Gordon James Ramsay OBE is a British chef, restaurateur, writer and television personality. He was born in Johnstone, Scotland, and raised in Stratford-upon-Avon, England. His restaurants have been awarded 16 Michelin stars in total and currently hold a total of seven.
Gordon James Ramsay OBE (born 8 November 1966) is a British chef, restaurateur, writer, and television personality. He was born in Johnstone, Scotland, and raised in Stratford-upon-Avon, England. His restaurants have been awarded 16 Michelin stars in total and currently hold a total of seven. His signature restaurant, Restaurant Gordon Ramsay in Chelsea, London, has held three Michelin stars since 2001. After rising to fame on the British television miniseries Boiling Point in 1998, Ramsay had become one of the best-known and most influential chefs in the UK by 2004.
As a reality television personality, Ramsay is known for his bluntness, as well as occasionally fiery temper, strict demeanour, and frequent use of expletives. He combines activities in the television, film, hospitality, and food industries and has promoted and hired various chefs who have apprenticed under his wing. Ramsay is known for presenting TV programmes about competitive cookery and food, such as the British series Hell’s Kitchen, The F Word, and Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares, the latter winning the BAFTA for Best Feature at the 2005 British Academy Television Awards, and the American versions of Hell’s Kitchen, Kitchen Nightmares, MasterChef, MasterChef Junior, as well as Hotel Hell and 24 Hours to Hell and Back. In 2020, Forbes listed his earnings at $70 million for the previous 12 months, and ranked him the 19th-highest-earning celebrity in the world.
Ramsay was born in Johnstone, Renfrewshire. From the age of nine, he was raised in Stratford-upon-Avon. Ramsay is the second of four children. He has an older sister, a younger brother (who has been imprisoned for heroin possession), and a younger sister. Ramsay’s father, Gordon James Sr., was—at various times—a swimming pool manager, a welder, and a shopkeeper; his sister and their mother, Helen (née Cosgrove), have been nurses.
Ramsay has described his early life as “hopelessly itinerant” and said his family moved constantly due to the aspirations and failures of his father, who was a sometimes violent alcoholic. In his autobiography, Humble Pie, he describes his early life as being marked by abuse and neglect from this “hard-drinking womaniser”. In 1976, they finally settled in Stratford-upon-Avon, where he grew up in the Bishopton area of the town. He worked as a pot washer in a local Indian restaurant where his sister was a waitress. At the age of 16, Ramsay moved out of the family home and into a flat in Banbury.
Ramsay played football and was first chosen to play under-14 football at age 12. He was chosen to play for Warwickshire. His footballing career was marked by 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 has claimed to have played two first team games for Rangers. According to his autobiography Ramsay played “a couple of non-league matches as a trialist” for Rangers and was signed by the club at the age of 15.
Allan Cairns, a photographer who took a picture of Ramsay playing for Rangers in September 1985, said the photo was not one of Rangers first team but a side picked to play a testimonial match. A Rangers spokesman said: “Ramsay was a trialist in that testimonial game. He trained with us for a few months after that but then got injured.”
In series 4, episode 12 of The F Word (originally aired on 29 July 2008), Ramsay visited Ibrox, the home ground of his favourite childhood team, Rangers, and exclaimed, “Home, Sweet Home!” He explained, “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 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”, Ramsay decided to pay more serious attention to his culinary education at age 19. 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 mid-1980s, he worked as a commis chef at the Wroxton House Hotel. He ran the kitchen and 60-seat dining room at the Wickham Arms, until his sexual 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, where he met Jean-Claude Breton, later his maître d’hôtel at Restaurant Gordon Ramsay. 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, a 23-year-old Ramsay moved to Paris to work with Guy Savoy and Joël Robuchon, both Michelin-starred chefs. In Master Chef series 3 episode 18, Gordon Ramsay stated that Guy Savoy was his mentor. 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. The role on the boat saw him travel to Sicily and Sardinia, Italy, and learn about Italian cuisine.
