Gordon Ramsay, the hot-headed chef inspires the world one dish at a time with his passion, work ethic, and self-confidence. His empire stands at a whopping $190 million, and with his restaurants knocking Asian doors, it’s only a matter of time before he becomes a billion-dollar chef. His restaurants have been awarded an extra-ordinary 16 Michelin stars, 7 of which remain retained. Adding to his popularity are his numerous successful TV shows, books, and appearances on various world stage events.
Gordon Ramsay attributes his success to the struggles of his childhood that ignited a fire in his belly to make it through in life successfully. He was born on November 8, 1966, in Glasgow, Scotland and raised in Stratford-upon-Avon, England. He is said to have changed as many as 17 schools between the ages of 5 and 17! Having raised by an alcoholic father, and a mother who worked as a cook in the day, and as a nurse during nights, one can only imagine the turbulent state of mind of Gordon while growing up. Not many know that Ramsay’s first love was Soccer. When he was 15, he joined the Glasgow Rangers, a pro club, and played for three years professionally; until his knee was prematurely injured in 1985, halting all his aspirations of becoming a professional player. Disheartened, he returned to school and earned a degree in hotel management in 1987. Turns out, he had an inherent knack for cooking! He became so passionate about cooking, that after graduation he placed himself under the top European chefs and learnt tricks of the trade from the pioneers of his time. 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 undertook the kitchen of the newly opened Aubergine in London as the head chef, and in just two years, earned the hotel a two-star rating from Michelin. His star was on the rise. He was awarded the “Newcomer of the Year” at the prestigious Catey Awards, an Oscars-like event for the restaurant and hotel business. In 1998, when the restaurant’s financial backing became shaky, Gordon put his towel down and decided to venture out on his own. He opened “Restaurant Gordon Ramsay” in London; a place for high-end foodies, that eventually earned a three-star rating from Michelin. Gordon was a Stalwart, driven by a stubborn ambition to succeed; however, without compromising on his promise of perfection. He opened numerous restaurants in the coming future, including Petrus and a second Gordon Ramsay in London, and eventually Verre in Dubai. He was named “Chef of the Year” in 2000, and “Independent Restauner of the Year” in 2006 by the Catey awards. In 2006, Gordon decided to go global with his love for cooking and hospitality, thus expanding to USA, Australia, Canada, and South Africa.
While his cooking and business skills earned him accolades from his fraternity, it is his TV show appearances that earned him the celebrity status. In 1996, he appeared as a judge on BBC’ competitive cooking show- Masterchef. From here on, he appeared in multiple documentaries and shows, including the “Boiling point” which tracked his work life and shed light on his struggles and success story of opening his first restaurant. He also started his own TV production company, that has produced successful shows such as Hell’s Kitchen, The F Word, Kitchen Nightmares, and Hotel Hell. He has written over 20 best-selling cooking books. Honouring him for his achievement, Gordon Ramsay was named Officer of the Order of the British Empire in 2006. In 2013, he was inducted into the Culinary Hall of Fame.
His story might appear a fairytale, but it is far from it. Till date, he has opened 49 restaurants out of which 23 have been shut down. He had to suffer losses that apparently run in millions. Besides, he has had his fair share of controversies which includes him being accused of scripting his reality shows. Notoriously called as “The Bad Boy of British Cuisine”, he is famous for his legendary temper in the kitchen. He has explained his harsh behaviour stating that the pressure in the kitchen and his expectation of making a perfect dish from his staff take a toll on him at times, and to deal with that pressure he has never taken any drugs- a common practice in his profession.
Anyhow, undeterred by failures and criticism, Gordon stands tall and true to his love for his profession. In fact, people who have met him personally have only vouched for his grace and humility. During an AMA on Reddit, he gave priceless advice to a struggling chef and also offered to help him professionally.
Despite his controversial public image, he is known to be a loving family man. Having a troubled childhood, Gordon is making sure he lives up to the expectations of his family. He married a school teacher- Cayetana Elizabeth “Tana” Hutcheson in 1996. They have five children: Megan, twins Holly and Jack, Matilda, and a new-born son. Gordon and Tana together set up the Gordon and Tana Ramsay Foundation to support the Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity.
With all his successes and failures, Gordon Ramsay’s story is a realization of how a fire in the belly and a chip on the shoulder can dramatically change a person’s destiny. One can either cry over their misfortune at birth, or invoke their Gordon Ramsay within and cook the delicacy of life with the ingredients of hard work, patience, and fierce passion.