Interview: Gordon Ramsay
With a level of critical acclaim rivalled only by his vast commercial success, one might think that Gordon Ramsay, the fiery-tongued host of Kitchen Nightmares, The F Word and Hell’s Kitchen, had signed a deal with the Devil himself. Currently ranked third in the world by the Michelin star rating for his string of internationally celebrated restaurants including Gordon Ramsay at The London NYC and Gordon Ramsay at The London West Hollywood, Ramsay has authored several best-selling books; his latest volume Gordon Ramsay’s World Kitchen (2010 Key Porter) was published in September 2010.
Ramsay, a Scottish-born British transplant, had a professional football career cut short when an injury forced him to explore other avenues. Eighteen, rudderless and lacking the requirements to join the British Royal Navy or the police force, Ramsay enrolled in a local catering college — a decision he describes as a complete accident. Several kitchens later, after working under renowned chefs such as Guy Savoy and Marco Pierre White, the talented Ramsay rose to the top. He remains a favourite among the celebrity set, dyed-in-the-wool foodies and reality show fans alike, but his fame and fortune haven’t changed the way he views a good meal: best enjoyed at home with his wife, Tana, and their four children.
House & Home: Describe what you like most about your home.
Gordon Ramsay: We have an incredible kitchen on the ground floor. It has an oven the size of a car with an extractor fan that is so powerful it makes the girls’ hair stand on end.
H&H: How would you describe your sense of style?
GR: When I’m outside the kitchen, it’s jeans and a T-shirt, something comfortable and functional. My home is designed the same way — simple furnishings and decor, but all of it functional, not cluttered with useless objects and figurines. With the children running around the house, those things would never survive.
H&H: Describe your perfect vacation getaway.
GR: I recently went on a holiday to Thailand with Tana and the kids. That was a fantastic experience for us all; the people there were so friendly, the scenery was just stunning, and the food was incredibly fresh. I’m active every day and always en route somewhere, whether it’s to check in on my restaurants or film a show, so when it comes to a holiday I really just want to relax with my family.
H&H: What cities and cultures do you find inspiring at the moment?
GR: I’ve always been fascinated and impressed with Asia, and often incorporate their aesthetic and flavours into my restaurants and dishes. They really know how to present things simply, but perfectly and beautifully. I’m also completely blown away whenever I’m in New York — the pace of the city is unlike any other, and the variety of restaurants is incredible. I’ve also been spending a lot of time in L.A., now that my restaurant at The London West Hollywood has opened — it’s such an energetic, vibrant city.
H&H: What’s your idea of a perfect night out?
GR: Surrounded by family and friends, with a fantastic meal and a nice bottle of wine. That’s about as close to perfect as it gets.
H&H: What is the best gift you’ve ever received?
GR: Tana just bought me a Ducati Desmosedici, an incredible bike with 200 HP.
H&H: Finish this sentence: “I feel most comfortable when…”
GR: I’m at home in London having Sunday lunch with my family.
H&H: What makes you get out of bed in the morning?
GR: My kids wake me up — they’re all under 10, so there is never any sleeping in, which suits me just fine; I like getting an early start, whether I’m headed off for a busy day of service or spending the day at home.