- Michelin-starred chef Josh Emett worked with Gordon Ramsay for nearly 11 years.
- Emett told Insider that the best dish the “MasterChef” star taught him how to make was Tarte Tatin.
- He described the classic French dessert as an “upside-down tart” and called Ramsay’s version “the best I’ve ever done.”
- Emett also revealed what it was like to work with the notoriously hot-headed chef, calling him “a really warm guy.”
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Michelin-starred chef Josh Emett spent nearly 11 years of his accomplished culinary career working for Gordon Ramsay.
But if you ask Emett to name his favorite dish that the “MasterChef” star taught him how to make, the answer comes to him in an instant.
“Tarte Tatin,” the New Zealand chef told Insider. “It’s a French apple tart. Gordon made an exceptional version. It’s quite a technical dish, and hard to perfect. He just did a version that was spot on.”
“I think it’s the best version I’ve ever done, and I’ve made thousands.”
As Emett explains it, the tarte tatin, which can also be made with peaches or pears, is “an upside-down tart.”
“You caramelize and cook it, and then flip it over,” he said. “It’s a classic French dish.”
Tarte tatin’s origins can be traced back to Hotel Tatin, a hotel and restaurant in the French commune of Lamotte-Beuvron, about 100 miles south of Paris.
The hotel was owned by sisters Stephanie and Caroline Tatin in the early 20th century, according to The Telegraph. Legend has it that, one day, Stephanie forgot to add the pastry to an apple tart. Instead of scrapping the entire dish, she popped some pastry on top and put it in the oven. After the tart was done baking, she flipped it upside down and served it to guests. It was a huge hit.
Ramsay actually demonstrated how to make his tarte tatin on an episode of “MasterChef” in June 2019.
“The secret is the pastry and the fruit,” Ramsay told his contestants as he demonstrated within minutes how to build the crust, roll the pastry, create the crème anglaise (a custard with milk, cream, eggs, and sugar), and flip the whole dessert onto a plate.
Ramsay gives helpful tips throughout the clip, advising his contestants to make sure their pastry isn’t rolled too thin and reminding them to pierce the pastry on top or else “you’re going to steam it underneath and it’ll be raw.”
After taking his tarte tatin out of the oven, Ramsay expertly flips it onto a plate, turns off the lights, and flambés the dish as the contestants break into applause.
Emett told Insider that one of the most important things Ramsay taught him — along with the tarte tatin — was his ‘attention to detail’
“If Gordon walks into a room and something doesn’t feel quite right, he’ll just scratch it until he finds out what’s wrong,” Emett said. “The moment something doesn’t look even close to right he’s like, ‘Sort it.'”
When Emett first began working with Ramsay, the future celebrity chef “only had one or two restaurants,” he said. By the time Emett left in 2011 to open his own restaurant in Queensland, New Zealand, Ramsay had 22 restaurants and was becoming a reality-television star.
But while Ramsay is known for having a fierce temper — and a penchant for profanity — Emett said that the “MasterChef” star was an incredible boss.
“He’s a really warm guy,” Emett said. “I really like the guy, always have, and I got on extremely well with him — both professionally and personally.”
“He’s a really interesting character and you don’t do what he’s done over the last 20 years without being a really interesting character,” he said. “He’s absolutely hilarious and hugely committed, he’s got masses of energy, great attention to detail, and he allowed me to run his businesses for him and cook inside his restaurants and develop menus and do all that sort of thing.”
“He’s not the sort of boss that stood over you and said you couldn’t do this and you couldn’t do that,” Emett continued. “He’d give you a platform on which to perform within his umbrella.”
Emett has gone on to become a restaurateur in his own right — with multiple restaurants spread across New Zealand — as well as a judge on “MasterChef New Zealand.”
Emett recently released a new cookbook “The Recipe,” compiling 300 of the most classic recipes from acclaimed chefs around the world. On page 394 in the book, you can find a recipe for an apple tarte tatin with crème Normande made by Michelin-starred chefs Chris and Jeff Galvin, a powerhouse brother duo from the UK.
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