Gordon Ramsay Made One Of The Best Dishes Anthony Bourdain Ever Ate

If asked about the most famously tough-to-impress chefs in culinary history, you'll likely name Gordon Ramsay and Anthony Bourdain. One is famous for his acerbic witticisms and cutting evaluations, the other famous for his fearsome talent and abrasion — and even then, it can be tough to determine which description is meant to fit which chef. Still, if there's one thing that could get these chefs to drop their guard, it's a good meal. As Bourdain wrote in his cookbook, "Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly," "For a moment, or a second, the pinched expressions of the cynical, world-weary, throat-cutting, miserable bastards we've all had to become disappears when we're confronted with something as simple as a plate of food." It's fitting then that Ramsay served Bourdain one of the best dishes he ever ate.

Bourdain was in the U.K. filming an episode of his first series, "A Cook's Tour," and the trip wouldn't have been complete without sitting down for a meal at, as Bourdain aptly calls it, "the terrifying, the awesome, Gordon Ramsay's restaurant." The meal began with a ham hock tureen over celery root and a chilled consommé with caviar. (Quoth Bourdain, "Superb.") Course two was lobster ravioli over baby pea purée with truffles, white asparagus, and lobster vinaigrette. ("You're doing God's work.") But, the main course — shin of beef — was what really drove the meal home. Bourdain's reaction? "This is one of the best things I've eaten. Ever."

A tough cut for a tough cook

Beef shin is a muscular, ultra-tough cut of meat on the cow's leg, and as such, it requires a super-long cook time to achieve tenderness. But, the payoff is well worth it. As the shin cooks and its connective tissues break down, they tenderize the meat, creating an even richer flavor and adding viscosity to the cooking sauce. When Ramsay prepared it for Bourdain, the beef shin was braised in the oven with red wine and mirepoix for three and a half to four hours, then served on a bed of new Caesar spinach with grated black truffles. To top it all off, the whole thing was garnished with a slab of seared foie gras. Ramsay knew he was on to something special with the beef shin, too. "Stunning," he quipped in the episode. "That should stuff him."

Bourdain and Gordon enjoyed a years-long friendship and respected one another's accomplishments in food. So, it was no surprise to see that Gordon honored Bourdain with an emotional Instagram tribute after his 2018 passing. It read, "Stunned and saddened by the loss of Anthony Bourdain. He brought the world into our homes and inspired so many people to explore cultures and cities through their food."