Hell's Kitchen Host
Gordon James Ramsay|
8 November 1966
Johnstone, Renfrewshire, Scotland
|Occupation||Chef, restaurateur, author, television presenter|
|Education||North Oxfordshire Technical College|
|Years active||1980s-present (as a chef)|
Gordon James Ramsay, OBE is a British chef, restaurateur, author and television personality. Gordon has been the presenter and mentor in Hell's Kitchen UK in 2004 and every series of Hell's Kitchen USA from 2005-present.
Gordon Ramsay has appeared in the first season of the British version of Hell's Kitchen and every season of the American version. Ramsay acts as a mentor to a group of chefs who aspire to win the money grand prize and a position as Head Chef at a a well known, fine dining restaurant. Ramsay became well known for his perfectionist approach to cooking and his volatile temper which was highlighted during the American version as all of the contestants were already experienced chefs, whereas, in the British version, the celebrities did not always have much cooking ability.
Hell's Kitchen originated in the UK in 2004, created as well as hosted and mentored by Chef Ramsay. The first season recruited British celebrites as contestants, rather than apllicants from the general public. Gordon Ramsay decided it was unacceptable to carry on fronting the UK show after the first series owing to an exclusive contract he had since signed with Channel 4, preventing him from appearing on the ITV-produced show. Hell's Kitchen was then hosted by several other notable chefs from then on.
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 followed an almost identical format to that of the British version, but the contestants were chefs with experience in the cooking industry, rather than celebrities. 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 is currently in its eighth season.
The series showcased Ramsay's culinary perfectionism and infamous short temper. Audiences would frequently see him swearing a number of times at the chefs when they failed to do a satisfactory job during a dinner service. He would often throw inadequate food in the bin, break plates, smash up bad food with his own hands, kick bins and kick chefs out of the kitchen for the rest of dinner service. After a dinner service, Chef Ramsay would ask a losing team or team member to put forward at least two chefs to be eliminated. During an elimination, Ramsay would ask for the named chefs to step forward and explain why they deserve to stay. After deciding which chef would leave, Chef Ramsay would ask them "to take off [your] jacket, and leave Hell's Kitchen".
Ramsay was born in Johnstone, 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
Gordon Ramsay is best known as a famous British chef, but was an aspiring footballer before he entered the food industry.
Ramsay played football and was first chosen to play under-14 football at age 12. He was chosen to play for Warwickshire. His football career was marked by a number of injuries, causing him to remark later in life, "Perhaps I was doomed when it came to football". In mid-1984, Ramsay had a trial with Rangers, the club he supported as a boy. He seriously injured his knee, smashing the cartilage during training. Ramsay continued to train and play on the injured knee, tearing a cruciate ligament during a squash game. He never fully recovered from the double injury.
Ramsay played two first-team games for Rangers and was signed by the club at the age of 15. He was also scouted by Rangers when playing for Oxford United in the FA Youth Cup. Ramsay played for Oxford United in two non-league matches as a trialist.
As seen during the 12th episode of Season 4 of The F Word in 2008, Gordon visited his old stomping grounds at Ibrox, the home playing field of his favourite childhood team, Rangers, and exclaimed, "Home, Sweet Home". He said, "My dream came true when I was spotted in the mid-80s and I joined the youth team here in Ibrox." He related that one of his fondest memories is playing alongside one of Scotland's football legends, Ally McCoist, who said about Ramsay, "I remember him well and the one thing that never ever will change is that he's a competitive so-and-so and wants to do and be the best that he can." Ramsay recalled that, "the pain of being released on the back of an injury" was only assuaged many years later, "after receiving [his] third Michelin Star", and concluded that, "without the upset at Ibrox, I would not be the chef I am today."
By this time, Ramsay's interest in cooking had already begun, and rather than be known as "the football player with the gammy knee", at age 19, Ramsay paid more serious attention to his culinary education. After weighing his options, 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. The relationship remains unclear. 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|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 re-named The London West Hollywood. Gordon Ramsay is expected to preside over the Savoy Grill of the Savoy Hotel in London once renovations are complete in late 2010. A position of Head Chef at the Savoy Grill was the ultimate prize for the winner of Hell's Kitchen USA 8.
