AS he prepares for the second series of his BBC show Future Food Stars, Gordon Ramsay looks back on a stellar career in cookery and TV that spans four decades.
But building up his restaurant empire, alongside raising a family of five children, has required a not-so-secret ingredient — his indispensable wife Tana.
GoffGordon Ramsay, pictured with wife Tana at their restaurant opening on 2021, looks back on a stellar career in cookery and TV that spans four decades[/caption]
BBCAfter the first series of Gordon’s Future Food Stars Lord Sugar grumbled that it was a rip-off of his business show[/caption]
Lord Sugar said the show was: ‘a virtual rip-off of The Apprentice. No disrespect to Gordon but stick to your day job mate!’Getty
In the 27 years they have been married, she has backed him all the way.
Even in the early days when he was still to make his big break she was literally prepared to bet the house on his success.
Gordon, 56, said: “When we first got married, we got our dream flat in London. Then two years in, I had to ask Tana if we could sell it to buy the restaurant in Hospital Road, Chelsea. It was a big risk.
“But you work out the dream, you work out what you want. It’s about risk-taking, getting knock-backs and bouncing back from that twice as strong.
“Tana and I are from that similar background, we share the same values and that is pretty evident.”
Sharing that dream has also meant that as he jets around the world managing his global food empire and filming his TV shows, Tana, 48, remains understanding.
Laughing it off, Gordon says: “It’s about finding a balance and if I was at home seven nights a week, 365 days, Tana would kill me.”
The couple met when Tana was 18 years old and studying to be a teacher.
He was 26 and working long hours in a restaurant kitchen.
‘Come on Alan, share the love’
After being introduced by a chef who knew them both, they used to meet up in the small hours after Gordon had finished work because that was the only time they could see each other.
They married three years later in 1996 and had the first of their children in 1999.
It’s a miracle they now have such a large family given how busy Gordon has been since he became a household name on Channel 4’s Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares and ITV’s Hell’s Kitchen in 2004.
The couple, who now have homes in London, Los Angeles and Cornwall, are kept busy by their brood made up of Megan, 24, Holly and Jack, both 23, Tilly, 21, and four-year-old Oscar.
Gordon said: “Tilly is the second person in the family studying for a degree; Holly is doing her fashion; Jack is off with the Royal Marine Commandos and Megan has just joined the Metropolitan Police.
“So Oscar is growing up with this incredible support. I love our daddy time too. He is so much fun and the other children adore him.”
Earlier this week he seemed to mischievously hint in a radio interview that there “might be another one on the way”.
But he is not confirming anything now.
He said: “We are trying to get my schedule in to have one night a week where we can focus on number six — just watch this space!”
The chef, who grew up in a Glasgow council flat, confides that if his children ever want to get involved with his business, he would not want them to join immediately.
And in a bid to remind them how lucky they are, the older children make visits to Great Ormond Street Hospital.
Tilly, who took part in Strictly Come Dancing in 2021, and Megan are also running the London Marathon this year to raise money for the much-loved children’s hospital.
Gordon said: “It’s important to us the kids do understand just how privileged they are. It’s a big ask but an important one. It’s about being grounded.
“They could step into the business but I would never want to put that pressure on my staff of, ‘Oh God, it’s Gordon’s kids’.
“If they want to come into the business, I would rather they worked elsewhere and proved their worth.”
Although he runs a huge international restaurant empire today, he likes to remind the kids that he started off at the bottom, working in a kitchen in London.
Gordon said: “I still have the letter that says, ‘Congratulations on your employment at the Mayfair Hotel. You are a second commis, grade two’.
“It’s the lowest of the low and I was on £5,900 a year, which obviously makes me feel old!
“But every time I walk past that staff entrance, I point it out to the kids and tell them, ‘That is where I started’.”
But while Gordon is feeling the love for the Ramsay clan, he is not quite so charitable towards his TV cousin Lord Sugar.
Instagram / Tana RamsayGordon said: ‘Tana and I are from that similar background, we share the same values and that is pretty evident’[/caption]
Refer to CaptionGordon, Tana and kids Megan, Holly, Jack Tilly and Oscar[/caption]
After the first series of Future Food Stars aired last year, The Apprentice star grumbled that it was a rip-off of his business show.
Gordon does not deny there are similarities and admitted on its debut that he hoped he would “ruffle a few of Lord Sugar’s feathers”.
The tycoon then hit back, saying: “It was a virtual rip-off of The Apprentice. No disrespect to Gordon but stick to your day job mate!”
The chef says any suggestion it’s a brazen rip-off is the Lord talking “absolute b*****ks” and he should quit “btching”.
Gordon added: “He has no right to start throwing his toys out the pram. Do you think Simon Cowell started complaining about The Voice when he was running The X Factor? Of course he didn’t.
“There is more than enough room for both shows on the BBC. Come on Alan! Share the fing love!”
He continued: “One of his contestants who ran a cupcake firm got in touch. What is a cupcake firm going to Alan Sugar for money for? They should be coming to me.
“Anyway, she said to me, ‘I love the show, I am a huge supporter, how can I apply to come on?’. I wanted to send it and say, ‘See, you are btching about me but your contestants are dying to come on the show!’.”
In another dig at his counterpart, who always has the candidates on The Apprentice refer to him by his title of Lord Sugar, Gordon added: “One of the contestants on Future Food Stars mentioned my OBE and I told them that whilst I was grateful for the acknowledgement please just call me Gordon.”
The war of words between Gordon and Lord Sugar is nothing compared to the ferocity we’re likely to see among the 12 contestants on this year’s Future Food Stars.
They include a Mexican street food vendor and brunch cafe owner, who compete against each other and the rest in a series of highly pressurised challenges.
The winner of the eight-week competition will receive a £150,000 investment from Gordon as well as being mentored by him.
Gordon said: “They are desperate for success and they are go-getting, competitive and a little bit disruptive. They don’t stab each other in the back. They break limbs.
“But if I am going to invest in these guys, I need to see what they are like under pressure.
“The opportunities are off the charts. It’s not just the money, it’s the scalability of their potential businesses.
“And they can tap into my infrastructure and my amazing team I’ve built up over the past two and a half decades. I wanted them to know that I am taking this very seriously.”
The first show of the new series sees the contenders go to five-star hotel Glenapp Castle in Ayrshire, where they are tasked with creating banquets celebrating Gordon’s home country.
But Gordon is keen to point out that his show is very much an international venture now.
He said: “Strictly between you, Lord Sugar and I, we’ve also just finished filming in the US too.
“And we are going to Australia next month as well to launch it. Future Food Stars is about scale and magnitude. I am not going to get them dressed up in f***ing pin-striped suits. It’s about the businesses themselves and what they can offer.”
He admits that taking on another TV show is always a gamble but it’s just the latest in a long line of daring moves in his career — many of which have spectacularly paid off.
Gordon said: “I’ve got no regrets. I’ve done everything I want to and yes, I could have sworn less and saved it for the kitchen but what I love most is always trying.
“I want to always take risks and never play it safe.”
Future Food Stars begins on Thursday at 9pm on BBC One.