Upon his return to London in 1993, Ramsay was offered the position of head chef, under chef-patron Pierre Koffmann, at the three-Michelin-starred La Tante Claire in Chelsea. Shortly thereafter, Marco Pierre White reentered 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, who wanted to turn Aubergine into a chain, and Ramsay’s dream of running his own restaurant led to his leaving the partnership in July 1998. He has described the decision to set out on his own as “the most important day of my entire cooking career; the most important decision of my life”.
In 1998, Ramsay opened his own restaurant in Chelsea, Restaurant Gordon Ramsay, with the help of his father-in-law, Chris Hutcheson, and his former colleagues at Aubergine. The restaurant gained its third Michelin star in 2001, making Ramsay the first Scot to achieve that feat. In 2011, The Good Food Guide listed Restaurant Gordon Ramsay as the second best in the UK, only bettered by The Fat Duck in Bray, Berkshire.
After establishing his first restaurant, Ramsay’s empire expanded rapidly. He next opened Pétrus, then Amaryllis in Glasgow (which he was later forced to close), and later Gordon Ramsay at Claridge’s. He hired his friend and maître d’hôtel Jean-Philippe Susilovic, who works at Pétrus and also appears on Ramsay’s US TV show Hell’s Kitchen. Restaurants at the Dubai Creek and Connaught hotels followed, the latter branded with his protegee Angela Hartnett’s name. Ramsay has opened restaurants outside the UK, beginning with Verre in Dubai. Two restaurants, Gordon Ramsay at Conrad Tokyo and Cerise by Gordon Ramsay, both opened in Tokyo in 2005. 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 restaurant in Ireland, Gordon Ramsay at Powerscourt, at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Powerscourt, County Wicklow. This restaurant closed in 2013. In May 2008, he opened his first restaurant in the Western US, in The London West Hollywood Hotel (formerly the Bel-Age Hotel) on the Sunset Strip in Los Angeles. The contract expired in 2015, closing the restaurant.
On 9 August 2011, Ramsay opened his first Canadian restaurant, Laurier Gordon Ramsay (at the former Rotisserie Laurier BBQ) in Montreal. In February 2012, Danny Lavy, the owner of the restaurant, announced the restaurant was disassociating itself from Ramsay, citing a lack of involvement and understanding on Ramsay’s part. The restaurant closed in 2013.
Opened in September 1998, Restaurant Gordon Ramsay was Ramsay’s first solo restaurant, located at Royal Hospital Road, London. In 2001, it was voted Top Restaurant in the UK in the London Zagat Survey and was awarded its third Michelin star.
He was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) by Queen Elizabeth II in the 2006 New Year Honours list for services to the hospitality industry, but almost missed the award ceremony when his plane was delayed.
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. 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 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 of the University of St Andrews, but lost at the polls to Simon Pepper.
Ramsay’s flagship restaurant, Restaurant Gordon Ramsay, was voted London’s top restaurant in Harden’s for eight years, but in 2008 was placed below Petrus, a restaurant run by former protégé Marcus Wareing. In January 2013, Ramsay was inducted into the Culinary Hall of Fame.
On 14 June 2017, Ramsay set a new Guinness World Record for the ‘Fastest time to fillet a 10 lb fish’, achieving the record in 1 minute and 5 seconds. 16 August 2017, Ramsay set a ‘Guinness World Record for the Longest Pasta Sheet Rolled In 60 Seconds’, which measured 1.45 metres.
All of Ramsay’s business interests (restaurants, media, consultancy) are held in the company Gordon Ramsay Holdings Limited, which was run in partnership with his father-in-law, Chris Hutcheson. Ramsay owns a 69% stake, valued at £67 million in 2007. Whereas previous ventures acted as a combined consultant/brand, in November 2006 Ramsay announced plans to create three restaurants in the United States. These opened in 2006/2007 at the London Hotel in Manhattan, in October 2006, the Cielo in Boca Raton, Florida, and at the London Hotel in West Hollywood, California. Ramsay acts as a consultant to numerous catering organisations. In 2005 he was recruited by Singapore Airlines as one of its “International Culinary Panel” consultants.
In late 2006, Gordon Ramsay Holdings purchased three London pubs, which were converted into gastropubs. These are: The Narrow in Limehouse, which opened in March 2007, the Devonshire in Chiswick, which opened in October 2007 and The Warrington in Maida Vale, which opened in February 2008. Both The Devonshire and The Warrington were sold in 2011.
