The Michelin Maestro: The Unstoppable Rise of Gordon Ramsay
Michelin star chef, renowned restaurateur, award-winning author – Gordon Ramsay OBE has achieved some incredible feats throughout this enviable career and, as he turns 57, there’s set to be plenty more where that came from…
When you think of Gordon Ramsay, what initially comes to mind? While it may be his colourful language and sharp rebukes of chef-students and reality show competitors, there’s no denying that when it comes to his talents as a world-renowned chef, he is truly one of the best in the business.
A name synonymous with culinary excellence, television stardom and a relentless pursuit of perfection in the kitchen, Ramsay was born in Scotland and is fiercely proud of his Scottish roots. Born on November 8, 1966, in St. Johnstone, Scotland, he was then raised in Stratford-upon-Avon in England, where his family moved when he was five years old.
The Early Years: From Football Fanatic, to Budding Chef
Ramsay's early life was marked by challenges that laid the foundation for his remarkable resilience and ambition. Raised in a working-class family, he faced struggles and hardships from a young age, with his family's constant financial adversities compelling him to work various odd jobs, including newspaper delivery and as a pot washer, to make ends meet.
At an early age, Ramsay decided to pursue a career in professional football, joining Glasgow Rangers Youth Academy at 15, with his family moving back to Scotland for the opportunity. Sadly, three years later, a knee injury ended his dreams of making it to the big time, and instead the budding chef moved to London at 19 to pursue a culinary career.
Ramsay trained under esteemed chefs such as Marco Pierre White, Joel Robuchon and Albert Roux, honing his skills and developing a profound understanding of the culinary world. This period served as a crucial stepping stone in his career and allowed him to gain valuable experience that would later shape his much-lauded approach to cooking.
Gordon Ramsay: The Rise of a Culinary Legend
Gordon Ramsay's career has been defined by several standout moments that catapulted him to international stardom, kicking off when he first became head chef of London’s newly-opened Aubergine restaurant at the age of 27. In just three years he earned the restaurant a two-star Michelin rating and, in 1995, he was named Newcomer of the Year at the prestigious Catey Awards.
Three years later Ramsay went on to open his first eponymous restaurant, Restaurant Gordon Ramsay, in London, which eventually received three Michelin stars. Today, he has expanded his empire globally, with a whopping 58 restaurants and counting in countries including the UK, China, US and Malaysia.
In recognition of his dedication to the trade, Ramsey was awarded an Order Of The British Empire (OBE) in 2006 by her majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, making him one of few chefs so honoured with this major award.
Gordon Ramsay: Star of the Small Screen
Not content with staying behind the scenes, Ramsay’s appearances on popular TV shows like Hell's Kitchen, Kitchen Nightmares and MasterChef endeared him to a broad audience, making him both a household name and also the highest-earning chef in the world at one time. His Christmas Cookalongs are firmly cemented in British Christmas tradition, and, more recently, his TV series Gordon, Gino and Fred has had audiences loving the cameraderie between the two chefs (Gordon, plus longtime friend Gino D'Acampo) and the sommelier Fred Siriex, as they travel the world sampling local food and drink and inevitably falling out, getting into scrapes and bonding as friends.
It was his TV career that saw him rise to fame in the USA and become a world-renowned name. (They know him as 'Chef Ramsay.') As well as several chart-topping cookbooks, he's also got his own line of food products, a TV production company (Studio Ramsay) and his own homeware range in partnership with Waterford Wedgewood.
Gordon Ramsay, Family Man
Ramsay has been married to wife Tana for 26 years, with the couple sharing five children – the youngest being baby Jess, born on 12 November 2023, just days after Gordon's 57th birthday. It was something of an unexpected surprise to many, although perhaps the clues were laid out in January 2021, when the pair made headlines for appearing to suggest they were expecting their sixth child.
"She's not pregnant, but we are contemplating," he told the Daily Mail of his wife in 2021. "We discussed having another baby. I said it was a great idea. She said: 'Well, let's start planning.' So I'm like: 'Oh my god, just pause for two seconds. I'm going to be the oldest dad at school, what's going to happen on sports day?'" Seemingly, being the oldest Dad wasn't a concern, after all.
One of his daughters, Tilly, also seems to be following in her fathers' footsteps, appearing as a contestant on MasterChef Australia in 2022.
While he may be renowned for his tough persona in the kitchen, Ramsay has a softer side when it comes to giving back to the community. The Ramsays are well-known philanthropists, and run The Gordon and Tana Ramsay Foundation which helps to support the Great Ormond Street Hospital Children's Charity to "give some of the sickest children the best chance in life," according to the chef’s website.
There are rumours that Ramsay will also leave his fortunes to charity after his death, having shocked the world in 2017 when he told the Telegraph that he would not be leaving a penny to his children in his will.
"[My money is] definitely not going to them, and that's not in a mean way; it's to not spoil them," he said. "The only thing I've agreed with Tana is they get a 25 per cent deposit on a flat, but not the whole flat.”
Gordon Ramsay: With Age Comes Wisdom
As Gordon Ramsay has aged, his perspective on life and career has evolved. He recognises that ageing brings wisdom and experience, which can be invaluable in the culinary world, and has spoken about his commitment to maintaining his energy and drive, embracing the challenges that come with getting older.
Ramsay also emphasises the importance of staying relevant in the ever-evolving world of cuisine and believes in constantly learning and adapting to new trends while remaining true to his culinary roots.
His is a career that has been defined by remarkable achievements, unyielding standards and the ability to overcome challenges. As he ages, Ramsay continues to inspire both budding chefs and food enthusiasts with his passion for the art of cooking and his pursuit of perfection in the kitchen.
We’ll eat to that!