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Review written by Hub-UK

Humble Pie by Gordon RamsayI didn't get around to getting a review copy of Humble Pie when it was first published in hardback but still wanting to read it I have just bought the paperback. I had decided it was too late to write a review so I had bought the book purely for my own interest.

Just before I started reading Humble Pie I had been reading a crime thriller (a top seller) about which the Daily Express wrote "Grips from the first page until the final deeply satisfying sentence". I was reminded of this as I read Humble Pie because I had found the crime thriller less than gripping but Humble Pie . . . I couldn't put it down!

Which is why you now find me writing a review. It is a book well worth reading if you have any interest in those who cook for a living or the culture of the celebrity chef.

I have to confess my early reaction to Gordon Ramsay, when he first started to be seen on TV, was not good. As a result I avoided watching him and read very little about him. The occasional TV trailer or newspaper headline would be sufficient to confirm my snap judgement was right.

With that attitude I would never have read Humble Pie but some time last year I sat down and watched an episode of Kitchen Nightmares. That made me sit up I can tell you. Here was someone who was nothing like my perception and this was good interesting TV, a real change from some of the more bland celebrity chefs that are getting churned out in an attempt to find a new Rick Stein or Keith Floyd.

The strange thing about living in the UK is the way we all snipe at success. We love the star in the ascendancy but once it arrives we all want to put it down and bring it down. Is it jealousy of another's success? Certainly there is plenty of sniping and attacking Gordon Ramsay by the different media and it would be hard to find someone who has not heard of him and doesn't have an opinion to express!

A lot of these opinions are based on the hype that has surrounded him, especially the language. (The way everyone goes on you would think he was the only chef to use bad language!). I have to say I was one of those people with the wrong opinion for which I do not apologise. Instead I blame all those PR people who have hyped Gordon Ramsay as something and someone he isn't.

Read the book and you will see what I mean. Like the rest of us Gordon Ramsay is a human being and it shows throughout the book from start to finish, the love he shows for his mother to the support he has tried to give to his heroin addicted younger brother. Not that he is any mister softy.

To get where he is today Gordon has had to demonstrate a singular determination to succeed and to learn his trade. Would you have given up a top position as a London chef to go to France and start at the bottom again so that you could gain further experience and learn more? Not me! I would have been too stubborn and proud. Yet Gordon Ramsay did exactly this. Having been Sous Chef to Marco Pierre White, when his restaurant was leading the way in London, he gave it all up to start in Paris as a Commis Chef . . . taking all the shit arrogant French chefs could throw his way in pursuit of excellence.

Gordon Ramsay deserves all the success he has achieved. He has served his time and worked for it, and along the way he has gone through a lot of personal grief to get there, all of which is included in Humble Pie.

Someone to admire and respect. One of life's achievers. Don't believe me? Well read the f***ing book then!

Photographs courtesy of Dave Pullig - taken at Taste of London 2006
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This is the correct spelling of Gordon Ramsay and not as many people spell it, Gordon Ramsey.

Published 28 June 2007

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