Scottish chef and restaurateur
Gordon Ramsay, (born November 8, 1966, Johnstone, Scotland), is a Scottish chef and restaurateur known for his highly acclaimed restaurants and cookbooks but perhaps best known in the early 21st century for the profanity and fiery temper that he freely displayed on television cooking programs.
As a young boy, Ramsay moved with his family from Scotland to England, where he was raised in Stratford-upon-Avon. He played association football (soccer) for the Oxford United youth team, and at age 15 he was courted by the Scottish Premier League Glasgow Rangers. A knee injury ultimately prevented him from pursuing a career in football.
After earning a vocational diploma in hotel management from North Oxon Technical College in 1987, he moved to London and began honing his culinary skills under chef Marco Pierre White at the restaurant Harvey’s and under chef Albert Roux at La Gavroche. During the early 1990s Ramsay travelled to France, where he prepared classic French cuisine in the kitchens of master chefs Joël Robuchon and Guy Savoy. In 1993 Ramsay returned to London and became head chef of Aubergine, which by 1996 had won two of a maximum of three stars from the Michelin Guide, a highly regarded hotel- and restaurant-ranking publication.
In 1998 Ramsay opened his own restaurant, the acclaimed Gordon Ramsay, which within three years won its third Michelin star and was rated as one of the best restaurants in the world. In 1999 he 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). In 2001 Ramsay launched his first international restaurant, Verre, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates; he ended his association with the restaurant in 2011. His first American location, Gordon Ramsay at the London, opened in 2006 in New York City (closed in 2014), and in 2008 Gordon Ramsay au Trianon began serving in Versailles (outside Paris). He later opened ventures in such locales as Japan, Australia, and South Africa.
Aside from his multimillion-dollar restaurant business, Ramsay achieved star status as a television personality. In 2004 he launched the award-winning British series Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares, in which he endeavoured to turn failing restaurants into profitable enterprises, and Hell’s Kitchen, in which he took on the challenge of turning aspiring restaurateurs into quality chefs; the former ended in 2014 and the latter in 2009. By 2007 he had begun starring in American versions of both shows, and Hotel Hell—in which the formula of Hell’s Kitchen was applied to the lodging industry—began airing in the United States in 2012. The U.S. version of Kitchen Nightmares ended in 2014. Ramsay’s other TV programs included The F-Word (a play on the word food and Ramsay’s favourite four-letter expletive), which premiered in the United Kingdom in 2005, and an American version of MasterChef that debuted in 2010. The latter show, which Ramsay cohosted, featured amateur cooks competing for cash prizes and a cookbook contract. MasterChef Junior, which had children as contestants, began airing in 2013 in the United States. In 2017 Ramsay appeared in the two-part British documentary series Gordon on Cocaine, about the illegal drug. Two years later Gordon Ramsay: Uncharted made its debut; the TV show followed Ramsay as he travelled the world to experience different cuisines and cultures.
Beginning with Gordon Ramsay’s Passion for Flavour (1996), Ramsay published numerous best-selling cookbooks. He wrote the autobiographical volumes Humble Pie (2006) and Gordon Ramsay’s Playing with Fire (2007).