Gordon Ramsay (born November 8, 1966) is a British chef, television personality and restaurateur. He has been awarded a total of 16 Michelin Stars, and in 2011, became one of only three chefs in the United Kingdom to hold three Michelin stars at one time. Ramsay ranks in terms of Michelin Stars behind Joël Robuchon and Alain Ducasse. Ramsay is known for presenting TV programs about competitive cookery and food, such as Hell's Kitchen, The F Word and Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares, along with MasterChef USA, Hotel Hell, and his newest program, Gordon Ramsay's 24 Hours to Hell and Back.
Ramsay was born in Scotland, and raised in Stratford-upon-Avon, England from the age of 5. Ramsay's father was, at various times, a swimming pool manager, a welder, and a shopkeeper, and his mother and sister were nurses. Ramsay has described his early life as "hopelessly itinerant", as his family moved constantly due to the aspirations and failures of his father. In 1976, they finally settled in Stratford-upon-Avon where he grew up in the Bishopton area of the town. In past public interviews, Ramsay has declined to describe his father as an alcoholic; however, his autobiography, Humble Pie, describes his early life as being marked by abuse and neglect from this "hard-drinking womanizer". At the age of 16, Ramsay moved out of the family house into a flat in Banbury.
After weighing his options, without enough O levels to join either the Royal Navy or the police force, Ramsay enrolled at North Oxfordshire Technical College, sponsored by the Rotarians, to study Hotel Management. He describes his decision to enter catering college as "an accident, a complete accident". In the late 1980s, he worked as a commis chef at the Wroxton House Hotel, then ran the kitchen and 60-seat dining room at the Wickham Arms, until his relationship with the owner's wife made the situation difficult. Ramsay then moved to London, where he worked in a series of restaurants until being inspired to work for the temperamental Marco Pierre White at Harveys. After working at Harveys for two years and ten months, Ramsay, tired of "the rages and the bullying and violence", decided that the way to further advance his career was to study French cuisine. White discouraged Ramsay from taking a job in Paris, instead encouraging him to work for Albert Roux at Le Gavroche in Mayfair. (While at Le Gavroche, he met Jean-Claude Breton, now his maître d' at Royal Hospital Road.) After working at Le Gavroche for a year, Albert Roux invited Ramsay to work with him at Hotel Diva, a ski resort in the French Alps, as his number two. From there, Ramsay moved to Paris to work with Guy Savoy and Joël Robuchon, both Michelin-starred chefs. He continued his training in France for three years, before giving in to the physical and mental stress of the kitchens and taking a year to work as a personal chef on the private yacht Idlewild, based in Bermuda.
Upon his return to London in 1993, Ramsay was offered the position of head chef at La Tante Claire in Chelsea. Shortly thereafter, Marco White re-entered his life, offering to set him up with a head chef position and 10% share in the Rossmore, owned by White's business partners. The restaurant was renamed Aubergine and went on to win its first Michelin star fourteen months later. In 1997, Aubergine won its second Michelin star. Despite the restaurant's success, a dispute with Ramsay's business owners and Ramsay's dream of running his own restaurant led to his leaving the partnership in 1997. In 1998, Ramsay opened his own restaurant in Chelsea, Gordon Ramsay at Royal Hospital Road, with the help of his father-in-law, Chris Hutcheson. The restaurant gained its third Michelin star in 2001, making Ramsay the first Scotsman to achieve that feat. From his first restaurant, Ramsay's empire has expanded rapidly, first opening Petrus, where six bankers famously spent over £44,000 on wine during a single meal in 2001, then Amaryllis in Glasgow (which he was later forced to close) and later Gordon Ramsay at Claridge's. Restaurants at the Dubai Creek and Connaught Hotels followed, the latter branded with his protégée, Angela Hartnett's, name. Ramsay has now begun opening restaurants outside the UK, beginning with Verre in Dubai. Gordon Ramsay at Conrad Tokyo and Cerise by Gordon Ramsay both opened in Tokyo in 2005, and in November, 2006, Gordon Ramsay at the London opened in New York City, winning top newcomer in the city’s coveted Zagat guide, despite mixed reviews from professional critics.
In 2007, Ramsay opened his first Irish restaurant, Gordon Ramsay at Powerscourt, at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Powerscourt, Co. Wicklow, Ireland. In May 2008 Ramsay opened his first U.S. west coast restaurant, in Los Angeles, California. Situated in the former Bel-Age hotel on the Sunset Strip in West Hollywood, the hotel has been renovated and renamed The London West Hollywood. The restaurant is called Boxwood. Many episodes of Ramsay's U.S. series Hell's Kitchen are recorded in southern California, which has generated increased media attention for Ramsay. In 2010, Ramsay is expected to preside over the Savoy Grill at the newly re-opened Savoy Hotel.
The best way to describe Gordon Ramsay is to separate him from the kitchen and his public life. Chef Ramsay is a strict perfectionist with a short temper and will always get frustrated and swear when the chefs make mistakes like; serving raw food, not communicating properly, or even talking back to him. He does care for chefs who try, as he expects the best out of every chef he works with. He is also prone to making one-liners, would compare terribly served food to something else, and even customers when they try to confront him. However, there are the rarest occasions where he gives praise to a chef and will let them know that they are doing well. Despite all of his criticisms and insults, they are mostly used to find out which chef has the potential in being his new head chef, and he admits that none of the criticisms and insults he gave out were too personal.
