by Alexander Lawrie
SCOTTISH chef who won the heart of Gordon Ramsay has been offered work in any of his restaurants around the world.
India Innes, who appeared on this week’s episode of Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares, impressed the foul-mouthed chef so much he has asked her to take her pick from his list of top class restaurants.
The 23-year-old also seems to have tamed Ramsay’s well-known fiery temper as she describes him as a pussycat.
India, who is originally from Edinburgh, was working in the Parisian eatery Piccolo Tiatro while Ramsay tried to turn the fortunes of the ailing business.
Owned by a friend of India’s, Rachel McNally, the daughter of well-known restaurateur Brian McNally, the vegetarian outlet was so badly run customers were almost non-existent and the lackadaisical Brazilian chef was fired almost immediately.
India was then called in to save the day and her and Ramsay worked tirelessly to turn it around, but soon after his departure the manager’s bad habits returned and it wasn’t long before the restaurant was closed down and India found herself out of a job.
She said: “Unfortunately, Rachel was an absolute nightmare to work with. I moved over there to run the kitchen but it didn’t work out so I came back home to Scotland.
“It actually got so bad there that one night I left my jacket in the cellar and in the morning it had been eaten by rats. That was it for me.
“A couple of weeks later Gordon phoned me to ask what went wrong. I told him the whole story and he persuaded me to fly back to Paris to finish the filming.
“Then he said, ‘I’ve got a surprise waiting for you when you get here’.
“He told me to remember to bring my whites, which gave me a huge clue as to what was going on.”
When filming was complete India flew to London to meet the team of chefs at the Ramsay-owned restaurant at Claridge’s.
She impressed so much she has been invited to work for an initial two-week period in January at the Boxwood Cafe, which is situated at the famous Berkeley Hotel, in London’s Knightsbridge.
India, who is currently working at Edinburgh restaurant Shaw’s, said: “I’m so excited to have this opportunity. To work in London and Paris is every chef’s dream, so I’m going to make the most of it.
“I try and take all the best bits from the chefs I meet and, hopefully, then become a great one myself.
“Gordon has said to me he has restaurants all over the world and I can take my pick, so it’s absolutely amazing for me personally, and for my career as a chef.
“I think the reason we hit it off so well was I’m the same age he was when he went to Paris for the first time.
“And, of course, we’re both Scottish. Which might have helped a bit.
“He’s such a lovely man. The aggressive TV image he has is just a front. He’s a pussy cat really.”
Owner of Shaw’s, Gordon Wilson, 46, said: “We’re so proud to have India as part of our team. She’s a joy to work with.
“I’m a friend of her parents and knew she was a chef, but I didn’t realise how good she actually was and had no idea about the Ramsay stuff until after she started here.
“We got her in on a bit of trial to see how things went, but within a couple of hours I knew she was perfect for the job. She’s a natural in the kitchen.
“No matter what happens with the Ramsay thing she’ll always have a job here if she wants it.”
In the programme, Ramsay said meeting India was the highlight of his stint filming in Paris.
He said: “When I left, the place had huge potential, a great new menu and a talented young chef in the kitchen. There is no way that I am going to let her forget her dream. She has a great future ahead of her.”