Entertainment

Gordon Ramsay’s rise to fame – Rangers footballer, Michelin stars, infamous feuds, Hell’s Kitchen and more


Gordon Ramsay is one of the best chef’s in the world and boasts an impressive restaurant empire.

The Michelin starred chef made his career in London, rising to fame as the head chef of the city’s popular restaurant Aubergine.

The celebrity chef, originally from Johnstone, Scotland, has lived a full life after climbing to the top of one of the most competitive industries in the world.

However, Gordon is no stranger to controversy on his road to success, and is just as well known for his bad temper and feuds as he is for food.

Here’s our deep dive look into the Hell’s Kitchen star’s rise to fame…



Host/judge Gordon Ramsay in the Box in a Box in a Box episode of MASTERCHEF airing Thursday

Childhood

Gordon James Ramsay was born on November 8, 1966, in Johnstone, Scotland but soon moved to Stratford-upon-Avon, England when he was just five.

Gordon’s first love was football as he set his sights early on a career as a professional sports star.

In an article for The Guardian, Gordon explained how he first fell in love with the game of soccer. “My uncle Roland took me to my first game at Ibrox,” he wrote.

“I was seven and I went on his shoulders. The crowd was just phenomenal.



Chef Gordon Ramsay pictured as a schoolboy in uniform.

“We were standing by the terraces and I remember getting slightly nervous, and very scared. Because you just swayed then, you just moved in a sway formation.

“I think it was against Hearts and it was dirty — I mean very dirty — and Rangers won 1-0. Those games are always going to be dirty for the next century, because it’s just an all-blood tie. And I loved it.”

Impressively, at just 15-year-old, Ramsay had joined the professional club Glasgow Rangers – a real full circle moment for the budding star.

However, his football dream was short lived and after just three years, in 1985, Gordon got a knee injury which permanently ended his sporting career.

Forced to start over, he returned to school, earning a degree in hotel management in 1987.

In 2007, the star wrote an in-depth piece for CNN, in which he tackled some of the issues he and his family had dealt with in his childhood.

In the article, Ramsay explained how his father had been “less than a perfect role model,” who frequently battled alcoholism and often became violent with Ramsay’s mother.

“Every time he got violent,” Ramsay wrote, “any present that my brother, sisters, or I had given mum would be smashed, simply because he knew it belonged to her.

“There were instances when the police were called to take him away; mum was taken to the hospital while we kids were taken to a children’s home.”

“To this day,” Ramsay explained, “I will never understand why mum stayed with him.

“She deserved so much better and so much more; it still pains me to remember how badly he treated her. I have four young children of my own, and I could never see myself behaving the way my father did when I was a child.

“I want to be a role model for my children and have them look up to me.”



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Early career

After completing his degree, Gordon moved on to work under some of Europe’s top chefs.

He apprenticed with Marco Pierre White at Harvey’s in London, worked for Albert Roux at Le Gavroche, and then worked under master chefs Joel Robuchon and Guy Savoy in France.

In 1993, Ramsay ventured out on his own as the head chef of the brand new restaurant Aubergine in London, where he earned the restaurant a two-star rating from Michelin.



Gordon Ramsay
Chef and television personality Gordon Ramsay attending the 13th annual Vegas Uncork’d

More personal prestige followed in 1995 when Ramsay was awarded Newcomer of the Year at the prestigious Catey Awards, an Oscars-like event for the restaurant and hotel business.

When the restaurant’s financial backing became shaky, Ramsay left Aubergine and opened his own establishment, Restaurant Gordon Ramsay, in 1998 in London.

His restaurant was soon hailed as a destination for high-end foodies and eventually received a three-star rating from Michelin.

Gordon’s success continued as in 1999 opened Pétrus, which earned a Michelin star within seven months, and in 2001 he established Gordon Ramsay at Claridge’s (closed 2013), which won a Michelin star two years later.

A growing succession of Michelin star-winning restaurants followed, including the Savoy Grill, the Boxwood Café (closed 2010), Maze, and La Noisette (closed 2008).

As well as the string of Michelin starred restaurants in the UK, Ramsay took his talents further afield.

The ambitious chef went on to take his his restaurants to Dubai, South Africa, America, Australia and Canada.

