Gordon Ramsay is a celebrity chef and cookbook author in England. He is as well-known for his temper as he is for his cooking. He kicked the film and TV star Joan Collins out of his restaurant on the Royal Hospital Road in Chelsea in 1998, and often insults other food personalities. He is particularly well-known for his liberal use of the F-Bomb word.
Yet, while he doesn’t suffer fools gladly (or anyone he regards as a fool, or who gets in his way), he’s not pompous: he deliberately fed his children “regular food” while they were growing up because he didn’t want them to become “snobs.”
He and his wife Tana live in Battersea, South London. Their four children are named Megan, Jack and Holly (twins), and Matilda.
Gordon is also the owner of many restaurants, operator of many others, and writes for The Times’ Saturday magazine, BBC Food Magazine, and Delicious Magazine.
Gordon was born 6 November 1966 in Elderslie, Renfrewshire, Scotland. His parents, Gordon and Helen Ramsay, were from Port Glasgow. He had an older sister Diane, and a younger brother and sister named Ronald (Ronnie) and Yvonne. (He also has a half-sister, Sharon Donnachie, from before his father married.) Simpson, Jane and Alan Caldwell. I’m Gordon Ramsay’s secret sister … and tasty in the kitchen, too. London: Daily Mail. 30 September 2006.
While he was young, his family moved to the Dennistoun district of Glasgow, Scotland
In 1976, when Gordon was ten years old, his family moved to Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, England, where he went to Stratford-upon-Avon High School. As a young teenager, he played football (aka soccer for North Americans) for Oxford United.
In 1982, his family moved back to Glasgow. Gordon says that a scout for the Glasgow Rangers team recruited him in the same year for that football team. Gordon passed the tests and was taken on at the age of fifteen as a junior. Some Rangers Club historians, though, dispute this claim.  Irvine, Chris. Gordon Ramsay’s Rangers claims questioned — TV Chef Gordon Ramsay’s claims to have played first-team football for Glasgow Rangers have been questioned by historians and former players at the club. London: Daily Telegraph. 1 March 2009.
In 1985, Gordon stopped playing football. This is often credited to a knee injury, but an equally important reason may have been that he wasn’t selected to go onto the professional level. Gordon then decided to study to become a chef, even though his father said it was “poncey.” Gordon moved back down to England, and studied cooking at North Oxon Technical College in Banbury, Oxfordshire, from which he graduated with an HND (Higher National Diploma) in Hotel Management.
Entering the world of cooking
- 1986 — Gordon’s first job was as “chef de partie” (aka “station chef”) at Maxim’s in London.
- 1988 — Gordon started working at Harvey’s in South London under Marco Pierre White, a very temperamental chef by some accounts, and Ramsay’s elder by six years.
- 1989 — Gordon switched to working at La Gavroche in London under Michel and Albert Roux, where he met for the first time an up and coming sous-chef named Marcus Wareing.
- 1989 — Gordon moved to Paris at the age of 23, where he would stay for the next 2 ½ years. In Paris, he lived in the 6th arrondissement with a newly-acquired French girlfriend, who was a waitress at the Georges V hotel. Gordon got a job working under Guy Savoy at the Restaurant Guy Savoy in the 17th arrondissement of Paris. The first dish they had him make was an Earl Grey sorbet, with crème anglaise and black pepper. After Restaurant Guy Savoy, he worked at the Jamin restaurant under Joël Robuchon as a “chef de partie” preparing fish. Gordon worked at these restaurants six days a week. On Sundays, he served tables to make extra money at Le Bastille café.
- 1992 — Gordon cooked on the yacht of an Australia media tycoon (unnamed), then worked briefly at Tante Claire restaurant in London, where Marcus Wareing arrived just as Ramsay left to help start a new restaurant in Park Walk that would be called “Aubergine.” Aubergine was owned by the A-Z Restaurants Company, in turn owned by Franco Zanelleto, Claudio Pulze and Giuliano Lotto.