Since 1996, Ramsay has written 20 books. Ramsay also contributes a food-and-drink column to The Times' Saturday magazine.
- Gordon Ramsay’s Passion For Flavour (1996)
- Gordon Ramsay’s Passion For Seafood (1999)
- Gordon Ramsay A Chef For All Seasons (2000)
- Gordon Ramsay’s Just Desserts (2001)
- Gordon Ramsay’s Secrets (2003)
- Gordon Ramsay’s Kitchen Heaven (2004)
- Gordon Ramsay Makes It Easy (2005)
- Gordon Ramsay Easy All Year Round (2006)
- Gordon Ramsay's Sunday Lunch and other recipes from the F word (2006)
- Humble Pie (2006) (Autobiography)
- Roasting in Hell's Kitchen (2006) (US title for Humble Pie)
- Gordon Ramsay's Fast Food Recipes from the F Word (2007)
- Playing With Fire (2007) (Follow up to Autobiography)
- Recipes From a 3 Star Chef (2007)
- Gordon Ramsay's Three Star Chef (2008)
- Gordon Ramsay's Fast Food (2008)
- Gordon Ramsay's Healthy Appetite (2008)
- Cooking for Friends: Food from My Table (2008)
- Gordon Ramsay's On Top of The World (2009)
- Gordon Ramsay's World Kitchen: Recipes from "The F Word" (2009)
- Ramsay's Best Menus (2010)
Master Chefs Series
- Pasta Sauces (1996)
- Fish And Shellfish (1997)
- Hot Dinners (2006)
- Cool Sweets (2006)
Ramsay's first foray in television was in two fly-on-the-kitchen-wall documentaries: Boiling Point in 1998 and Beyond Boiling Point in 2000.
Ramsay appeared on series three of Faking It in 2001 helping the prospective chef, a burger flipper named Ed Devlin, learn the trade.
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. (See above).
In addition, Ramsay had also hosted a US version of Kitchen Nightmares which premiered on FOX 19 September 2007. The show's second season aired from September, 2008 to January, 2009; in September, 2008, Fox announced that Kitchen Nightmares would return for a third season which aired from January 2010 to May 2010.
His most recent series is a food-based magazine programme titled The F-Word; it launched on Channel 4 on 27 October 2005. The show is organised around several key, recurring features, notably a brigade competition, a guest cook competition, a food related investigative report and a series-long project of raising animals to be served in the finale. The guest cook (usually a celebrity) prepares a dish of their own choosing and places it in competition against a similar dish submitted by Ramsay. The dishes are judged by diners who are unaware of who cooked which dish and, if the guest wins (as they have on numerous occasions), their dish is served at Ramsay's restaurant. Each series also features a series-long project of raising animals to be used as the main course in the series finale. In the first series of The F-Word, Ramsay mockingly named the turkeys he raised: Antony, Ainsley, Jamie, Delia, Gary and Nigella – all in reference to other famous celebrity chefs. During the second series, Ramsay named the two pigs that he was raising after Trinny Woodall and Susannah Constantine who found the naming highly amusing. In July 2006, Channel 4 announced that it had re-signed Ramsay to an exclusive four-year deal at the network, running until July 2011. During the third series, Ramsay reared lambs that had been selected from a farm in North Wales and he named them after two Welsh celebrities, Charlotte Church and Gavin Henson. The series became one of the highest rated shows aired on Channel 4 each week.
During one episode of The F-Word, Ramsay cooked in Doncaster Prison in Marshgate for its inmates. He was so impressed by the speed at which a prisoner, Kieron Tarff, chopped vegetables that he offered him a job at his restaurant following his release in 2007.
On 25 March 2008, according to Australian newspaper The Herald Sun, Ramsay was announced to have started a reality TV show about building a restaurant in Crown Casino Melbourne, Australia.
In September 2009, it was reported that Ramsay is set to star in his own animation series, Gordon Ramsay, at Your Service after reaching a deal with Cuppa Coffee Studios.