After being named Chef of the Year at the 2000 Catey Awards and Independent Restaurateur of the Year in 2006, Ramsay brought his restaurant business to the U.S. in 2006 with the opening of two establishments at The London NYC.

Feuds

Just as Gordon Ramsay is known for his culinary skills and restaurant empire, he is also known for his feuds.

The famously foul-mouthed chef is not one to mince his words, ever – and anyone who has watched one of his TV shows will know that.

Here’s the rundown of some of the chef’s most infamous falling outs..

Jamie Oliver

Gordon and Jamie’s decade-long feud was thought to begin when they both starred on Food Fight, in the 2000s.

It was reported that by the end of filming, Gordon and Jamie were rowing so much they refused to be photographed together, and they had to be photoshopped next to each other for promotional materials.

Things took a turn in 2009, when Gordon labelled Australian journalist Tracy Grimshaw a “pig”.

Jamie stepped in and spoke out over Gordon’s harsh comments towards the journalist.



Jamie Oliver felt threatened by food industry while making Sugar Rush
Jamie Oliver felt threatened by food industry while making Sugar Rush

Jamie, 46, took issue with his cruel comments, telling The Sun : “Aussies aren’t forgiving. Once you’re gone, you’re gone…

“It’s never good to criticise a woman, especially when they’re loved by their country and you do it on national television.”

This started the duo’s mud slinging in the press, as once Gordon heard Jamie had weighed in on the row he branded the chef a ‘one pot wonder’.

Upping the ante in response, Jamie hailed Gordon’s wife Tana’s cookbook better than the Hell’s Kitchen star’s.

Fast forward a few years later, Gordon twisted the knife repeatedly when he teased Jamie over his weight and cooking while hosting The Nightly Show in March 2017.

At the end of his week-long stint, Gordon penned a mock-apology letter to Jamie which read: “I just want to say that I’m sorry. I have been hard on you this week, Jamie.

“I’ve called you fat, I’ve criticised your restaurants, called you fat, said you enjoyed prison sex, and called you fat.

“What I said was hurtful, Jamie. I don’t want to make you cry.



Gordon Ramsay apologises to Jamie Oliver with heartfelt letter after blaming him for The Nightly Show getting cut off
Gordon Ramsay apologises to Jamie Oliver with heartfelt letter after blaming him for The Nightly Show getting cut off

“The last thing I want to do is look at your cute face and think: blubber, blubber, blubber.”

Jamie gave a classy response and didn’t entertain Gordon’s harsh jokes about his weight.

“I was doing TV years before him, so maybe five years ago it would have bothered me and I may have responded,” he told The Sun.

“He’s got four kids and I’ve got five kids and I don’t want to be slagging off some kids’ dad on telly. It’s not nice.”

However, Gordon took this as a dig and vowed never to speak to Jamie again as he and his wife Tana had suffered a miscarriage the year before.

Gordon and Tana had suffered a heartbreaking miscarriage when she was five months pregnant with son Rocky, and Gordon saw Jamie’s comments as a dig about them having one fewer child.

“Jamie turned round and said ‘I’ve got five kids, he’s got four kids'”, Gordon told the Radio Times.

“To judge someone else’s family on the amount of kids you have, that’s… that’s…

“Boys will always fight and butt heads but Tana was mortified, I mean really mortified.”

Jamie added that his comments were supposed to be “fairly grown-up and reasonable”.

In an interview with Radio Times, Jamie continued: “I don’t want personal spats in public with someone that, to be honest, I don’t even really know any more… I don’t think he liked me taking the high ground.

“I think that’s basically it. So, I’m going to take the high ground now and say I wish him all the best, and all success.

“Good luck to him. But we have both got kids, and I don’t know what sort of example we’re setting if we’re arguing like we’re in the playground.”

The duo have since made up after Gordon publicly declared Jamie was a “great guy” and his restaurant failures were “devastating” for the industry.

Marco Pierre White

The falling out between Gordon and Marco all started when he took the fresh faced Ramsay under his wing as an apprentice at Harveys Restaurant in London at the age of 20.

