Hell’s Kitchen: Master Chef Gordon Ramsay
Hometown: London, England
Occupation: World Class Chef
Scottish by birth, Gordon Ramsay was brought up in England after his parents moved south to Stratford-upon-Avon. His first career break came while playing football for Oxford United, where he was spotted by a Glasgow Rangers scout in a F.A. youth club match. After completing trials, he was signed by the Scottish champions at age 15. Three years later he gave up professional football and went back to college to complete a course in hotel management.
Ramsay then moved to London, where he joined Chef Marco Pierre White in the early days of Harvey’s in Wandsworth. After a couple of years, he moved to Le Gavroche to work alongside Albert Roux. This was followed by three years of working in France in the kitchens of Guy Savoy and Joel Roubuchon. Here he was able to enhance his expertise in classic French cooking.
In October 1993, Ramsay became chef of the newly opened Aubergine where he won many accolades, including two Michelin stars within three years of its debut.
Chef Ramsay published his first cookbook, Passion for Flavour, in October 1996. His second book, Passion for Seafood, was published in May 1999. A Chef for All Seasons was published in September 2000, followed by Just Desserts in September 2001, Secrets in 2003, Gordon Ramsay Makes It Easy in 2005, Gordon Ramsay’s Sunday Lunch in 2006 and Gordon Ramsay’s Fast Food. His latest cookbook, Gordon Ramsay’s Healthy Appetite, was published in May 2008 and is the current No. 1 best-seller in the U.K. To date, Ramsay has sold over 4 million cookbooks worldwide.
In 1998, at age 31, Ramsay set up his first wholly owned restaurant, Gordon Ramsay, on the former site of La Tante Claire in Chelsea. Widely considered to be his flagship restaurant, Gordon Ramsay underwent a major refurbishment in 2006 and remains London’s most sought-after dining establishment.
In 1999, Ramsay opened PÃ©trus in St. James’s. Within seven months the restaurant won a Michelin star, and after relocating to Knightsbridge in 2003, won its second Michelin star in January 2007. In October 2001, Ramsay opened Gordon Ramsay at Claridge’s, which gained a Michelin star in 2003.
At the beginning of October 2002, Gordon Ramsay Holdings Limited took over the food and beverage operation at The Connaught Hotel with Angela Hartnett at the helm. Her restaurant, MENU, won its first Michelin star in January 2004, which it retained until GRH decided not to renew its contract with The Connaught in 2007. In 2003, Gordon Ramsay Holdings re-launched The Savoy Grill, and the restaurant achieved its Michelin star in 2004. This was later followed with the opening of Boxwood Cafe at The Berkeley.
May 2004 saw Ramsay star in Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares, a series of four one-hour programs that was honored with two BAFTA Awards and an International Emmy. The program was launched simultaneously with the recipe book Gordon Ramsay’s Kitchen Heaven. Shortly after this, Ramsay was given two weeks to direct a group of celebrities toward Michelin-standard cooking in the hit ITV series Hell’s Kitchen.
The following year confirmed Ramsay as a major television talent. A second season of Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares was followed by the very successful U.S. version of Hell’s Kitchen for FOX. November saw the debut of The F-Word, a high-octane food show with cooking, food campaigns and celebrity guests. The action was set against the backdrop of a working kitchen, and over the course of the show, Ramsay and his brigade prepared three-course menus for diners.
In May 2005, Ramsay opened Maze Grill in London’s Grosvenor Square with Jason Atherton. Winning instant acclaim and a host of awards, Maze showcases a flexible grazing menu focusing on French cuisine with Asian influences in an informal and relaxed environment. In July 2005 Ramsay opened his first restaurant in Japan at The Conrad Tokyo. The year was rounded off with Gordon’s award of an OBE (Order of the British Empire) in the New Year’s Honours list.
In 2006, a third season of Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares aired in the U.K., and Season Two of Hell’s Kitchen on FOX ranked No. 1 in its time period among key demographics. In the U.K., a second season of The F-Word was screened in June and garnered strong ratings. In May, a range of Gordon Ramsay tableware became available through a partnership with Royal Doulton. In October of the same year, Ramsay’s autobiography, Humble Pie, was published by Harper Collins. The book, which gives an honest account of his life in and out of the kitchen, topped many of the best-seller charts.
In November 2006 Gordon Ramsay made his U.S. restaurant debut with the opening of Gordon Ramsay at The London, in The London NYC Hotel, in New York. The formal dining takes cues from Restaurant Gordon Ramsay on Royal Hospital Road in Chelsea, whereas The London Bar offers a more casual dining and bar experience, modeled on the small-plates concept of Maze. The restaurant was awarded two coveted Michelin stars in 2007.
Gordon Ramsay Holdings opened Cielo at the exclusive Boca Raton Resort and Club in Florida in January 2007. In March, Ramsay opened his first pub, The Narrow in London’s Limehouse. Located on the banks of the Thames River, The Narrow serves classic British dishes in a relaxed setting.
The fifth international Gordon Ramsay restaurant opened in Ireland toward the end of the year at The Ritz-Carlton, Powerscourt. Ramsay opened his second pub in the fall, The Devonshire, in Chiswick, and in November Gordon opened Maze at the Hilton Prague Old Town.
In October 2007 Quadrille published Gordon Ramsay Three Star Chef, a beautifully produced coffee table book containing fifty of Gordon’s signature dishes from Restaurant Gordon Ramsay. October was also the month that saw the publication of Playing with Fire, Gordon’s follow up to Humble Pie. Published by HarperCollins, the book gives an insight into the success of the chef and his company Gordon Ramsay Holdings.
The following year proved to be another busy one for Ramsay. January saw the re-opening of Chelsea’s classic neighborhood bistro, Foxtrot Oscar, on Royal Hospital Road, just a few doors away from Ramsay’s eponymous restaurant. In early February, Gordon Ramsay Holdings added the stunning Victorian pub, The Warrington in Maida Vale, to its growing portfolio.
In March 2008, Ramsay opened his first restaurant in France at the legendary Trianon Palace & Spa, a 199-room hotel located just steps away from the famed ChÃ¢teau de Versailles. March was also the month that Ramsay opened Plane Food at the newly built, Richard Rogers-designed Terminal 5 at London’s Heathrow Airport.
In April 2008 Maze Grill opened in London’s Grosvenor Square, directly adjacent to Maze. Inspired by classic New York steakhouses, Maze Grill serves a wide range of cuts of meat and fish cooked over coal. The restaurant features butcher’s block tables that allow guests the opportunity to watch the chefs work.
June 2008 saw the opening of Gordon Ramsay at The London West Hollywood in Los Angeles, which came in the midst of Hell’s Kitchen Season Four. In August 2008, Ramsay, along with protÃ©gÃ© Angela Hartnett, opened Murano, a fine-dining restaurant in the heart of London’s Mayfair that was awarded a star in the 2009 UK Michelin Guide.
At the end of September 2008, Ramsay opened York and Albany, which is located in a historic William Nash-designed building on the edge of Regent’s Park in London. It is composed of a restaurant with a bar, a delicatessen and guest accommodations.
In January 2009, the premiere of Hell’s Kitchen Season Five garnered record-setting ratings. April 2009 saw the launch of Maze by Gordon Ramsay at the One & Only Cape Town. Modeled on its British namesake, the menu evokes the bountiful flavors of authentic South African recipes.
In July 2009, nestled within one of Italy’s most beautiful stretches of countryside, the Ombrone Valley, Gordon opened a fine dining restaurant at the exclusive Castel Monastero hotel.