Gordon Ramsay clapped back at critics of his thin gravy by saying thick gravy just isn’t good, but some chefs think he’s wrong

Gordon Ramsay

  • Chef Gordon Ramsay said "there's no delicious thick gravy" after receiving criticism on social media for his ultra-thin gravy, adding that "proper" gravy is always thin. 
  • Michelin-starred chef Brad Carter also backed Ramsay, saying that sometimes the best gravy is the thinnest gravy.
  • But not all chefs agree. The way gravy is made varies not only from the US to the UK, but also regionally across America.
  • Food & Wine senior editor Kat Kinsman, who wrote a story for Extra Crispy identifying a dozen different types of gravy in the US alone, told Insider that both thick and thin gravy can be delicious.
  • Good gravy is really about the flavor, not the texture, according to some chefs.
  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

When fans criticized his juice-like gravy, Gordon Ramsay had just one thing to say: Thick gravy simply isn't good. But not every food expert agrees with his controversial stance.

Speaking with Insider's Rachel Askinasi, the celebrity chef defended the thin sauce he served with his Christmas roast dinner, which people on social media compared to "dirty dish water." In response to people who said his gravy looked too liquid-y, Ramsay said they just don't know what a "proper" gravy is.  

"There's no delicious thick gravy anywhere," he told Insider. "So for any muppet out there that says my gravy looks thin, that's because it's a proper gravy."


Some chefs agree with Ramsay that thin gravy is best, but not all of them

Michelin-starred chef Brad Carter told Insider's Anneta Konstantinides that he agrees with Ramsay's assessment of good gravy.

"The best, most full-flavored gravy can sometimes be the thinnest," Carter said. "So I have to go with Gordon on this one, that's the way I'd do it." 

Carter, who runs Carters of Moseley in Birmingham, England, said he believes Ramsay's gravy critics are used to store-bought gravy with thickening agents and that's why they thought the gravy looked strange.

Chef Donatella Arpaia, a Philips' Kitchen Ambassador, agrees with Ramsay and Carter that thin gravy is the best kind.

"The perfect gravy to me is one that is thin, silky, and intense with flavor," Arpaia told Insider. "It should enhance the protein and not overpower it."

But other chefs and food experts make and enjoy various types of gravy, including thick and thin ones. 

"A good cream gravy can swaddle your soul," Kat Kinsman, a senior editor at Food & Wine, told Insider. "But that doesn't negate the pleasures of a thin trickle, bolstered by drippings, barely tinting your roast and spuds."

There are all different types of gravy across the US and UK

In a 2018 article for Extra Crispy, Kinsman identified 12 distinct types of gravy across the US.

At its core, gravy is a combination of fat, liquid, and some sort of thickener, but there's plenty of variation in that basic recipe.

"I can only assume — with all due respect to his experienced palate — that Gordon Ramsay has never experienced the bliss of a putty-thick, sausage-flecked sawmill gravy ladled lavishly over a steaming biscuit," Kinsman told Insider.

Sawmill gravy, according to Kinsman's article, comes from the American South. It's made with flour, milk, and breakfast sausage. Kinsman called it "a biscuit's soulmate."

Sawmill gravy is just one of several US regional gravies that use some combination of flour and milk or cream, ingredients that many British cooks find unnecessary, Business Insider's Erin McDowell previously reported.

Kinsman wrote that cornmeal gravy comes from the Mississippi Delta region. This gravy-making technique comes from Native Americans, who call it "selu'si asusdi." To make it, stir cornmeal, milk, and pan drippings together until it has a grits-like texture. 

Cream gravy comes from Texas, and it's exactly what it sounds like — fat, flour, black pepper, and milk or cream. It's typically served over chicken-fried steak.

Who knew gravy could be so controversial?
Bonnie Jo Mount/The Washington Post/Getty Images

In the Midwest, hamburger gravy is made from thickening leftover hamburger and onion fat with flour and milk.

In the Northeast, Salt Pork and Milk Gravy is made by preserving pork's fattiest bits in salt, soaking them to remove a portion of the salt, and putting them in a pan. The gravy is a combination of milk with the pan drippings.

Ramsay's Turkey Gravy with Cider and Walnuts uses chicken stock and cider — no milk, no flour, and definitely no cream, which explains why it's meant to be thin.

But not all British chefs shy away from flour and dairy in their gravies. Jamie Oliver, another British chef known for starring in "The Naked Chef" and "Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution," has many gravy recipes that use flour and chicken stock.

Ramsay doesn't seem to approve of these recipes either, though, as he told Insider that those who think his gravy is too thin can "f— off to James Oliver's recipe" instead.

Flavor — not thickness — is what makes gravy good, some chefs say

Chef Rocco DiSpirito, the author of Keto Comfort Food Diet, believes good gravy is all about the flavor.

"I've tasted terrible gravies, both thin and thick. I've tasted wonderful gravies, both thin and thick," DiSpirito told Insider. "The goal is to use as much of the primary flavoring source to flavor as little liquid as possible so that the concentration of flavor is as rich as possible."

DiSpirito thinks the gravy's thickness is almost irrelevant; it's the taste that counts. And Kinsman believes that Ramsay's hard line on gravy texture is a mistake.

By limiting his gravy consumption to thin gravy, Kinsman thinks Ramsay is "just cheating himself out of good gravy."

You can read Kinsman's full story about the different types of gravy across the US here »

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