Gordon Ramsay has been a star of our screens for years and is probably one of the most well-known chefs in the world. Both his food and his personality are incredibly moreish, and he has really become a master of both the culinary and entertainment worlds. From Michelin Stars to BAFTAs, he’s won it all, but why are we so in love with shouty chef? There’s a million reasons but, for just you, I’ve managed to narrow it down to the top 10!
10. Ramsay Started From The Bottom
It might be hard to imagine, seeing how far he has come, that Ramsay came from humble and beginnings. Although he is a now a successful chef and millionaire, his early life was very difficult. His family moved very often when he was young, normally because of problems surrounding his father. They finally settled in a council estate in Stratford-Upon-Avon, where he lived with his 3 siblings. As a teen, he worked as a pot washer for a local Indian restaurant, which was his first real experience of the culinary world. However, little Ramsay hadn’t found his passion for cooking yet, and instead aspired to become a footballer. Despite having a trial with the Rangers football club, injuries prevented him from achieving his dream, and steered him back into the kitchen. He filled his time with cooking, and at 19, enrolled in a course in hotel management. He learned fast, first securing a job as a commis chef in Wroxton House Hotel before taking charge of a large kitchen at the Wickham Arms. After sleeping with the owner’s wife, he left his job and moved to London to continue his culinary career. Rising quickly through many restaurants there, he made the leap to join Marco Pierre White’s team at Harveys. He was a tough boss who was prone to anger, and apparently made Ramsay cry on many occasions. Must’ve been pretty hardcore! Having learned all the important lessons from the tough love of Marco Pierre White, Ramsay moved to Le Gavroche. Led by Albert Roux, this was the first UK restaurant to be awarded three Michelin stars. After proving himself as a brilliant young chef, he moved with Roux to cook in the Alps. From there, he moved to Pairs to work for his greatest mentor, Guy Savoy, for three years. All of these experiences shaped him into a formidable chef. In less than 10 years, he went from washing dishes to working in the best restaurant in Paris. That’s a major glow up.
9. Chef Ramsay Raises Food Standards
If you’ve seen Kitchen Nightmares, you’ll know there’s some really gross restaurants out there. From mouldy fish to cockroaches, he’s found some pretty horrific stuff in his time. No one knows better than him what happens when you let standards slip – you can kill people! It is because of this that he is so strict on quality control. One of the most remarkable changes that he makes to all restaurants on the show is that the chefs truly understand their responsibility for the quality of the kitchen. Rather than ‘just send it’, Gordon teaches them to take pride in their food, and only deliver the best. This isn’t just true for Kitchen Nightmares. In Hell’s Kitchen, he refuses to send out anything less than perfect, much to the annoyance of the chefs. To normal people like you and I, slightly too much salad on a dish seems like no biggie, but a slip up like that could cost you the competition in Ramsay’s kitchens. And why not? It seems over the top, but Ramsay was taught to cook perfectly every time. Why shouldn’t he strive for the same perfection in each of his chefs? It’s worked so far! People flock to eat his food, and it comes with a hefty price tag. He raises food standards to ensure you will never be disappointed.
8. Ramsay Shares His Insights
As we have heard, Ramsay has been taught by some of the top chefs in the world. And what does he do with the knowledge? He teaches others! Not many top chefs would leave the comfort of their Michelin star kitchen to teach lost cooks in failing restaurants how to do the basics. In Kitchen Nightmares, he re-trains the chef on how to organize and run the kitchen, while also teaching them how to cook an entirely new menu. He also shares his skills in management. He often teaches the owners about how to take care of their staff, how to build a customer base and how they should be branding themselves. It’s no wonder he does this – it’s exactly the kind of guidance that he had as a young chef. He had a tough upbringing, and has been in some tight spots, so he knows exactly what a push in the right direction can do. Aside from helping restaurants in the red, he passes down his wisdom to the next generation too. He has handed down his expertise to his daughter, Matilda, who now has a cooking show entitled ‘Matilda and the Ramsay Bunch’. Now there’s another Ramsay for us to enjoy! It looks like Gordon Ramsay’s passion is infectious, and he’s intent on sharing it with the world.
