse at the basement. All that was left was basically powdered mashed potatoes and canned tomatoes. We were screwed,” says Ramsay. “But I was blown away when one of my chefs made amazing powdered-smashed gnocchi.”

‘Next Level’ injuries, and how Ramsay handled pan flames

In the season opener, one chef slices his finger while dicing, and there’s a blazing pan fire which Ramsay doused after taking the handle with his “Teflon hands.”

“I got a little burn. That’s part of being a prolific chef, I have burn marks from 20 years ago. I have no eyebrows, they’re always singed,” says Ramsay, who says inexperienced chefs sometimes blow on fire. “That’s the worst thing to do, give the fire oxygen. So I just calmly step in, pick up the pan and keep everybody safe.”

Ramsay is less fiery, stops TV swearing

Famed for his frequent swearing and caustic manner, the Simon Cowell of TV chefs is calmer and has a family-friendly vocabulary on his newest Fox show. 

“I can’t afford to lose it,” says Ramsay.  “With ‘Hell’s Kitchen’-level professionals, I can lose (it) because they should know better. But it’s different when you’ve got a social-media chef used to GoPro filming in an apartment. You have to be smart.”

But the spirit is there even if the swears aren’t.

“I’m competitive and don’t like losing. I’ve come very close,” says Ramsay, who adds that in this season’s semifinal, he melts down after a “colossal” mistake. “That will either need bleeps or subtitles to understand. It was frantic.”

The Richard Blais hair trash talk will continue

Ramsay promises to continue teasing the big-haired Blais, whose fan-beloved flip-over hairstyle is even more pronounced this season.

“Richard and I are on each other’s case, trust me. The good news is that he’s continued to grow it. It’s like 12 inches now on the top, as opposed to six,” says Ramsay, who insists he doesn’t touch his own spiked hair. “I wake up, go with what it looks like and get on with it.”

Gordon Ramsay: Ralph Fiennes Oscar- snubbed for ‘The Menu’ chef role

Ramsay advised Bradley Cooper for his role as a Michelin-caliber chef in 2015’s “Burnt,” but didn’t assist Ralph Fiennes for the English actor’s critically lauded role as a disturbed master chef in “The Menu.”

Ramsay loved Fiennes’ performance in the “cracking” food horror film. “He really captured the mental challenge chefs have,” he says, adding he was “annoyed” Fiennes did not receive an Oscar nomination. “He certainly should have been for such a brilliant performance.”

Ramsay was petrified of Adele-forced Vegas singing

Ramsay is still dealing with Adele aftershocks after catching the British songstress’ Las Vegas residency in November. He Instagram-posted the surprisingly stressful moment the “Hello” singer approached him mid-song and planted a kiss on his cheek.

“The production values and acoustics were off the charts. I was worried, for her, that she was going to drop the microphone in front of my mouth and ask me to sing.” says Ramsay. “So when we held hands and she kissed me, I thought, ‘Thank God!’ “

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