In May 2008, it was confirmed that Ramsay’s protege 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. In April 2010, Jason Atherton, executive chef of Maze restaurants worldwide, resigned to open his own venue in Mayfair.
On 19 October 2010, the company Gordon Ramsay Holdings Limited announced that Chris Hutcheson had left his position as CEO. Shortly afterwards, Ramsay released a letter to the press describing how he had unravelled the “manipulative” Hutcheson’s “complex life” after having had him followed by a private detective. His father-in-law’s “away days,” wrote Ramsay, “were rarely what I thought they were.” Company accounts show Hutcheson borrowed up to £1.5 million from Gordon Ramsay Holdings, though Hutcheson says he reported the borrowings to the company and paid the money back. Hutcheson said he had been “vaporised” and subjected to a “public hanging” by Ramsay, whom he described as a friendless egotist. In April 2017, Hutcheson pleaded guilty to a charge of conspiracy to hack into the computers of Gordon Ramsay Holdings Limited.
In October 2012, Ramsay opened The Fat Cow in Los Angeles at The Grove, a shopping area that is also popular with tourists. Ramsay explained his intention for the Fat Cow in a press release to signify the opening of the venue: “The concept for The Fat Cow came from my desire to have a neighbourhood restaurant that you could go to all the time to just relax and enjoy a terrific meal.” In partnership with footballer David Beckham, Ramsay opened the Union Street Café in the Southwark district of London, UK in September 2013. The Italian cuisine of the Union Street Café, with a menu that is revolved on a daily basis, is overseen by Chef Davide Degiovanni.
In October 2013, the Gordon Ramsay at The London restaurant in New York lost its two Michelin stars due to issues encountered by the Michelin reviewers. The guide’s director Michael Ellis stated that he was served “some very erratic meals” and also experienced “issues with consistency.” The loss followed the closure of another of Ramsay’s restaurants, Gordon Ramsay at Claridges, in June 2013.
17 April 2018, saw the opening of the Ramsay’s first Street Pizza, situated in the downstairs area of his One New Change Bread Street Kitchen offering “bottomless” pizza. The second “Street Pizza” was opened at the chef’s York and Albany restaurant
On 26 June 2019, Chloe Sorvino from Forbes magazine reported that Ramsay will receive $100 million from Lion Capital, a private equity firm headquartered in London, to open 100 restaurants by the year 2024.
On 24 March 2020, Ramsay laid off more than 500 staff in the UK after a number of Ramsay’s restaurants had to close temporarily under the coronavirus lockdown. Ramsay, whose personal net income was estimated to be USD 63 million in 2019 by Forbes, was criticised for the lay-offs.
The chef will open his first restaurant in Macao – Gordon Ramsay Pub & Grill at the new The Londoner Macao hotel and casino (formerly the Sands Cotai Central), when it opens in 2021.
Ramsay’s first documented role in television was in two fly-on-the-kitchen-wall documentaries: Boiling Point (1998) and Beyond Boiling Point (2000), but he had appeared previously as a judge on a MasterChef-like series for young catering students in 1997, with his then restaurant partner. 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 one week. This series ran its fifth series in 2007. Hell’s Kitchen, a reality show which aired on ITV1, saw Ramsay attempt to train ten British celebrities to be chefs, as they ran a restaurant on Brick Lane in the East End of London, which opened to the public for the two-week duration of the show. Although he was the creator of Hell’s Kitchen, Ramsay only starred in the first series, as he signed a four-year contract with Channel 4, ruling out any possibility of him appearing on future episodes of the ITV-produced show.
In May 2005, the Fox network introduced Ramsay to American audiences in a US version of Hell’s Kitchen produced by Granada Entertainment and A. Smith & Co. The show follows a similar premise to the original British series, showcasing Ramsay’s perfectionism and infamously short temper. Ramsay had also hosted a US version of Kitchen Nightmares, which premiered on Fox on 19 September 2007. On 23 June 2014, Ramsay announced he was ending the series. In June 2018, Gordon Ramsay’s 24 Hours to Hell and Back, a new series with a premise much like Kitchen Nightmares but a shorter timeline, premiered on Fox.
