|“||When you're good at something, it creates a confidence; when you are insecure about something, it creates an arrogance.||”|
Gordon James Ramsay, Jr. (born November 8, 1966) is the main host and a judge for MasterChef and MasterChef Junior. He is also the host of Hell's Kitchen, Kitchen Nightmares (known in the UK as Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares), Hotel Hell, and 24 Hours to Hell and Back in the U.S. In the UK, he hosted the first series of Hell's Kitchen (which used celebrities), and also hosts the instructional cooking shows Gordon Ramsay's Home Cooking and Gordon Ramsay's Ultimate Cookery Course. He also hosts both the UK and U.S. versions of The F Word.
Ramsay was born on 8 November 1966 in Johnstone, Renfrewshire. From the age of nine, he was raised in Stratford-upon-Avon. Ramsay is the second of four children. He has an older sister, a younger brother (who Ramsay revealed had been imprisoned for heroin possession as a juvenile), and a younger sister. Ramsay's father, Gordon James Sr., was—at various times—a swimming pool manager, a welder, and a shopkeeper; his sister and their mother, Helen (née Cosgrove), have been nurses.
Ramsay has described his early life as "hopelessly itinerant" and said his family moved constantly due to the aspirations and failures of his father, who was a sometimes violent alcoholic. In his autobiography, Humble Pie, he describes his early life as being marked by abuse and neglect from this "hard-drinking womaniser". In 1976, they finally settled in Stratford-upon-Avon, where he grew up in the Bishopton area of the town. He worked as a pot washer in a local Indian restaurant where his sister was a waitress. At the age of 16, Ramsay moved out of the family home and into a flat in Banbury.
Early cooking career
By this time, Ramsay's interest in cooking had already begun, and rather than be known as "the football player with the gammy knee", Ramsay decided to pay more serious attention to his culinary education at age 19. Ramsay enrolled at North Oxfordshire Technical College, sponsored by the Rotarians, to study hotel management. He describes his decision to enter catering college as "an accident, a complete accident."
In the mid-1980s, he worked as a commis chef at the Wroxton House Hotel, then ran the kitchen and 60-seat dining room at the Wickham Arms, until his sexual relationship with the owner's wife made the situation difficult. Ramsay then moved to London, where he worked in a series of restaurants until being inspired to work for the temperamental Marco Pierre White at Harveys.
After working at Harveys for two years and ten months, Ramsay, tired of "the rages and the bullying and violence", decided that the way to further advance his career was to study French cuisine. White discouraged Ramsay from taking a job in Paris, instead encouraging him to work for Albert Roux at Le Gavroche in Mayfair, where he met Jean-Claude Breton, later his maître d'hôtel at Restaurant Gordon Ramsay. After working at Le Gavroche for a year, Albert Roux invited Ramsay to work with him at Hotel Diva, a ski resort in the French Alps, as his number two. From there, a 23-year-old Ramsay moved to Paris to work with Guy Savoy and Joël Robuchon, both Michelin-starred chefs. In Master Chef series 3 episode 18, Gordon Ramsay stated that Guy Savoy was his mentor. He continued his training in France for three years, before giving in to the physical and mental stress of the kitchens and taking a year to work as a personal chef on the private yacht Idlewild, based in Bermuda. The role on the boat saw him travel to Sicily and Sardinia, Italy, and learn about Italian cuisine.
Upon his return to London in 1993, Ramsay was offered the position of head chef, under chef-patron Pierre Koffmann, at the three-Michelin-starred La Tante Claire in Chelsea. Shortly thereafter, Marco Pierre White reentered his life, offering to set him up with a head chef position and 10% share in the Rossmore, owned by White's business partners. The restaurant was renamed Aubergine and went on to win its first Michelin star fourteen months later. In 1997, Aubergine won its second Michelin star. Despite the restaurant's success, a dispute with Ramsay's business owners, who wanted to turn Aubergine into a chain, and Ramsay's dream of running his own restaurant led to his leaving the partnership in July 1998. He has described the decision to set out on his own as "the most important day of my entire cooking career; the most important decision of my life".
In 1998, Ramsay opened his own restaurant in Chelsea, Restaurant Gordon Ramsay, with the help of his father-in-law, Chris Hutcheson, and his former colleagues at Aubergine. The restaurant gained its third Michelin star in 2001, making Ramsay the first Scot to achieve that feat. In 2011, The Good Food Guide listed Restaurant Gordon Ramsay as the second best in the UK, only bettered by The Fat Duck in Bray, Berkshire.
After establishing his first restaurant, Ramsay's empire expanded rapidly. He next opened Pétrus, then Amaryllis in Glasgow (which he was later forced to close), and later Gordon Ramsay at Claridge's. He hired his friend and maître d'hôtel Jean-Philippe Susilovic, who works at Pétrus and also appears on Ramsay's US TV show Hell's Kitchen. Restaurants at the Dubai Creek and Connaught hotels followed, the latter branded with his protegee Angela Hartnett's name. Ramsay has opened restaurants outside the UK, beginning with Verre in Dubai. Two restaurants, Gordon Ramsay at Conrad Tokyo and Cerise by Gordon Ramsay, both opened in Tokyo in 2005. In November 2006, Gordon Ramsay at the London opened in New York City, winning top newcomer in the city's coveted Zagat guide, despite mixed reviews from professional critics.
In 2007, Ramsay opened his first restaurant in Ireland, Gordon Ramsay at Powerscourt, at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Powerscourt, County Wicklow. This restaurant closed in 2013. In May 2008, he opened his first restaurant in the Western US, in The London West Hollywood Hotel (formerly the Bel-Age Hotel) on the Sunset Strip in Los Angeles. The contract expired in 2015, closing the restaurant.
On 9 August 2011, Ramsay opened his first Canadian restaurant, Laurier Gordon Ramsay (at the former Rotisserie Laurier BBQ) in Montreal. In February 2012, Danny Lavy, the owner of the restaurant, announced the restaurant was disassociating itself from Ramsay, citing a lack of involvement and understanding on Ramsay's part. The restaurant closed in 2013.
Gordon Ramsay can be best described in two different lights. On one hand, he is shown to be a strict mentor with a short temper who holds high standards. While significantly calmer than his Hell's Kitchen persona, he still has his own limits, and would often get frustrated at a cook who serves a bad plate, performs poorly, or is even talking back to him. He is also shown to have a no nonsense attitude, and would act stern and harsh towards a cook who he believes is not taking the competition seriously. He is also prone to making one-liners, and would compare terribly served food to something else. On the other hand however, he is shown to be an encouraging, friendly, and kind mentor who does care for the home cooks' well beings and would often help them improve on their mistakes. There would also be many occasions where he gives praise to a home cook and would let them know if they are doing well.
This also applies to MasterChef Junior. However, as he is working with kids in this case, he tones down the language, but this does not stop him from being harsh with the kids should problems arise (i.e. raw food).
For Gordon Ramsay's quotes, go here.
- Gordon Ramsay on Twitter: @gordonramsay