Marco, who in 1994 was the youngest chef to to be awarded three Michelin stars, said in his memoir White Lies: “I don’t recall what he’d done wrong but I yelled at him and he lost it.

“Gordon crouched down in the corner of the kitchen, buried his head in his hands and started sobbing. ‘I don’t care what you do to me,’ he said as he wept. ‘Hit me. I don’t care. Sack me. I don’t care.’.”

After explosive incidents in the kitchen, the pair couldn’t even face being in the same room as each other.



Marco Pierre White and Gordon had an explosive relationship
Marco Pierre White and Gordon had an explosive relationship

In his 2006 Memoir, Marco said he and Gordon found themselves dining at Heston Blumenthal’s famous Fat Duck restaurant at the same time.

Things heated up when Marco told Heston to ask Gordon to leave, with Heston advising Gordon to have a word with Marco about the situation.

After telling Marco that he had ruined his day, Gordon had the last word by saying to his former mentor, “You fat b******. I’ve always wanted to call you that.”

One of the key components of the pairs infamous feud started in 1998 after Gordon’s restaurant, Aubergine, had its reservation book stolen by a masked figure.

Gordon blamed Marco for the theft, and people believed that for years after that he tried to steal from his former protege.

But, years after the fact Ramsay confessed that he actually orchestrated the whole thing in an attempt to ruin his former mentors reputation.

He said: “”It was me. I nicked it. I blamed Marco. Because I knew that would f*** him and that it would call off the dogs … I still have the book in a safe at home.”

While talking to Piers Morgan for a 2012 GQ interview, Marco Pierre White explained why he felt he had to cut off his relationship with Gordon Ramsay.

The feud ramped up even further when Gordon turned up to Marco’s 2006 wedding and filmed the ceremony behind the bushes for one of his TV shows, with Marco calling it “the straw that broke the camel’s back”.

Marco added: “Six months later, I watched his TV show and there he was, winking at the camera at my wedding.



The Queen with chefs Marco Pierre White (left) and James Martin (Right)
The Queen with chefs Marco Pierre White (left) and James Martin (Right)

“If he’d asked me if he could film some of it to help his show and career, then I would have let him.”

Despite their ongoing feud Ramsay still managed to have some kind words to say about his rival when he appeared on the Jonathan Ross show describing Marco as a “father figure in the kitchen” who was “an amazing guy to work with”.

However, the two have since gone on to bury the hatchet and become friends.

A source told The Sun: “Gordon tentatively reached out to Marco in lockdown, apologised for his part in their feud, and the pair have been speaking regularly.

“Marco has agreed to get on board, and everyone is raring to go.

“It’s a massively exciting project — and the most unexpected, but ingenious, partnership.

“Gordon recently finished filming the first series for Fox in the US, and there’s been unprecedented levels of interest with both BBC and ITV.”

Family life

Gordon and met his now with Tana in 1992 when she was just 18.

At the time, Tana was in a relationship with one of Gordon’s close friends but once that relationship was over – Gordon swooped in and wooed her.

It was initially difficult for them to keep dating as Gordon worked 16-hour shifts, and so the couple had to meet at odd hours.

Tana told The Sun: “I would work, come home, sleep, and wake up again when Gordon finished work. We’d meet up in the small hours. That was the only way we could be together, and we really wanted to be together.”



Gordon and wife Tana

Ramsay and Tana got married several days before Christmas in 1996 and have gone on to have five children together.

The Ramsay family have appeared on various TV shows and Gordon’s YouTube channel, and are often seen supporting each other on social media in their endeavours.

Gordon previously revealed though that he won’t be leaving his children a large inheritance and will instead give them money towards the deposit for a flat.

Eldest child Megan is a graduate of Oxford Brookes University and tends to stay out of the spotlight.

As reported in The Mirror, the 23-year-old is understood to currently work as an account executive for communications company Freuds.

Following her mum’s miscarriage at five months in 2016, she completed the London Marathon in memory of her baby brother Rocky the following year. She ran the event to raise money for children’s hospital Great Ormond Street.

Holly has been trying to forge her own path by launching a new podcast earlier this year which is focused on wellbeing. It’s called 21 & Over with Holly Ramsay and aims to help “continue to break the stigma surrounding our mental health.”



