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Top 10 Gordon Ramsay Legal Scandals


Top 10 Gordon Ramsay Legal Scandals

Rich and famous people are more likely to get sued and Chef Gordon Ramsay is very rich and famous. Like so many celebs, he’s been hit with a steady stream of lawsuits for years. Some of these lawsuits may be characterized as “nuisance lawsuits”. Others have more merit. Gordon’s got big bucks, so he can afford great lawyers. These legal eagles step in to fight his corner when other people take him to court. This doesn’t mean that the temperamental, driven and talented chef and reality TV star enjoys being sued. Being sued is something that no one likes. You’ve seen Gordon lose his temper on TV, so you can imagine how he reacts when he gets served with these lawsuits. Even the richest celebrities can’t duck lawsuits. If judges won’t throw out the lawsuits, they have to be addressed, through out-of-court settlements or in courtrooms. If you want the low-down on Gordon’s checkered legal history, you’ll enjoy this list. It’s loaded with facts about 10 times Gordon Ramsay got sued.  

10. A Former Employee Sued Chef Ramsay

Several years ago, a woman named Sara Stewart sued Chef Ramsay. Sara Stewart used to be the director of one of Gordon’s companies. The company is named, Gordon Ramsay Interactive Limited. Stewart sued because she felt that she was discriminated upon based on her gender. She said that her dismissal from the company just wasn’t fair. The biggest payout she could receive if she won her lawsuit was 765,000 pounds, which equates to over one million and two hundred thousand dollars.

What’s really interesting about this particular lawsuit against Chef Ramsay is the fact that Sara Stewart was the mistress of Gordon’s own father-in-law, who was also his business partner. His father-in-law’s name is Chris Hutcheson. She’s actually sued Gordon Ramsay twice and we’ll talk about the second lawsuit later on in this list.

Gordon did end up paying Sara Stewart. Her case was settled out of court, which means that Gordon’s lawyers were willing to settle in order to avoid a dispute in a courtroom. Gordon doesn’t like to lose, so he’s probably not too happy when he does need to settle these cases. However, he’s smart enough to know that settling is one of the fastest and easiest way to make pesky legal problem go away. Celebs may be more inclined to settle, because their public reputations are at stake. Gordon Ramsay is a celeb who’s also a brand. He needs to protect his brand at all costs. 

9. He Was Sued For Faking Reality TV Scenes

In 2008, Gordon Ramsay was sued by a man named Martin Hyde. Hyde sued the network that produces Kitchen Nightmares, too. Martin Hyde used to manage a restaurant in the Midtown part of New York City, and he alleged that Chef Ramsay faked catastrophes in the kitchen while filming his show. Martin Hyde thinks that Kitchen Nightmares is a fraud. Hyde said that the way he was treated during his Kitchen Nightmares experience destroyed his career in the restaurant business. In 2008, he sued Ramsay and the show’s producers for five hundred thousand pounds, which equals around eight hundred thousand US dollars. While this lawsuit got tossed out, the judge requested that Gordon Ramsay and Martin Hyde enter arbitration.

Hyde used to manage the theater district restaurant, Dillon’s. He walked out on his job after sparring with Ramsay during the filming of Kitchen Nightmares. When he decided to sue Ramsay and Ramsay’s network, which is the Fox Network, he got tons of press. Martin Hyde strongly believes that he got undeserved blame for the problems at Dillon’s, and thinks that his mistreatment by Ramsay ended his restaurant career prospects. In lawsuit documents, he alleged that a lot of aspects of Kitchen Nightmares are staged. For example, he said that spoiled meat was placed in the fridge by the reality show’s staff, and that the show was edited to make him look bad.

8. He Was Sued for Unpaid Bills

During winter of 2009, Ramsay was accused of being a deadbeat by a New York City company called Dairyland USA. Dairyland USA sued the famous chef for over one hundred thousand dollars. The company said that Gordon Ramsay needed to cough up the cash to cover unpaid bills. Apparently, the company filled big orders for Gordon’s Manhattan eatery, but never got paid for what they delivered. The unpaid bills had been piling up since Thanksgiving. To get proper compensation, Dairyland USA turned to the legal system for assistance. Donald Trump is another celeb who’s been hit with similar types of lawsuits, for non-payment to vendors and suppliers.

