Australian prime minister Kevin Rudd has criticised TV chef Gordon Ramsay for calling a journalist a ‘lesbian pig’.

Rudd dubbed the fiery chef a “lowlife” over the allegedly homophobic comments he made while giving a demonstration at a food show in Melbourne on Saturday.

Ramsay reportedly told his audience that current affairs presenter Tracy Grimshaw, who had interviewed him on Friday evening, was “a lesbian” and “an ugly old pig”.

The prime minister said: “All I could describe his remarks as reflecting is a new form of lowlife. I just think that’s off, and offensive. Good on Grimshaw for coming out and giving him a left upper cut.”

The “upper cut” he referred to yesterday was Grimshaw’s response to Ramsay on her prime time show A Current Affair, in which she said “I’m not going to let some arrogant narcissist bully me.”

Grimshaw, who has said she is not gay, continued: “We’ve all seen how Gordon Ramsay treats his wife and he supposedly loves her.”

Ramsay has now denied that he called the journalist a lesbian, telling reporters he was “deeply mortified” that his comment had been “blown out of context”.

“Things have been over-exaggerated – I never ever once used the word lesbian. I’m very sorry now that Tracy decides to attack my wife,” he said.

Despite defending himself, the chef then said his “response is to stay silent” before continuing his attack saying: “It’s obvious that she’s done it for ratings.”

He added: “The tapes are there, they’re being scrutinised by the lawyers. I never once said the word lesbian, I was having a tongue-in-cheek joke – it was not at her expense.”

At the cookery demonstration, he showed a doctored picture of a naked woman with a pig’s face and multiple breasts and remarked: “That’s Tracy Grimshaw.” He added that she should visit Simon Cowell’s Botox doctor.

Grimshaw has thanked viewers who have sent messages supporting her in the wake of Ramsay’s comments.

In 2007, Ramsay was came in at number 50 in a poll to find the most popular gay icon.