Ramsay has presented five series of 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. The US version premiered on 31 May 2017 on Fox.
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. 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. The chef 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.
In 2010, Ramsay served as a producer and judge on the US version of MasterChef. (A second season of the show began in June 2011, again starring Ramsay.) On that same show, he was joined by culinary judges Graham Elliot and Joe Bastianich. He starred in a travelogue about his visit to India, Gordon’s Great Escape followed by a series set in Asia. He hosted the series Ramsay’s Best Restaurant, which was the first UK series by Ramsay’s own production company, One Potato Two Potato.
Ramsay joined several other celebrity chefs in the 2010 series, The Big Fish Fight, where he, along with fellow chef Jamie Oliver and a few others, spent time on a trawler boat to raise awareness about the discarding of hundreds of thousands of sea fish.
In March 2012, Fox announced the coming of Ramsay’s fourth series for the Fox network, Hotel Hell; the series is similar to Kitchen Nightmares, except that it focuses on struggling hotels, motels and other lodging establishments in the United States. Originally slated for debut 6 April 2012 and 4 June 2012, the series debuted 13 August 2012.
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 ITV, 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. His involvement was limited after he received a four-inch cut in his calf.
During his second appearance on the BBC’s Top Gear, he stated that his current cars are a Ferrari F430 and a Range Rover Sport Supercharged, the latter replacing the Bentley Continental GT he previously owned. On 14 May 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 England, 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 13 October 2006, he was guest host on the first episode of the BBC’s comedy panel show Have I Got News for You’s 32nd series. On 27 December 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.
In 2011, during the results show of American Idol, footage of the top 5 contestants taking on a challenge of cooking with Gordon Ramsay was shown. The Top 5 were given 10 minutes to make the best omelettes.
In November 2011, Ramsay made an appearance on The Simpsons episode “The Food Wife”. In February 2017, Ramsay made a guest appearance on New Girl episode “Operation: Bobcat”. Ramsay made an appearance on 11 December 2017 broadcast of Please Take Care of My Refrigerator, a South Korean reality television show on JTBC.
Ramsay voices the character Bolton Gramercy in Big Hero 6: The Series. The character, a chef with a fiery temper, is loosely based on him.
In 1998, following Ramsay’s resignation from the Aubergine, A-Z restaurants sued him for £1 million citing lost revenue and breach of contract, but eventually settled out of court.
In June 2006, Ramsay won a High Court case against the London Evening Standard newspaper, in which Victor Lewis Smith had alleged, after reports from previous owner Sue Ray, that scenes and the general condition of Bonaparte’s had been faked for Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares. Ramsay was awarded £75,000 plus costs. Ramsay said at the time: “I won’t let people write anything they want to about me. We have never done anything in a cynical fake way.”
In June 2007, Ramsay’s show was sued by the terminated general manager (Martin Hyde) of the New York restaurant Purnima (Dillon’s), who also alleged fakery. Hyde had quit his position at the restaurant during the show, when Ramsay suggested that the owner hire top Indian Chef Vikas Khanna as the Consultant Chef for Purnima. The lawsuit alleged that “unknown to the viewing audience, some or all of Kitchen Nightmares are fake and the so-called ‘problems uncovered and solved’ by Ramsay are, for the most part, created by Ramsay and his staff for the purpose of making it appear that Ramsay is improving the restaurant.” In August 2007, the case was dismissed voluntarily and ordered into arbitration as stipulated in their contract.
On 21 March 2012, Ramsay filed a $2.7 million lawsuit against his former partners of his restaurant in Montreal, Quebec, the Laurier Gordon Ramsay (since renamed The Laurier 1936), over lost licensing fees and defamatory statements made against him. On 16 April 2013, just over a year later, Laurier 1936 closed.