During this phase of Gordon Ramsay’s life, he had lots of problems. For example, the very same year, Ramsay shared the fact that advisors told him that he should file bankruptcy because some of his upscale restaurants were being hammered due to downturns in the economy. Gordon’s a survivor, so he always finds ways out of his problems. The restaurant business can be very tough, but Ramsay is tougher. There’s not a lot of information about how this particular lawsuit panned out available online. However, Dairyland USA did have a contract with Ramsay’s eatery.

7. There Was Another Kitchen Nightmares Lawsuit

In 2018, the company that owns the Oceana Grill, which is situated in the French Quarter in New Orleans, sued Chef Ramsay and his Kitchen Nightmares production company. The lawsuit was filed in New Orleans, in the civil district court. The lawsuit was for defamation. The company that sued Gordon and his production company is known as Cajun Conti and it requested damages and also wanted the court to stop Ramsay and his production company from using a video clip that showed Oceana Grill in a very poor light.

Oceana Grill’s lawyer, Daniel Davillier, felt that the video clip was misleading, because it was a very old clip, which was being presented as something newer. The clip was posted to the official Facebook page of Kitchen Nightmares and got tons of views. In the video clip, Ramsay throws up after looking around the eatery’s kitchen and taking a whiff of some shrimp. A million people saw the clip. According to the lawsuit documents, the company that owns Oceana Grill felt that scenes from the reality TV show were fake and designed to amp up drama for viewers.  The owners of Oceana Grill actually sued Ramsay and his team back in 2011. That suit was settled, and it featured instructions about how episode scenes could be used from thereon in. The 2018 lawsuit was launched because Cajun Conti felt that the 2011 agreement was violated. 

6. A Former Business Partner Sued Him 

Gordon used to have a business partner named Rowen Seibel, and Rowen sued the celebrity chef for ten million bucks, because Seibel felt that Ramsay intentionally mishandled a trademark issue related to their L.A. restaurant, The Fat Cow. Rowan also accused Gordon Ramsay of forming a new company with other partners and then quietly putting together a deal with a landlord in Los Angeles, to open a brand-new eatery to replace The Fat Cow. The new restaurant would allegedly be called GR Roast and was alleged to be one of the restaurants that Gordon Ramsay would feature on his reality TV show, Hell’s Kitchen. Seibel felt that his investment was being used improperly, so he got a lawyer. Ramsay didn’t take these allegations lying down. He retaliated by counter-suing Rowen Seibel. He accused his former business partner of mismanaging The Fat Cow.  The Fat Cow’s landlord was also involved in the high-stakes legal wrangling. As an interesting side note, Seibel was later sentenced to prison time for tax evasion.

5. Restaurant Workers Sued Him Because of Tip-skimming

Restaurant workers rely on tips to make ends meet, and staff members who worked at Ramsay’s L.A. eatery, which was located at the popular Grove shopping center, felt that tip-skimming was depriving them of money they’d rightfully earned. They fought for their right by filing a class action lawsuit against the restaurant. The eatery is now closed, but was called The Fat Cow. According to the lawsuit, workers believed that they weren’t getting the tips they’d gotten from customers and also believed that they were being mistreated in other ways. For example, restaurant staff complained that they weren’t being give overtime hours and that they had to work during their break times. Ramsay is someone who’s been sued repeatedly, but not usually by staff members at this restaurant, so this lawsuit was a little bit different. The Fat Cow was a doomed restaurant that was plagued with a bunch of legal problems. According to a representative of the group that owned The Fat Cow, poor management was the reason for the problems. Management was changed later on, but it didn’t save the eatery. It closed down.

4. Morrissey Sued Channel 4 For Using His Music to Promote Ramsay

Okay, in this case, channel 4 got sued, instead of Gordon, but this story is still interesting enough to warrant a mention on this list. Morrissey is a talented singer-songwriter who rose to fame as the frontman of The Smiths. He’s a passionate animal rights activist who never, ever eats animal products. When he found out that Channel 4 used one of his songs in order to publicize a Ramsay TV show, he was, as he so often is, outraged. Morrissey sued Channel 4 and then received roughly fifteen thousand US dollars. The song used to promote a Ramsay Christmas special called Christmas Cookalong Live was a Smiths tune, “Please, please, please, let me get what I want”. It was played to promote the show during 2011. Morrissey didn’t pocket the money. He donated it to an ad campaign that educated consumers about how foie gras is produced and how inhumane buying and consuming foie gras is. The ad campaign was directed at a London retailer that sold foie gras. The retailer is Fortnum & Mason. Morrissey isn’t a fan of Ramsay and made sure to throw a few barbs Gordon’s way during the lawsuit and ensuing scandal.  