- 1993 — Gordon took up the position as head chef at the Aubergine restaurant. Under Ramsay, the Aubergine was awarded Michelin stars in 1995 and 1997 — Marcus Wareing comes to Aubergine to work with Gordon.
- 1996 — Gordon married Cayetana (Tana) Elizabeth Hutcheson, Cateyana’s father Chris would later come to manage the business aspects of the Ramsay holdings.
- 1996 — Gordon helps A-Z Restaurants Company set up a restaurant called “L’Oranger”, headed by Marcus Wareing, on St James’s Street. Wareing would win a Michelin star for the restaurant in January 1997.
- 1997 — Gordon’s father died. Gordon Ramsay Holdings is incorporated on 29 October 1997.
- 1998 — In July, at the age of 32, Gordon disagreed with the backers of the Aubergine about future plans and contracts, and quit. He decided to open his own restaurant. He sold his apartment to help finance it, and went into business with his father-in-law. His restaurant, called Gordon Ramsay, opened at 68 Royal Hospital Road in Chelsea, where the La Tante Claire restaurant run by Pierre Koffmann had been. Gordon appointed David Dempsey as head chef. Around the same time, Wareing was fired from L’Oranger. Gordon lures forty-four staff from Aubergine and L’Oranger to come and work at his new restaurant. A young chef named Angela Hartnett was among the staff who left L’Oranger to join Ramsay. A-Z Restaurants was forced to temporarily close L’Oranger (reopening it later under Wareing’s former souschef, Kamel Benamar.) Lawsuits ensued.
- 1999 — In March, Gordon opened Pétrus restaurant at 33 St James’s Street in Mayfair, and gives it to Marcus Wareing to oversee. Gordon named the after an extraordinarily expensive French wine. The cost to launch the restaurant was £1.4 million. It was at Pétrus that six stock brokers from Barclay’s Capital had a lunch that made headlines around the world. The first round of wine (Pétrus Pomerol) they ordered was for £12,300. Ramsay decided that the food they ate would be on the house. Their total bill for the lunch was £44,007.
- 2001 — In April 2001, Gordon opened a third restaurant called “Amaryllis” up in Glasgow, Scotland, at 1 Devonshire Gardens. The restaurant was open for three years, with chef David Dempsey (1968 to 2003) managing it when Ramsay was down in England. Dempsey was a favourite protégé of Ramsay.
- 2001 — Gordon’s Chelsea restaurant, the Gordon Ramsay, is awarded three Michelin stars. He bought his wife Tana a Ferrari car to celebrate.
- 2001 — On 22 October 2001, Gordon opened yet another restaurant, called “Gordon Ramsay at Claridge’s” on Brook Street. By this time, he had had a falling out with his 1988 boss, Marco Pierre White. Some say it was because Gordon criticized White for being an absentee chef from his restaurants.
- 2001 — Gordon opened the Verre restaurant at the Hilton Dubai Creek Hotel in Dubai. It was managed for him at first by Angela Hartnett and then Jason Atherton; later by others. The association ended in October 2011, though the restaurant continued on without the association afterward.
- 2002 — Tana and her brother Adam opened a store called “Red Fort” near Harvey Nichol’s that sold antique household furnishings from India.
- 2002 — In October, Gordon took over two restaurants at the Connaught Hotel in London, called “The Grill Menu” and “MENU.” He delegated one of his protégés, Angela Hartnett, to run them for him. In November, he was reputedly stopped by police for driving in his BMW under the influence of alcohol (and going at the time the wrong way up a one-way street.) The charges were dropped. Simpson, Jane and Alan Caldwell. I’m Gordon Ramsay’s secret sister … and tasty in the kitchen, too. London: Daily Mail. 30 September 2006.
