Gordon Ramsay, who was born in Scotland in 1966, abandoned an early sporting career to become a well-known chef in London. By the early 2000s, he had established his mark on British television as the volatile host of Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares and Hell’s Kitchen, series that were well received by American audiences.
Since then, the award-winning chef has increased his celebrity brand through shows like MasterChef and Hotel Hell, as well as by building more restaurants throughout the world.
Gordon James Ramsay was born on November 8, 1966, in Johnstone, Scotland, and reared in Stratford-upon-Avon, England, after his family relocated there when he was five years old. Ramsay’s first love was soccer, and he aspired to be a professional player. Ramsay joined the Glasgow Rangers, a professional team, when he was 15 years old.
His tenure with the team lasted three years, until a knee injury ended his career in 1985. Ramsay returned to school after being forced to start anew, getting a degree in hotel management in 1987.
Top Chef and Entrepreneur
After completing his studies, Ramsay worked under the supervision of some of Europe’s greatest chefs. He apprenticed under Marco Pierre White at Harvey’s in London, then worked for Albert Roux at Le Gavroche before moving to France to train under great chefs Joel Robuchon and Guy Savoy.
In 1993, Ramsay ventured out on his own as head chef of the newly launched Aubergine in London, where he earned the restaurant a Michelin two-star rating over the course of three years. More personal acclaim came in 1995, when Ramsay was named Newcomer of the Year at the renowned Catey Awards, a restaurant and hotel industry equivalent of the Oscars.
When the restaurant’s finances soured, Ramsay resigned and founded his own restaurant, Restaurant Gordon Ramsay, in London in 1998. The restaurant was hailed as a destination for high-end diners and eventually acquired a three-star rating from Michelin.
The following years were a blur for the ambitious, hard-driving, and volatile Ramsay. He launched several new restaurants, including Petrus and a second Gordon Ramsay restaurant in London, as well as Verre in Dubai.
Ramsay, who was named Chef of the Year at the 2000 Catey Awards and Independent Restaurateur of the Year in 2006, expanded his restaurant empire to the United States in 2006 with the inauguration of two locations at The London NYC. Since then, the celebrity chef has spread his brand into nations such as South Africa, Australia, and Canada.
Ramsay’s television career began in 1996, when he appeared as a judge on the BBC’s competitive cookery show MasterChef. In 1999, he was the subject of the British documentary miniseries Boiling Point, which followed him as he established his first restaurant. Following the popularity of that documentary, a follow-up miniseries, Beyond Boiling Point, was released in 2000.
In the spring of 2004, Ramsey was hired to anchor two programs: In Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares, he attempted to turn around failed restaurants, while in Hell’s Kitchen, he hosted a cooking competition among ten celebrities, with viewers voting off finalists.
With reality television in full swing in the United States, Ramsay decided to make the leap across the Atlantic. In May 2005, FOX debuted an American version of Hell’s Kitchen, which put prospective restaurateurs under the severe scrutiny of the show’s presenter. American spectators, like their British counterparts, learnt to love and despise the aggressive chef as he whittled the field of hopefuls down to one final champion. Meanwhile, back in the United Kingdom, he debuted The F Word, a new culinary series.
Ramsay’s outstanding ratings in the United States paved the way for a Kitchen Nightmares adaptation, which debuted in September 2007. This resulted in the American versions of MasterChef (2010) and MasterChef Junior (2013), with Ramsay presiding over the panel of judges. In 2012, he added another event to his program, Hotel Hell, a variant on his “save a failing establishment” concept.
Ramsay has written more than 20 books in addition to his work on TV and at his restaurants. Gordon Ramsay Holdings Limited has combined his different enterprises.
Ramsay was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire in 2006 for his excellent record of success. He was inducted into the Culinary Hall of Fame in 2013.
In 1996, Ramsay married Cayetana Elizabeth “Tana” Hutcheson, a schoolteacher. Megan, twins Holly and Jack, Matilda, Oscar, and their new baby are their six children. The Gordon and Tana Ramsay Foundation was formed in 2014 to benefit the Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity.