I do has to be perfect, everything I cook has to be
delicious! So, yeah, sometimes I freak out to people
when they don't do the best they can."
born in Scotland Gordon Ramsay did most of his growing
up in England and if you read his autobiography, Humble
Pie, you will find it was not a happy childhood and
he wasn't particularly interested in cooking! In fact
it was football that was his passion.
playing football for Oxford United in an FA youth club
match by a Glasgow Rangers scout he was, after completing
trials, signed by the club as a professional footballer.
But after suffering a serious injury that left him unable
to regain full fitness he was released from the club.
having got enough O levels at school left him with limited
options so with no great ambition he enrolled at catering
college. His first experiences of a professional kitchen
came from a couple of weekend jobs - first as a washer
up in an Indian restaurant and then washing up in a
Banbury hotel. This was when his interest in becoming
a chef started.
was in the kitchen, listening to all the noise, and
I was fascinated. I couldn't believe the way people
were shouting at each other. I was working like a
f . . . ing donkey, but the time used to fly by. I
to public perception it wasn't straight into top restaurants
working with famous chefs! On leaving college he first
worked as a commis chef at the Roxburgh House Hotel
with its pink dining room. After six months he left
for a small Oxfordshire country pub where, as an inexperienced
chef, he was in full charge of the kitchen . . . perhaps
the taster for later ambitions. After a hurried departure,
by his own admission through his own transgressions,
he moved to work in London.
short spells at the Mayfair Hotel and then Maxine de
Paris, Ramsay joined Marco Pierre White in the early
days of Harvey's in Wandsworth where he worked from
1989 to 1991. After a couple of years he moved to Le
Gavroche to work alongside Albert Roux. This was followed
by three years of working in France in the kitchens
of Guy Savoy and Joël Robuchon. Here he was able
to enhance his expertise in classic French cooking.
after three years of working in France, where he started
at the bottom of the pile again, it was time for a break
so Ramsay signed up as personal chef on the private
yacht of an Australian TV mogul.
year later he was back in London as chef of the newly
opened Aubergine, on the former site of La Tante Claire,
proved a huge success and was awarded Michelin stars
in 1995 and 1997. In 1998 Ramsay fell out with Aubergine's
backers and left to establish Gordon Ramsay Restaurant,
the same year as he published his first book 'Passion
for Flavour', followed a year later in 1999 by the publication
of his second book 'Passion for Seafood'.
19 January 2001, Gordon Ramsay Restaurant gained its
third Michelin star. In the same year, it was voted
'Top Restaurant in UK' by the London Zagat survey and
named 'Best Fine Dining Restaurant' in the Harden's
guide. In 2002 and 2003 it was named as one of the five
best restaurants in the world in a poll run by Restaurant
first taste of TV exposure was on Channel Four's controversial
'Boiling Point', a forerunner to 'Hell's Kitchen' which
made him a household name. A third book, 'Chef for all
Seasons', was shortly followed by 'Beyond Boiling Point'
a sequel to Channel 4's original documentary.
1999 with his protégé Marcus Wareing he
opened Petrus, in St James's. Within seven months it
had won a Michelin star. On one memorable occasion six
City brokers splashed out on a good lunch at Petrus,
notching up a bill of £44,000. Ramsay is said
to have thrown the food in for free when the customers
ordered their first bottle of Chateau Petrus at the
astonishing sum of £12,300.
2001 he opened Gordon Ramsay at Claridges, which gained
a Michelin star in 2003.
2002 Gordon Ramsay Holdings Limited took over the food
and drink operation at The Connaught Hotel, a member
of the Savoy Group. In 2004 'Menu' at The Connaught
won its first Michelin star.
in 2003, Gordon Ramsay Holdings opened The Savoy Grill,
which achieved its first Michelin star. The opening
of Boxwood Café at The Berkeley alongside the
new Michelin star Pétrus, which had moved from
St James's, followed this. Finally, Banquette launched
at The Savoy in December 2003.