- 2003 — 2003 was an eventful year. In January, Gordon launched a brand of chocolates named after him to be sold in supermarkets. In May, Gordon’s protégé David Dempsey, died in a cocaine-induced delirium after falling forty feet while apparently breaking into apartments in Chelsea. In the same month, Gordon took over running the Savoy Grill, delegating Marcus Wareing to run it at the same time as Pétrus, and he opened the Boxwood Café in the Berkeley Hotel on Walton Place in Knightsbridge, delegating it to Stuart Gillies. Sometime before July, Pétrus closed it doors at 33 St James’s Street to prepare for a move to the Berkeley Hotel. In its place, in the same location, Ramsay and Marcus Wareing opened a restaurant called “Fleur” (French for “flower”.) In September, Pétrus re-opened in the Berkeley Hotel. Also in this year, Gordon closed his original restaurant, “Gordon Ramsay”, and opened another place called the “Banquette” in the Savoy hotel.
- 2004 — On the 2nd of January, the new restaurant Fleur on St James’s Street was closed, after being only open for well under a year. Ramsay said it was because the lease to Gordon Ramsay Holdings had expired; some industry people felt it was because Fleur was cannibalizing Pétrus’s clientele. Confusingly, in November 2004 Caterer & Hotelkeeper magazine reported that “the short lease property [was] owned by Ramsay Holdings.” In any event, later that year, on 20 December 2004, a restaurant called “Fiore” (Italian for “flower”) opened in the same spot, by none other than Claudio Pulze, now the sole owner of A-Z Restaurants Company, with which lawsuits had been encountered back in 1998. Less than two weeks later, on the 14th January, Gordon closed as well the Amaryllis restaurant up in Scotland. Its losses had climbed to nearly £480,000. In retrospect, Gordon would say that Amaryllis had got too serious for the locals, scaring them off, by being so focussed on what it was doing that it wasn’t paying attention to what the locals wanted. In its place, a new restaurant called “Room Glasgow” was opened by John Pallagi and Simon Wright.
- 2005 — In May, Gordon added the restaurant “Maze” in The Marriott Hotel in Grosvenor Square to his chain, under Jason Atherton. One of its newsworthy items was pizza with shaved white truffle on it for £100.
- 2005 — In October, Tana created a £7.95 Chelsea salad for the Brasserie restaurant in the Peter Jones department store. On 31 December, Gordon was named in the Queen’s New Year Honours list to receive an OBE (Order of the British Empire.)
- 2006 — Gordon opened a restaurant in America. It was called “Gordon Ramsay at the London”, and was in the “The London NYC” hotel (formerly the Rihga Royal Hotel) on West 54th Street in New York. Gordon publishes his auto-biography, “Humble Pie.”
- 2007 — His brother, Ronnie, was jailed in September in Bali on heroin charges.
- 2008 — The “News of the World” daily newspaper alleged that Ramsay had had an affair with a Sarah Symonds. Ian Burrell, in an article in The Independent newspaper, estimated Ramsay’s personal worth to be over £60 million pounds. A company filing for the period ending 29 October 2008 showing that Ramsay held 69,300 ordinary shares and Chris Hutcheson 29,700 in Gordon Ramsay Holdings. Another 1,000 shares were owned by a Carla Pastorino. Vines, Richard. Ramsay’s Father-in-Law Steps Down as CEO of Restaurant Business. Bloomberg News. 19 October 2010.
- 2010 — In January, Ramsay Inc was sued for non-payment of services for his restaurant at London West Hollywood Hotel in Los Angeles. 2009 had been a tough year for the business, which appeared to be overextended financially. “At its peak Gordon Ramsay Holdings owned 25 eateries worldwide on four continents. Now he has exited Prague and handed back ownership of the restaurants in Los Angeles, Paris and New York, though he still supplies the chefs and menus.” Hough, Andrew. Gordon Ramsay embroiled in legal row over unpaid £55k cleaners’ bill. London: Daily Telegraph. 23 January 2010.
