Gordon Ramsay: A Career Retrospective
By: Leyuan Zhou
Take a look around Las Vegas Boulevard, London, or any other place in the world, and there’s a good chance you’ll find one of the many boutique restaurants owned by the renowned celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay. With a career spanning more than thirty years, his exquisite cooking and one-of-a-kind temperament have led him to be both a praiseworthy and controversial figure in the modern world of cuisine.
Ramsay, a multi-Michelin starred chef, has opened numerous restaurants across the globe and hosted various internationally-broadcasted television series. Born in Johnstone, Renfrewshire, and raised in Stratford-upon-Avon, Ramsay’s family moved constantly due to the aspirations and failures of his father, a violent alcoholic. Initially, he aspired to become a professional soccer player. However, when an injury put a sudden end to his hopes of a promising soccer career, Ramsay enrolled at North Oxfordshire Technical College to study hotel management.
In the mid-1980s, he began working as a commis chef at the Wroxton House Hotel, and subsequently pursued multiple jobs in London until he became inspired to work for Marco Pierre White, a British chef, at a restaurant called Harveys. Ramsay decided to pursue French cuisine by moving to Paris a few years later in order to work with Guy Savoy and Joel Robuchon, two Michelin-starred chefs. After three years of training in France, he took a year to work as a personal chef on the private yacht Idlewild, which allowed him to travel to Sicily and Sardinia, Italy, and learn about Italian cuisine.
When he returned to London in 1993, Ramsay became the head chef, under chef-patron Pierre Koffmann, at La Tante Claire in Chelsea, a three-Michelin-starred restaurant. Shortly after, Ramsay became the head chef at the Rossmore (later renamed Aubergine) and helped win the restaurant’s first Michelin star fourteen months later, followed by another in 1997. However, Ramsay’s ambitious aspirations to establish his own restaurant led him to leave Aubergine. He later described this decision as “the most important day of my entire cooking career; the most important decision of my life.”
In 1998, with the help of his father-in-law and former colleagues at Aubergine, Ramsay opened his own restaurant in Chelsea, Restaurant Gordon Ramsay. In 2001, the restaurant earned its third Michelin star, and was ranked by The Good Food Guide as the second best in the UK, surpassed by only The Fat Duck in Bray, Berkshire.
Ramsay’s empire expanded rapidly after the establishment of his first restaurant. Over the next decade, he proceeded to open several successful restaurants around the world. These restaurants include Le Pressoir D'argent in Bordeaux, Gordon Ramsay Hell’s Kitchen in Las Vegas, and Union City Cafe in London.
However, Restaurant Gordon Ramsay, Ramsay’s flagship restaurant in London, remains his most significant achievement so far among his vast chain of businesses. Offering French, British, and European cuisine, Restaurant Gordon Ramsay is the epitome of contemporary elegance, creative flair, and delicate finesse. Holding three Michelin stars for 17 years, the restaurant creates a calm and intimate atmosphere by only allowing seating for 44 guests. Ramsay’s dishes are elegant, balanced, and flavorful; made with both confidence and a profoundly light sense of touch.
In 1996, Ramsay married Cayetana Elizabeth Hutcheson, a Montessori schoolteacher, and they have five children: Megan, Holly, Jack, Matilda, and Oscar. The family currently resides between Los Angeles, California, and Wandsworth Common, London. On June 7, 2017, Ramsay’s father-in-law, Chris Hutcheson, was accused and jailed for six months for conspiring to hack a computer system connected to the Ramsay family’s business interests. Until 2010, he was responsible for the business operations of Ramsay’s restaurant empire.
Beginning from the early 2000s, Ramsay’s culinary success landed him various roles in kitchen documentaries. The reality shows, aired in the United States and the United Kingdom, include Hell’s Kitchen (2005-), Masterchef (2010-), 24 Hours to Hell and Back (2018-2020), Kitchen Nightmares (2007-2014), Hotel Hell (2012-2016), and Masterchef Junior (2013-). Audiences of these shows are not only captivated by Ramsay’s culinary expertise, but also by his hot temper, foul mouth, and brutal comments to fellow actors, something that is surprisingly entertaining to watch. The incredibly talented chef has successfully created a career in both the kitchen and television screen.
Gordon Ramsay’s restaurants have already been awarded an impressive sixteen Michelin stars in total, seven of which are still present in his empire today. The masterful chef’s many internationally acclaimed dishes are unique testaments to his magnificent culinary flair. In the past few decades, Ramsay has made significant contributions to the restaurant, hotel, and entertainment industry, and there are simply no limits as to what he can achieve in the future.