In 2010, Ramsay served as a producer and judge on the U.S version of MasterChef.
All of Ramsay's business interests (restaurants, media, consultancy) are held in the company Gordon Ramsay Holdings Limited. Run in partnership with his father-in-law Chris Hutcheson, Ramsay owns a 69% stake valued at £67m.
Whereas previous ventures acted as a combined consultant/brand, in November 2006 Ramsay announced plans to create three restaurants in the United States in partnership with private equity firm Blackstone Group, who are refurbishing each of the chosen hotels into five star locations at a cost of £100m per hotel. At an investment of £3m per restaurant for the 10-year lease, all the restaurants offer the chef’s trademark modern European cuisine, and opened in 2006/2007 at:
- Gordon Ramsay at the London Hotel in Manhattan, New York, October 2006
- Gordon Ramsay at the Cielo in Boca Raton, Florida
- Gordon Ramsay at the London Hotel in West Hollywood, California
In late 2006 Gordon Ramsay Holdings purchased three London pubs which he converted into gastropubs. These are: The Narrow in Limehouse, which opened in March 2007, the Devonshire in Chiswick, which opened in October of that year and The Warrington in Maida Vale, which opened in February 2008.
Ramsay acts as a consultant to numerous catering organizations, and was recruited by Singapore Airlines as one of its "International Culinary Panel" consultants.
In May 2008 it was confirmed that Ramsay's protégé of 15 years, Marcus Wareing was going solo having opened and operated Pétrus at The Berkeley Hotel on behalf of Gordon Ramsay Holdings since 2003. With the name Pétrus owned by Gordon Ramsay Holdings, industry sources suggested it was likely to transfer to another restaurant in the group with the former La Noisette site identified as the most likely.
As of June 2009, Gordon Ramsay Holdings is reported to be in severe financial difficulty after a financial audit by accounting firm KPMG.
In April 2010, Jason Atherton, Executive chef of Maze restaurants worldwide resigned to open his own venue in Mayfair.
On the 19th October 2010, the company Gordon Ramsay Holdings Limited has announced that Chris Hutcheson has left his position as CEO of Gordon Ramsay Holdings Ltd. No reason was given for his departure.
Ramsay married Cayetana Elizabeth Hutcheson (known as Tana), a Montessori-trained schoolteacher, in 1996. The couple have four children: Megan Jane (b. 1998), twins Jack Scott and Holly Anna (b. 2000), and Matilda Elizabeth (b. 2002). Ramsay's father-in-law, Chris Hutcheson, was responsible for the business operations of Ramsay's restaurant empire until October 2010.
In 1994 Ramsay accepted a police caution for gross indecency involving him and two other men, both chefs, in the lavatory of a London Underground station. It was stressed to be only "hi jinks" by Ramsay and not sexual. Ramsay stated that the three, who were discovered in the early morning hours, were celebrating and drinking the night before. In regards to the caution, Ramsay stated that one of his friends was urinating in a sink, another friend was walking around with his trousers by his ankles, and that he himself was urinating in a urinal with his head against the wall, when the station supervisor discovered them.
On 15 November 2002, Ramsay was breathalysed, arrested, and charged with driving under the influence of excess alcohol in London. While he remained charged, he was informed by police that the case would be discontinued.
In 2007, Ramsay admitted arranging for a biker to steal the reservations book from the Aubergine restaurant in 1998 and blaming the theft on Marco Pierre White, because he suspected Aubergine's owners were planning to offer his job to Pierre White.
Ramsay is of above average height, standing at 6 feet 1.5 inches (186.7 cm). On his show Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares, Ramsay has stated that he is afraid of dancing, especially in front of people. On a later episode, at La Gondola, he decided to "confront his demons" and is seen dancing. Ramsay also demonstrates the moonwalk dance in the episode of Kitchen Nightmares spotlighting Mama Cherri's Soul Food Shack. He also learns to salsa dance on an episode of the F-Word. Ramsay is left-handed.