Gordon Ramsay's daughter Holly, 21, reveals she's been sober a year in candid post
Gordon Ramsay’s daughter Holly, 21, reveals she’s been sober a year in candid post

The podcast, which has so far featured guests including X Factor alum Ella Henderson, appeared to impress dad Gordon. Upon its launch over the summer, he said that he was “so proud” of his daughter and her podcast.

Holly’s fraternal twin, Jack, is Gordon’s eldest son. He hasn’t been in the spotlight as much as some of his siblings, with the 21-year-old having joined the Royal Marines last year – making his family proud in the process.

Gordon commented: “Can’t tell you enough how proud I am of this young man Jack Ramsay. You’ve made me feel like the proudest father today. Congrats on joining @royalmarines – what amazing achievement.”

Youngest daughter Matilda – known as Tilly – has followed in her father’s footsteps over the years. The 20-year-old, who is a social media influencer, has presented the cooking show Matilda and the Ramsay Bunch on CBBC since 2015.



Gordon and wife Tana Ramsay with newborn son Oscar
Gordon and wife Tana Ramsay with newborn son Oscar

Oscar was born in 2019, with Gordon previously stating that he was keen to be around more for him – having often been busy when his other children were younger. He said: “I am convinced I am going to spend more time with Oscar.”

His “hands-on” approach is evident on his Instagram as moments from Oscar’s childhood appear regularly. This includes him being taught how to swim by his dad and being dropped off at school.

TV career

Ramsay’s move to television began in 1996 with his first appearance as a judge on BBC’s Masterchef.

Three years later, in 1999, he was the focus of a British documentary miniseries, Boiling Point, which tracked his working life as he opened his first restaurant.

The success of that documentary spawned a follow-up miniseries, Beyond Boiling Point, in 2000.

Ramsay was tapped to host two programs in the spring of 2004: In Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares, he sought to turn around failing restaurants, and in Hell’s Kitchen, he ran a cooking competition among 10 celebrities, with audiences voting off contestants.



Gordon Ramsay

In May 2005, an American version of Hell’s Kitchen launched on FOX which placed aspiring restaurateurs under the intense eye of the show’s foul mouthed host.

American audiences learned to love and hate the abrasive chef as he narrowed the field of participants down to one final winner.

Meanwhile, he launched another culinary series back in the UK, The F Word (a play on the word food and Ramsay’s favourite four-letter expletive) in 2005.

However, the Michelin starred chef ended up having a brush with death when filming this show.

Ramsay had an accident when filming out on a hike in Iceland when he fell as he descended a rock face.

The fiery chef hit the water, and his heavy boots only pulled him down further, causing the chef to panic despite being an excellent swimmer.

“I thought I was a goner,” Ramsay later said. “They say cats have nine lives. I’ve had 12 already and I don’t know how many more I’ll have.

“I didn’t tell [Tana] at first, 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.”



Gordon has banned his kids from turning away from meat

American viewers loved Ramsay’s explosive personality as this opened the door for an adaptation of his hit show Kitchen Nightmares, which debuted in September 2007.

That, in turn, led to the American productions of MasterChef in 2010 and MasterChef Junior in 2013, with Ramsay heading the group of judges.

In 2012, he added another show to his schedule, a variation of his “save a failing establishment” theme with Hotel Hell.

The latter show, which Ramsay co-hosted, featured amateur cooks competing for cash prizes and a cookbook contract.

In 2017 Ramsay appeared in the two-part British documentary series Gordon on Cocaine, about the illegal drug.

During his ITV documentary Gordon Ramsay on Cocaine, Ramsay tests the restrooms in his restaurant for substances and finds cocaine in both the staff and guest facilities.

“I called a meeting,” Ramsay told Jonathan Ross. “I didn’t throw anyone under the bus, I didn’t single anyone out. I just said, ‘Look, this is everywhere, it’s spotted in the restaurants and it needs to stop.'”

Two years later Gordon Ramsay: Uncharted made its debut; the TV show followed Ramsay as he traveled the world to experience different cuisines and cultures.

Now, Gordon is ready to front his brand new BBC show Future Food Stars, set to air on BBC One at 9pm on March 31.

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