With Ramsay in his public life, he is more approachable, calmer, and even more supportive of the chefs outside of Hell's Kitchen which makes a few of them surprised when he comes with them on rewards. He also cares a lot about his family, refusing to swear in front of his own mother, and inviting his wife and kids whenever Hell's Kitchen does Family Night services.
Ramsay is one of only three chefs in the UK to maintain three Michelin Stars for his restaurant (the others being Heston Blumenthal and Alain Roux). He was appointed OBE in the 2006 honours list "for services to the hospitality industry". In July 2006, Ramsay won the Catey award for "Independent Restaurateur of the Year", becoming only the third person to have won three Catey awards, the biggest awards of the UK hospitality industry. Ramsay's two previous Catey awards were in 1995 (Newcomer of the Year) and 2000 (Chef of the Year). The other two triple-winners are Michel Roux and Andrew and Jacquie Pern. In September 2006, he was named as the most influential person in the UK hospitality industry in the annual Caterersearch 100 list, published by Caterer and Hotelkeeper magazine. He overtook Jamie Oliver, who had been top of the list in 2005. Also in 2006, Ramsay was nominated as a candidate for Rector at the University of St Andrews, but was beaten at the polls by Simon Pepper. Despite a publicity campaign, Ramsay never visited St Andrews and did not appear in press interviews. Ramsay's flagship restaurant, Restaurant Gordon Ramsay, was voted London's top restaurant in food bible Harden's for eight years, but in 2008 was placed below Petrus, a restaurant run by former protégé Marcus Wareing.
Ramsay's first foray in television was in two fly-on-the-kitchen-wall documentaries: Boiling Point (1998) and Beyond Boiling Point (2000). Ramsay appeared on series three of Faking It in 2001 helping the prospective chef, a burger flipper named Ed Devlin, learn the trade. This episode won the 2001 BAFTA for "Best Factual TV Moment".
In 2004, Ramsay appeared in two British television series. Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares aired on Channel 4 and saw the chef troubleshooting failing restaurants over a one week period. This series ran its fifth season in 2007. Hell's Kitchen was a reality show which aired on ITV1, and saw Ramsay attempt to train ten British celebrities to be chefs as they ran a restaurant on Brick Lane which opened to the public for the two-week duration of the show.
In May 2005, the FOX network introduced Ramsay to American audiences in a U.S. version of Hell's Kitchen produced by Granada Entertainment and A. Smith & Co. The show follows a similar premise as the original British series, showcasing Ramsay's perfectionism and infamous short temper. The show proved to be popular enough with audiences in the United States that, in August 2005, shortly following the Season 1 finale, Hell's Kitchen was picked up for a second season. The show started its 18th season last fall and has been renewed for 3 more seasons. In addition, Ramsay had also hosted a US version of Kitchen Nightmares that ran on FOX from September 19, 2007 to September 12, 2014, Hotel Hell from August 13, 2012 to July 26, 2016, and The F Word from May 31, 2017 to August 16, 2017. He also acts as host and judge for the U.S. version of MasterChef since July 27, 2010, and MasterChef Junior since September 27, 2013.
His newest shows, Gordon Ramsay's 24 Hours to Hell and Back, premiered on June 13, 2018, in which Gordon attempts to help and revamp restaurants within a 24-hour deadline and Gordon Ramsay's Uncharted that is on National Geographic in which he heads around the world and explores how the locals live and usually has to cook for someone(s) important.
Ramsay also has over 15 million subscribers on YouTube, over 8 million followers on Facebook, over 7 million followers on Twitter, and over 6 million followers on Instagram.
In September 2005, Ramsay, along with Jamie Oliver, Heston Blumenthal, Wolfgang Puck and Sanjeev Kapoor, were featured in CNN International's Quest, in which Richard Quest stepped into the shoes of celebrity chefs.
In 2006, Ramsay took part in a television series for ITV1, following the lead-up to Soccer Aid, a celebrity charity football match, in which he played only the first half, nursing an injury picked up in training. Ramsay captained the Rest of the World XI against an England XI captained by Robbie Williams. However, his involvement was limited after he received a four-inch cut in his calf.
During his second Top Gear appearance, Ramsay stated that his current cars are a Ferrari F430 and a Range Rover Sport Supercharged, the latter replacing the Bentley Continental GT he owned before. On May 14, 2006, he appeared on Top Gear in the "Star in a Reasonably-Priced Car" segment. Ramsay held the top spot on Top Gear's celebrity leader board, with a lap time of 1.46.38 until overtaken by Simon Cowell.
Ramsay starred in part of a National Blood Service "Give Blood" television advertisement, in which he said that he would have died from a ruptured spleen had it not have been for another person's blood donation. On October 13, 2006, he was guest host on the first episode of Have I Got News for You's 32nd series. On December 27, 2007 Ramsay appeared in the Extras Christmas special.
In January 2008, Ramsay also guest featured on Channel 4's Big Brother: Celebrity Hijack as the Big Brother housemates took part in his Cookalong Live television show. Gordon spoke directly to the Big Brother House via the house plasma screens, regularly checking on the progress of the contestants.
- When Kitchen Nightmares first aired Gordon Ramsey had 3 Michelin Stars.
- Gordon has only ever turned down one restaurant mid-filming, because he genuinely believed he could not help them.
- Gordon has enjoyed only 6 dishes on Kitchen Nightmares.
- He killed Chef Mike throwing him from a third story window.
- He claims the most bizarre food he encountered filming Kitchen Nightmares was microwavable lamb shank.