Overall ranking: 1 (4)
Chef ranking: 1 (2)
Gordon Ramsay - Snapshot
Gordon Ramsay is perhaps the most influential and high-profile chef-restaurateur to emerge in recent years. Hailed as a culinary genius, he is as well-known to the public for his expletive-fuelled TV series and his inspirational cook books as for his empire of restaurants that are now spreading across the globe.
Gordon Ramsay Holdings (GRH) currently comprises nine London restaurants with eight Michelin stars.
Gordon Ramsay has become a key player on the world stage through his media work and his growing restaurant empire, which includes consultancies at the Dubai Hilton Creek hotel and the Conrad Tokyo, along with three planned US hotel restaurants.
Gordon Ramsay - Career guide
Born in Scotland in 1966, Gordon Ramsay gained experience between 1986 and 1989 at Maxim’s de Paris, Harvey’s (alongside Marco Pierre White) and Le Gavroche (with Albert Roux). From 1990, Ramsay spent three years with legendary French chefs Guy Savoy and Joel Robuchon.
He came to prominence in late 1993 as head chef of Aubergine in London, which he co-owned with A-Z Restaurants. In 1998 he opened Gordon Ramsay at Hospital Road in Chelsea, followed in 1999 by Pétrus in St James Street with Wareing as chef-patron. 2001 brought three new ventures – Amaryllis in Glasgow’s One Devonshire Gardens hotel, Gordon Ramsay at Claridge’s, and responsibility for food and drink at the Dubai Hilton Creek. Ramsay closed Amaryllis in December 2003.
In 2002 Ramsay installed Angela Hartnett to head up the food and beverage operation at London’s Connaught hotel. A frenetic 2003 saw Wareing take over the Savoy Grill, open Banquette above it, and move Pétrus into the Berkeley hotel and open La Fleur, while Ramsay opened his Boxwood Café (styled after a New York café) at the Berkeley. La Fleur closed in early 2004.
In early 2005, Ramsay teamed up with chef Ian Pengelley to open Pengelley’s at the Jumeirah Carlton Tower hotel. The same year saw Maze open at the London Marriott Hotel Grosvenor Square (under Jason Atherton) and two restaurants at the Conrad Tokyo.
In 2006, Ramsay converted Pengelley’s into La Noisette, headed by ex-Greenhouse chef Bjorn van der Horst, and will make his US debut in hotels in New York and Florida.
Gordon Ramsay - What we think
A knee injury thwarted Gordon Ramsay's promising football career with Glasgow Rangers but it catapulted a star player into the culinary field. Ramsay is one of only two British chefs to currently own a three Michelin-star restaurant and his group is the only one in the UK to hold a total of eight stars.
A 2003 Caterer survey of Michelin holders identified Ramsay as the third greatest living chef (after the Roux brothers and Marco Pierre White). Readers of Harden’s restaurant guides agreed, voting him the capital’s top chef in 2006 for the 11th year running and choosing five Ramsay restaurants for their top 10 best meals.
Ramsay’s eponymous Chelsea restaurant went from nought to three Michelin stars in just three years – a prize achieved by just five British restaurants. This success won Ramsay the Catey Chef Award in 2000 and, having won the Best Newcomer award in 1995, Ramsay went on to score hat trick in 2006 with the Independent Restaurateur of the Year accolade.
Ramsay’s 13 books have proved equally essential to professional chefs and lay cooks while his TV series– which include Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares, Hell’s Kitchen. The F Word and US spin-offs – have made him an international figurehead for the trade. His international reputation won him an OBE in 2006.
His media work (which includes regular columns for the Sunday Times’ and Channel 4’s 4Homes magazines) has boosted his fortune to an estimated £67m, making him the richest chef in Britain according to the Independent’s 2006 listing.
But he has also proved that fine dining can bring home the bacon as well as the plaudits. GRH reported a £3.7m profit on a £28m turnover for the year to August 2005, the year the Sunday Times named the group the 54th fastest-growing company in Britain.
The Harden’s guide warned that Ramsay’s grip on the popular imagination “risks becoming stifling” – a fact Ramsay himself seems to recognise. His 10th UK restaurant – a fine dining venue that opens in Heathrow Airports new Terminal 5 in 2008 will be his last. Instead, he will focus on building up a substantial chain of country pubs.
Overseas is a different matter. This October, he opens his first US restaurant at the London NYC in New York under chef Neil Ferguson followed by a venue at the Boca Raton Resort and Club in Florida under Hartnett. Spring 2007 will add a third Ramsay restaurant, at the London LA hotel in Los Angeles. Ramsay is also eyeing up Amsterdam, Prague and Ireland for future ventures.
As part of a bid to turn over £100m from the brand “Gordon Ramsay” by 2008, the chef also launched his own china tableware collection this year with Royal Doulton.