- Ramsay’s Cape Town, South Africa, restaurant called “Maze” was closed on 30 July 2010. It had opened 4 April 2009.
- Chris Hutcheson, Tana’s father resigns, age 62, as CEO of Gordon Ramsay Holdings in October 2010. He remained a shareholder. Vines, Richard. Ramsay’s Father-in-Law Steps Down as CEO of Restaurant Business. Bloomberg News. 19 October 2010. It later emerged that Gordon Ramsay had sacked him.
- 2011 — August. Ramsay closes the Maze Restaurant and Maze Grill in Melbourne’s Crown Metropol hotel, saying the operation is no longer sustainable.
[Timeline update pending]
- 1998. Boiling Point
- 2000. Beyond Boiling Point
- 2001. Appeared on “Friends for Dinner” on 24 July 2001
- 2001. Appeared on “Faking It” in November for Channel 4
- 2004. Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares (for Channel 4)
- 2004. Hell’s Kitchen (ITV)
- 2005. Hell’s Kitchen (May, new version for FOX in America)
- 2005. The F-Word (October. For Channel 4)
- 2010. The Great Escape (Gordon learning cooking in India. For Channel 4)
Books by Gordon Ramsay
- 1996. Gordon Ramsay’s Passion For Flavour
- 1999. Gordon Ramsay’s Passion For Seafood
- 2000. A Chef For All Seasons
- 2001. Gordon Ramsay’s Just Deserts
- 2003. Gordon Ramsay’s Secrets
- 2004. Gordon Ramsay’s Kitchen Heaven
- 2005. Make It Easy
- 2006. Humble Pie (auto-biography)
Literature & Lore
“Yet cooking meals for his family …. is exactly what Gordon did to research his newest cookbook, Gordon Ramsay’s Fast Food. With his wife, Tana, and his children — Matilda, 10, twins Jack and Holly, 8, and Megan, 6 — as his only ‘customers’, Gordon put himself in the shoes of the typical overstressed home cook. ‘Writing the first couple of chapters, I was struggling,’ Gordon tells Hello! Canada. ‘Surrounded by a team, you forget how difficult it can be. You can see why people become lazy: oh, God, I’ve got to wash the leeks, I’ve got to peel the potatoes, all this for dinner — I might as well eat out.” — Catto, Susan. Hello! Canada. Food Section. 31 March 2008, Issue 77. Page 98.
ArabianBusiness.com staff writer. Celeb chef Gordon Ramsay ends Verre deal in Dubai. 16 October 2011. Retrieved October 2011 from http://www.arabianbusiness.com/celeb-chef-gordon-ramsay-ends-verre-deal-in-dubai-425617.html
Atkin, Tim. He never reigns but he pours. Manchester: The Observer. 15 May 2005.
Burrell, Ian. Will a sex scandal destroy Gordon Ramsay’s empire? London: The Independent. 25 November 2008.
Bromdige, Emma. From Football to Fine Cuisine. Lady Magazine. Retrieved from http://www.lady.co.uk/articles/0115artA.cfm?framed=y March 2006.
Cooke, Rachel. How does our Gordon Grow? Manchester: The Observer. 8 June 2003.
Creffield, Lisa. Interview: Gordon Ramsay. Dubai: AME Info. 1March 2004.
Diski, Chloe. Gordon’s Other Woman. Manchester: The Observer. 13 October 2002.
Doherty, James. Ramsay shuts London restaurant after six months. Edinburgh: The Scotsman. 10 January 2004.
Durack, Terry. Verre Hilton Dubai Creek, Dubai. London: The Independent. 17 July 2005.
Fabricant, Florence. Food Stuff: Off the Menu. New York: New York Times. 30 March 2005.
Fingleton, David. Restaurant: Petrus and L’Oranger. London: The Spectator. 26 June 1999.