7. Gordon Ramsay, The Charity Man
Lots of people may be surprised to hear that Gordon has a soft side. Not content with saving businesses, Gordon also gives his time and money to charities. Gordon has been an Honorary Patron of the Scottish Spina Bifida Association since 2004. He was moved to help after a conversation with Dr Margo Whiteford, a sufferer of Spina Bifida. The pair ran together at the Great North Run, where he ‘was inspired by her determination and humour’. After learning about the condition, he began to campaign through celebrity dinners, marathons and appeals for donations. Since then, he has raised over £1,000,000 for the association, which has given them funding for to keep running, as well as building a family support center. He’s done some amazing work for Spina Bifida, and that’s not all! Ramsay worked with fellow chef Madhur Jaffrey to raise money for AIDS and HIV in India through cooking, his greatest talent. He also used his second greatest talent (playing football) to raise money for UNICEF through playing in Soccer Aid. The celebrity match pitted England against the Rest of The World, with Ramsay playing in the Rest of The Word team. His team, including stars such as Mike Myers and Woody Harrelson, won for the first time ever against England. He’s still got moves! He has also worked to raise awareness of cocaine addiction in his TV documentary ‘Gordon Ramsay on Cocaine’. He shared his experience of losing a friend to this addiction and went to the source of cocaine in Columbia to warn viewers of its harsh reality. Behind the rough, shouty exterior, he really does care. What a good guy!
6. Gordon Ramsay Speaks His Mind
Remember that rough, shouty exterior I was just talking about? One thing you can bet on with Gordon is that he will tell you the pure, unadulterated truth. His honesty often offends chefs and owners in his shows Kitchen Nightmares, Hell’s Kitchen and Hotel Hell. Gordon buts heads with lots of desperate and deluded people, and so he uses tough love to get them to see the reality of the situation. In an interview with ABCNews about his approach, he told them ‘I’m firm, but by God, I’m fair’. Firm may be an understatement there, but certainly he says what the chefs need to hear. Gordon is the human embodiment of the phrase ‘cruel to be kind’. I do think that sometimes a Gordon Ramsay is needed to make the owners confront the uncomfortable truth that they cannot carry on as they are. While some disagree with upfront approach, they really can’t argue that he’s not being honest, and giving them the advice that he believes is most useful.
5. His Cursing Is Part Of His Charm
True to the Scottish stereotype, Ramsay has a natural talent for swearing. Many of his famous quotes wouldn’t make it past the watershed. His great mind brought us insults such as “Why did the chicken cross the road? Because you didn’t f***ing cook it!” and “You guys cook like old people f***”. It’s TV gold! Not everyone is won over by the cursing, though. Ramsay has been criticized for swearing too much by many people, first by fellow British cook, Delia Smith. After first dismissing the criticism, Ramsay was shocked to see how much bad language he uses after watching an episode of Boiling Point. Don’t get me wrong, he did say he still doesn’t mind the swearing, but he did say “Mum was appalled”. He also got into hot water with Channel 4 after Ofcom received 51 complaints over Ramsay’s language in just one episode of Ramsay’s Great British Nightmare. They had a point, to be fair. In the first 40 minutes of the show, there were 115 F-bombs – that’s almost 3 per minute! Pretty impressive. Channel 4 apologized but the fans want what the fans want! Because of their passion, Channel 4 ended up keeping Ramsay on the air anyway, keeping his fans happy. Whether you think it’s unnecessary or not, you can’t deny that it adds some drama and comedy to the shows.