In January 2014, Ramsay lost a high court case in relation to the “York & Albany pub.” Ramsay claimed that his father-in-law had misused a ‘ghost writing’ machine to make Ramsay a personal guarantor for the £640,000 a year annual rent of that pub. Ramsay tried to nullify the 25-year lease, signed in 2007. The judge said that Ramsay had known about the guarantee beforehand but that he had total trust in his father-in-law, Christopher Hutcheson, and left the deal to him. The judge dismissed the case and ordered Ramsay to pay all legal costs and outstanding monies, in total more than one million pounds.
Ramsay’s reputation is built upon his goal of culinary perfection, which is associated with winning three Michelin stars. His mentor, Marco Pierre White, noted that he is highly competitive. Since the airing of Boiling Point, which followed Ramsay’s quest of earning three Michelin stars, the chef has also become infamous for his fiery temper and use of expletives. Ramsay once famously ejected food critic A. A. Gill, whose dining companion was Joan Collins, from his restaurant, leading Gill to state that “Ramsay is a wonderful chef, just a really second-rate human being.” Ramsay admitted in his autobiography that he did not mind if Gill insulted his food, but a personal insult he was not going to stand for. Ramsay has also had confrontations with his kitchen staff, including one incident that resulted in the pastry chef calling the police. A 2005 interview reported Ramsay had retained 85% of his staff since 1993. Ramsay attributes his management style to the influence of previous mentors, notably chefs Marco Pierre White and Guy Savoy, father-in-law, Chris Hutcheson, and Jock Wallace, his manager while a footballer at Rangers.
Ramsay’s ferocious temper has contributed to his media appeal in both the United Kingdom and the United States, where his programmes are produced. MSN Careers featured an article about television’s worst bosses, which listed Ramsay as the only non-fictional boss. They cited his frequent loss of his temper and his harsh critiques, notably when he picks on something other than cooking ability, such as calling someone a “chunky monkey”.
Although Ramsay often mocks the French, one of his most trusted maîtres d’hôtel, Jean-Baptiste Requien (Royal Hospital Road), is French and he also speaks fluent French from his time in Paris.
In November 2007, Ramsay installed 29-year-old Clare Smyth as head chef at his three-Michelin-starred flagship restaurant on Royal Hospital Road. Smyth is the second high-profile appointment of a female chef by Ramsay, after Angela Hartnett. Smyth was the first female three-Michelin-starred; she moved on to start her own restaurant in 2017.
Ramsay has been criticised for his frequent use of strong language on his programmes, first by British celebrity cook Delia Smith, then, in relation to Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares, by a member of the Federal Parliament of Australia. In his autobiography, Ramsay himself said he was unaware of the extent of his swearing until he watched an episode of Boiling Point. While he stated he did not have a problem with it, “Mum was appalled”.
On 5 June 2009, Ramsay started trading national TV insults with Australia’s Nine Network, A Current Affair journalist Tracy Grimshaw. The day after his interview, he was a guest feature at the Melbourne Food and Wine festival. While doing his display, he allegedly insulted Grimshaw and made insinuations about her sexuality. Grimshaw responded the next day, calling Ramsay an “arrogant, narcissist bully.” Ramsay eventually apologised, stating that his behaviour “was a joke”.
TV Guide included him in their 2013 list of The 60 Nastiest Villains of All Time. Despite being known for his ferocious temper, Ramsay has been well-received as the host of Masterchef Junior: in contrast to his interaction with adults, Ramsay was shown to be more patient and sensitive to the children featured on the show. Despite his competitiveness and fiery temper, he showed far more understanding and empathy towards children, amateur and special needs chefs (notably Christine Hà on MasterChef), although he continued to offer constructive criticism.
Ramsay has historically expressed a dislike for vegetarianism and veganism. In the first episode of the second series of Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares (2005), he offered pizza to a vegetarian and said it was vegetarian. After he took a bite, Ramsay said that it contained ham, laughing and asked if he wanted more. In 2003, when asked for his most recent lie, he said “To a table of vegetarians who had artichoke soup. I told them it was made with vegetable stock when it was chicken stock.” In a 2007 interview, he joked “My biggest nightmare would be if the kids ever came up to me and said ‘Dad, I’m a vegetarian.’ Then I would sit them on the fence and electrocute them.” In 2016, when asked on Twitter whether he was allergic to anything, he wrote “Vegans” and followed up with “It’s a joke jack it’s not vegans ! It’s vegetarians”.