Ramsay has been involved in a series of charitable events and organizations. He fulfilled his aim of finishing 10 marathons in ten years by running his 10th consecutive London Marathon on 26 April 2009, sponsoring the Scottish Spina Bifida Association.
During March 2005 Ramsay teamed up with Indian chef Madhur Jaffrey to help the VSO, an international development charity group to support its Spice Up Your Life event. The charity hoped to raise £100,000 for VSO’s work in HIV and AIDS in India. The Ramsays were the first couple to become ambassadors for the women's charity Women's Aid in 2005. The couple ran the Flora Families marathon to support Women's Aid.
Gordon Ramsay has been Honorary Patron of the Scottish Spina Bifida Association since 2004, and in 2005 he launched The Gordon Ramsay "Buy a Brick" appeal to help the Scottish Spina Bifida Association raise funds to build a new Family Support Centre and Head Office in Glasgow. In 2006 he launched a new Appeal to help the charity raise the funds required to continue to run the support centre "What's your favourite F Word, Gordon's is Fundraising". In November 2007 Ramsay hosted a St Andrew's Day Gala Dinner at Stirling Castle in aid of the Association and has now made this fundraising Gala Dinner an annual event. Since 2007 the event has raised over £400k for the Association and the 2010 Gala Dinner will be at the Glasgow Science Centre in October.
Near death experienceEdit
In 2008, Ramsay was in Iceland's Westman Islands filming a puffin hunting segment when he lost his footing and fell during a descent of an 85m cliff, landing in the icy water below. He has said "I thought I was a goner", reaching the surface of the water by removing his heavy boots and waterproof clothing. His film crew, who rescued Ramsay by throwing him a rope, say that he was submerged for at least 45 seconds. During the ordeal he remembers how he felt: "I was panicking and my lungs were filling with water. When I got to the top after getting my boots off I was dazed and my head was totally massive". At first, Ramsay did not want to tell his wife. "I chickened out but she knew something was up. She was upset and extremely pissed off. When I was underwater, all I could think of was Tana and my kids. It wasn't until I was on the plane home I realised what a close call I'd had".
Accusations of infidelityEdit
In late November 2008, the British tabloid News of the World published a news story wherein Sarah Symonds, author of the book Having An Affair? A Handbook For The Other Woman, claimed to have been involved in a secret affair with Ramsay for a period of seven years. Symonds further alleged that Ramsay had been involved with at least two other women, as well. Amidst the allegations, the family put off a holiday in Mauritius and Ramsay, initially ignoring the allegations, denied them during a live BBC show cooking demonstration, Good Food Show. An Australian woman has also made similar claims, while Ramsay denies even knowing the woman.
Richard Harden, co-publisher of the Harden's Restaurant Guide, speaking to the Evening Standard, concurs "It must damage the package", though publicist Max Clifford disagrees, noting that while the allegations might cause "a lot of aggravation" at home, it wouldn't impact his image and popularity "at all".
Pre-prepared meal controversyEdit
On 17 April 2009 it was revealed that Ramsay's restaurant, Foxtrot Oscar in Chelsea, West London, used pre-prepared food that was heated up and sold with mark-ups of up to 586%. It was also revealed that three of his gastropubs in London did the same thing.
"Gordon Ramsay Holdings operate a kitchen facility in Wandsworth called GR Logistics (which was purchased from Albert Roux)..." the spokesperson said.
A spokeswoman for Gordon Ramsay explained, "Gordon Ramsay chefs prepare components of dishes devised and produced to the highest Gordon Ramsay standards. These are supplied to those kitchens with limited cooking space such as Foxtrot Oscar and Gordon Ramsay's highly-acclaimed pubs, including the Narrow. These are sealed and transported daily in refrigerated vans and all menu dishes are then cooked in the individual kitchens. This is only for the supply of Foxtrot Oscar and the three pubs and allows each establishment to control the consistency and the quality of the food served."
Reflecting on the controversy in 2010, Ramsay was unapologetic, stating "When I was working at the Gavroche all those years ago, the duck terrine wasn’t made there. It was made outside, then brought to the restaurant wrapped in plastic. This is standard practice. What on earth was the fuss about?"