3. Ramsay Got Sued For Unpaid Rent

Gordon Ramsay isn’t known for his soft-spoken ways, and he probably got a little loud when a judge held him personally responsible for over a million bucks in yearly rent, which was owed to a London pub called York & Albany. Ramsay had to go to court, where he told the judge that his own father-in-law, Chris Hutcheson, forged a contract with his name, using a machine that creates autographs. The contract in question was a long one, with a duration of twenty-five years. That’s why the tab for annual rent was over a million dollars. Ramsay lost this fight. He had to pay up for the rent. The judge felt that Ramsay knew all about the contract, even if his father-in-law used a ghostwriting machine to sign Ramsay’s name to the contract. Apparently, it was very common for the machine to be used to sign contracts on behalf of Ramsay and forty-two other contracts had been signed the very same way. The judge seemed to think that Gordon was trying to evade his responsibilities, even though Ramsay was well aware of what those responsibilities were. The contract that sparked the lawsuit was signed during 2008.

2. One Angry Customer Sued Because Of a Bad Burger

In 2014, Ramsay, who is one of the world’s most famous chefs, was sued by another chef, because the chef alleged that his palate was damaged after he chowed down on a burger at an eatery owned by Gordon Ramsay. The restaurant where he ate the burger was located in the Big Apple. The chef who sued is German and his name is Markus Barthel. The restaurant was Gordon Ramsay at The London. Apparently, the German chef bit into a burger with something sharp hidden between its buns. The sharp fragment cut his tongue and impaired his sense of taste. Clearly, a chef needs a functional sense of taste to do his job, so the allegation was fairly serious. Eventually, this lawsuit was dropped. Ramsay’s attorney’s let the courts know that Gordon hadn’t been actively involved in the restaurant’s operations for years, and the lawyer’s arguments were obviously convincing. The sharp object in the burger was reportedly a piece of hard plastic. The chef said that he couldn’t do his job for weeks after noshing on the inedible burger. 

1. He Was Sued For Breach Of Privacy

We mentioned earlier that the mistress of Gordon’s own father-in-law sued him twice. The second lawsuit was for breach of privacy and happened in 2012. The woman’s name is Sara Stewart and she’d been romantically involved with Gordon’s Ramsay’s father-in-law for five years. The father-in-law’s name is Chris Hutcheson, and he’s had legal problems with his son-in-law in the past. Apparently, Sara Stewart believes that Ramsay hired private detectives to take photos of her through the window of her bedroom. Ramsay was reportedly tracking his father-in-law with detectives, because Ramsay believes that Hutcheson was participating in financial misconduct while running GRH, which stands for Gordon Ramsay Holdings.

Sara was 50 when she filed the lawsuit and she worked for Gordon’s company, too. She was employed as an accountant. She said that Gordon told her he’d publicize the photos. Ramsay went low in 2010, when he penned an open letter to his own mother-in-law, who is named Greta. In the letter, he confessed to hiring a detective to track Christopher Hutcheson. Ramsay believed that Hutcheson had broken into his personal email accounts. Hutcheson was relieved of his duties at Ramsay’s company soon after. Sara Stewart said that Gordon texted her son after he wrote the open letter. The text instructed the son to tell his mother to keep her curtains closed, because it’s easy to get amazing shots right near her window. 

As you can see, famous chef Gordon Ramsay is a lightning rod for controversy and litigation. He’s been involved in so many lawsuits and may be back in court, or settling out of court, in the future. He’s a passionate guy who has turned his drive and ambition into pure gold, but he’s gained some enemies along the way. Whatever happens, he just keeps pushing forward. He’s not one to let life’s problems deter him from achieving his goals. However, these lawsuits have tarnished his reputation. They’ve shown a darker side of the temperamental and talented restaurant owner, chef, author and reality TV star. The problems with his own in-laws are probably the worst of it. He’s still married to Chris Hutcheson’s daughter, Tana Ramsay. 

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