In 2006, on the second series of The F Word, Ramsay showed a softened stance on vegetarianism after learning about intensive pig farming practices, including castration and tail docking, while letting two young family piglets live in an intensive farm. On the programme, Ramsay commented, “It’s enough to make anyone turn fucking vegetarian, for God’s sake. And I’ve always sort of knocked vegetarians and vegans for missing out on the most amazing flavour you can get from meat. But you can see why so many people change instantly”. In 2019, he launched a vegan menu at his restaurants for Veganuary, and introduced more vegan items to his restaurants, such as a vegan roast.
Ramsay has been highly critical of Food Network and Iron Chef America star Mario Batali. The New York Post reported in 2009 that Batali has banned Ramsay from his restaurants. This alleged feud goes back to when Batali was highly critical of Ramsay’s cooking style for being “dull and outdated”. Batali has since stated that the alleged feud “was created by a couple of journalists.” Batali went on to state, “I’d love to hang out with Ramsay”.
Ramsay revealed that he exercises semi-competitively for his general well-being. He said he has seen overweight and unfit chefs collapse or become unable to move quickly around the kitchen. He often competes in ironman events, marathons, and triathlons. He also eats very little per ‘meal’, and prefers to graze throughout the day, partly due to the habit he built up as a judge and chef and also because of his busy schedule. He has a black belt in karate.
Ramsay married Cayetana Elizabeth Hutcheson, a Montessori-trained schoolteacher, in 1996. They divide their time between Wandsworth Common, London and Los Angeles. They have five children: Megan, Holly, Jack, Matilda, and Oscar. Megan ran the London Marathon in 2017 in memory of the miscarriage her mother suffered five months into her pregnancy in June 2016, a boy whom they had named Rocky. Until 2010, Ramsay’s father-in-law, Chris Hutcheson, was responsible for the business operations of Ramsay’s restaurant empire. On 7 June 2017, Hutcheson was jailed for six months for conspiring to hack a computer system relating to the Ramsays’ business interests. Hutcheson was accused with his sons of accessing company systems almost 2,000 times between 23 October 2010 and 31 March 2011.
Ramsay has three houses in Cornwall worth an estimated £11 million: a £4 million mansion in Trebetherick, a £4.4 million property in Rock purchased in 2015, and a £2 million grade II-listed property in Fowey that was purchased in 2017. In August 2020, Ramsay’s four-bedroom Fowey property, Trevail House, was put on sale for £2.75 million.
Ramsay has been involved in a series of charitable events and organisations. 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.
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 organisation 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.
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.
In 2006, 2008, 2010, 2012 and 2014, Ramsay took part in the biennial charity event Soccer Aid to raise money for UNICEF. On 6 June 2010 he played for the Rest of the World team alongside former professional footballers Zinedine Zidane and Luís Figo as well as Hollywood actors Woody Harrelson, Mike Myers and Michael Sheen. The match took place at Old Trafford in Manchester and was won by the Rest of the World for the first time, the winning penalty scored by Harrelson in the shoot-out.
28 August 2020, the media reported that Ramsay and his wife Tana had become ambassadors for Cornwall Air Ambulance.
In 2008, Ramsay was in Iceland’s Westman Islands filming a puffin hunting segment when he lost his footing and fell during a descent off an 85 feet (26 m) cliff, landing in the icy water below. He said, “I thought I was a goner”. He reached the surface of the water by removing his heavy boots and waterproof clothing. His film crew, who rescued Ramsay by throwing him a rope, reported 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”.
On 17 April 2009, it was revealed that one of Ramsay’s restaurants, 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. 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?
Ramsay is an avid football fan and supports Scottish Premiership club Rangers and English Premier League club Chelsea. As a baseball fan, he follows the Los Angeles Dodgers and Los Angeles Angels. However, he feels that the game of baseball is often too long, joking that this leads to fans spending most of the time eating or sleeping, which could lead to them being unhealthy.
Gordon Ramsay is 55 years old (birth date November 8, 1966).
Gordon Ramsay was born in Johnstone, Scotland, UK.