Gordon Ramsay Biography. Retrieved from http://www.biogs.com/famous/ramsay.html March 2006.
Hickman, Martin. Tables turned as health inspectors tell Ramsay: ‘Clean that freezer now’. London: The Independent. 31 January 2006.
Hodgson, Moira. Cassoulet Defined by Choice of Seafood. New York: New York Times. 23 January 2000.
Innes, John. Saucy Ramsay pans female chefs. Edinburgh: The Scotsman. 24 October 2005.
Lyall, Sarah. The Terrible-Tempered Star Chef of London. New York: The New York Times. 23 February 2005.
Maschler, Fay. Meet the 9 ½ pound portion. London: Evening Standard. 5 January 2005.
Murden, Terry. Scary TV chefs drive students out the kitchen. Edinburgh: Scotland on Sunday. 13 November 2005.
Nicholl, Katie. Now troubled Gordon Ramsay gets his fingers burnt: Chef forced to close down his Melbourne restaurant because its unsustainable. London: Daily Mail. 28 August 2011.
NNDB. Gordon Ramsay. Retrieved from http://www.nndb.com/people/235/000088968/ March 2006.
ninemsn. Food and Wine. Into the Light (Marcus Wareing). Retrieved from http://gourmet.ninemsn.com.au/gourmettraveller/features/features99.asp March 2006.
Prynn, Jonathan. Can a Chelsea salad make Waldorf green? Edinburgh: The Scotsman. 21 October 2005.
Rayner, Jay and Rebecca Seal. Ramsay in America. London: The Observer. 16 January 2005.
Rayner, Jay. Class of 2002. London: The Observer. 13 January 2002.
Simon, Carmina. Gordon Ramsay expands empire with restaurant at Marriott hotel. London: Evening Standard. 24 March 2004.
Smith, Claire. Ramsay tops the lot with his £100 pizza. Edinburgh: The Scotsman. 11 October 2005.
The Gazetteer for Scotland. Gordon Ramsay. Retrieved from http://www.geo.ed.ac.uk/scotgaz/people/famousfirst1048.html March 2006.
Thompson, Jonathan. Rival chef: Ramsay was overstretched. London: The Independent. 18 January 2004.
United Advertising Publications. Gordon Ramsay backs smoking compromise. London: The Publican Newspaper. 2 December 2005.
Vines, Richard. Ramsay’s Maze Cape Town Closes, Adding to Chef’s Woes. Bloomberg News. 30 July 2010.
Ward, Sharon. Ramsay’s scuffle on US TV show costs chef’s producers £68,000. Edinburgh: The Scotsman. 12 Nov 2004.
Wright, Simon. Michelin Man. Glasgow: The Sunday Herald. 27 February 2005.
You ask the Questions: Marcus Wareing. London: The Independent. 16 December 2003.
|↑1||Simpson, Jane and Alan Caldwell. I’m Gordon Ramsay’s secret sister … and tasty in the kitchen, too. London: Daily Mail. 30 September 2006.|
|↑2||Irvine, Chris. Gordon Ramsay’s Rangers claims questioned — TV Chef Gordon Ramsay’s claims to have played first-team football for Glasgow Rangers have been questioned by historians and former players at the club. London: Daily Telegraph. 1 March 2009.|
|↑3||Simpson, Jane and Alan Caldwell. I’m Gordon Ramsay’s secret sister … and tasty in the kitchen, too. London: Daily Mail. 30 September 2006.|
|↑4||Vines, Richard. Ramsay’s Father-in-Law Steps Down as CEO of Restaurant Business. Bloomberg News. 19 October 2010.|
|↑5||Hough, Andrew. Gordon Ramsay embroiled in legal row over unpaid £55k cleaners’ bill. London: Daily Telegraph. 23 January 2010.|
|↑6||Vines, Richard. Ramsay’s Father-in-Law Steps Down as CEO of Restaurant Business. Bloomberg News. 19 October 2010.|