May 2004, Ramsay headed the series "Ramsay's Kitchen
Nightmares," a series of four one hour programs
where Ramsay attempted to rescue restaurants around
Britain in need of immediate assistance. The series
was launched simultaneously with Ramsay's recipe book
"Gordon Ramsay Kitchen Heaven".
was followed by ITV's "Hell's Kitchen," where
Ramsay was given two weeks to train celebrities into
Michelin-star chefs. During the programmes he gave a
variety of micro-celebrities a memorable tongue-lashing,
notably former Conservative MP Edwina Curry and Coronation
Street actress Amanda Barrie who was actually moved
to hit him after provocation. Ramsey branded the celebrity
chefs a 'bunch of whingers' and complained to the press
that most of the stars "hadn't done a day's work
in their lives".
has also enjoyed huge success in America with the television
show Hell's Kitchen USA. The American public love him
and in 2006 expanded the Ramsay empire to America and
has opened his restaurant in New York.
most recent TV series, launched in 2005, is the F-Word.
Each series has focused on growing your own food. The
first series was Christmas dinner, which included raising
his own turkeys, the second series of The F-Word was
pigs and in the most recent series it was lambs that
had been selected from a farm in North Wales. Another
part of the programme is where a guest cooks a dish
of their own, in competition with Ramsay. Blindfolded
diners judge the dishes and, if the guest wins (as they
did on several occasions), their dish is served at Ramsay's
one notable show Sir Cliff Richard was invited
to take part in a blind tasting on The F Word
when he was asked to sample a glass of wine without
being told it was from his own vineyard.
first one Sir Cliff thought was "amazing".
Ramsay said. "Of course it was, it was
a £400 bottle."
the second went down rather less well.
Cliff said, "That's rubbish. I wouldn't
pay for that, it's tainted, it's insipid. It tastes
like vinaigrette. I'd never buy that."
Ramsay, who likes nothing more than exposing posers
who claim to know about food and wine, it was
music to his ears.
Sir Cliff lent over and beckoned towards Ramsay
with his finger and said, "Young man,
go f*** yourself."
Gordon Ramsay, the great exponent of the F word
appeared stunned to hear it from the lips of a
clean-living Christian knight of the realm whose
idea of controversy is singing to the crowds at
July 2006, Channel 4 announced that it had re-signed
Ramsay to an exclusive four-year deal at the network,
running until July 2011, so there is plenty more TV
Gordon Ramsay at Royal Hospital Road (three Michelin
stars), Mark Askew (executive chef)
at the Berkeley Hotel (two Michelin stars), Marcus
Wareing (executive chef)
Ramsay at Claridge's (one Michelin star), Mark Sargeant
Hartnett at The Connaught (one Michelin star), Angela
Hartnett (executive chef)
Savoy Grill (one Michelin star), Marcus Wareing (chef
at the Savoy Grill, Marcus Wareing (chef patron)
Boxwood Café at the Berkeley Hotel, Stuart
Gillies (executive chef)
Jason Atherton (executive chef)
Noisette (one Michelin star), Bjorn van der Horst
Ramsay at London Heathrow Airport Terminal 5 (opening
Ramsay at The London, New York, Josh Emett (chef de
at the Hilton Dubai Creek, Dubai
Ramsay at Conrad Tokyo, Tokyo, Andy Cook
by Gordon Ramsay, Tokyo
by Angela Hartnett, Florida
Ramsay at The London, West Hollywood (opening 2008)
Warrington (opening late 2007)
what of the future?
regards to Michelin stars: Alain Ducasse has got three
sets of three-starred restaurants, in New York, Monaco
and Paris. So it's definitely possible. That's my
you want to know more then the autobiography Humble
Pie is a great read.
courtesy of Dave Pullig - taken at Taste
of London 2006
To see Dave Pulli's range of photographs <click
order a copy of Humble Pie <click
is a short biography and if you want more information
you can visit Gordon Ramsay's website where you will
find contact details:
Ramsay's web site - www.gordonramsay.com
24 August 2007