4. Gordon Knows What He’s Talking About
When Ramsay talks about restaurants, you’d better listen. He’s been in the business for roughly 40 years and knows it like the back of his hand. He started at the bottom and has worked to create a family of restaurants across the world. His restaurants have won 16 Michelin Stars, with his flagship, Restaurant Gordon Ramsay, holding 3 Michelin Stars since 2001. He’s trained in multiple countries, learning many different cuisines to the highest standard. It’s not just his food expertise that makes him such an expert. He also knows what it like to run a business. He has had to close restaurants and can learn from his mistakes, and that’s why you can trust him to tell you what is wrong. Not only has he seen it all before, but he’s had first-hand experience with how tough it is to close the doors to your dream. He really can help, too. Over all the series of Hotel Hell, only 4 hotels have closed, which gives him a success rate of around 80%. Before he arrives, the businesses are destined to fail, and to turn them around after only a few days is an incredible feat by Ramsay. The biggest successes are always those who listen to Gordon and follow his advice, even after the cameras leave.
3. Gordon Doesn’t Take Any Nonsense
His no-nonsense approach is one of his most well-known traits. He doesn’t accept anything shy of 100% commitment to the job, and has a very low tolerance for bullsh*t. He’s spent years becoming a renowned chef, and so at the very least, he deserves respect. The perfect example of Gordon drawing the line can be found in season 6 episode 16 of Kitchen Nightmares. In this infamous episode, Gordon visits Amy’s Baking Company, and soon finds that she can’t acknowledge criticism of her own food. She blames the camera crew, the staff and Gordon for ruining her food. She goes as far as to question Gordon’s understanding of the trade and his honesty. For Gordon, this really took the biscuit, and he wasn’t going to take it for one more minute. He told Amy, “The right thing for me is to get out of here. Good luck,” before leaving the owner to deal with the mess on their own. This was the first time he left a restaurant, but it sent out a message to all future Kitchen Nightmares that he wasn’t hanging around for any nonsense. He takes the same approach in Hell’s Kitchen and has been known to take a chef’s jacket from an under-performing chef midway through service. He doesn’t leave this attitude in the kitchen, either. His parenting style is also very strict. He has said publicly that his children won’t inherit his fortune and aren’t allowed to fly in first class because he doesn’t want to spoil them. It’s tough but fair – he takes no nonsense from anyone!
2. Gordon Ramsay Is An Excellent Chef
TV chefs are often 2% cooking skill and 98% TV personality. Gordon Ramsay, however, is the real deal. Gordon Ramsay’s first TV show, Boiling Point, documented the opening of his first solo restaurant in 1998. While entertainment was the aim of the show, Gordon’s biggest priority was the food, putting most of his energy and talent into making the restaurant a standalone success. Just two years after opening, this restaurant was voted the Top Restaurant in the UK. ‘But is that just because it was on TV?’ I hear you ask. Absolutely not! This same year, the restaurant won its third Michelin star, joining the cuisine world’s hall of fame. Michelin stars are notoriously hard to achieve and are judged based on many factors such as quality of products, flavor, cooking technique, personality of the cuisine, value and consistency. It’s even more impressive then when you understand that Ramsay has been awarded a total of 16 Michelin Stars throughout his career. He now holds 7 Michelin Stars, which makes him third in the ranking for most Michelin Stars. And if Michelin Stars aren’t enough for you, he was also the third person ever to win three Catey awards, beaten only by Michel roux and Jacquie Pern. Some would say this makes Ramsay one of the best chefs in the world.
1. Gordon Ramsay Is Extremely Hard Working
We’ve already seen that Ramsay had a tough start in life. He worked since he was a teenager and made his fortune on his own. His ‘rags to riches’ story is an inspiration to many people with equally large ambitions. While some people may see his sweary persona as a poor role model, he is genuinely admirable for his work ethic. He has always believed in his potential, but never stopped challenging himself to become a better chef. From learning new disciplines to going undercover in failing restaurants, he has dedicated himself to fully understanding his field in a way that no other chef has. Rather then coasting on the training he received when he was a young chef, he has put himself into increasingly difficult situations, such as trying to lead a group of untrained chefs or travelling to faraway countries to learn new ideas. This constant hard work allows him to make his restaurants the best they can be and motivate others to do the same. Persistence is clearly something that is important to him and something he instills in those he coaches. When talking about the reasons behind his success, he gave the advice: “Put your head down and work hard. Never wait for things to happen, make them happen for yourself through hard graft and not giving up.” This really sums up his attitude, if you want something, you have to work for it!