Article by Joanna Sarah-Freedman
It’s only natural to wonder who trained Gordon Ramsay. Whenever I watch a man surgically dismantle a chef’s career by likening their cooking to “Gandhi’s flip-flop”, I too want to know where he got it from.
However, as it turns out, there’s a lot more to Ramsay’s story than colourful swearing. Behind the TV success, there is actually a history of top-class teaching and controversy.
Guy Savoy is one of the chefs who trained Gordon Ramsay (Credit: Alamy/Everett Collection Inc)
Who trained Gordon Ramsay?
Though there have been many influences on Ramsay’s cooking, the man he most credits with his success is French culinary master Guy Savoy.
After a potentially promising career as a footballer was cut cruelly short due to injury, Ramsay decided to pursue a career in the kitchen.
After training at the North Oxfordshire Technical College, the 19-year-old worked at both hotels and pubs before making the move to London. Here, he found work under the infamously ferocious Marco Pierre White.
It was during his time at White’s restaurant ‘Harveys’ that Ramsay really cut his teeth. However, after nearly three years he allegedly grew tired of “the rages and the bullying and violence”. He packed his bags and, after a year spent working at the world-famous Le Gavroche, arrived in Paris.
His time in the French capital was defined by two culinary titans – Guy Savoy and Joel Robuchon. Ramsay has subsequently gone on to credit Guy Savoy as his “mentor”, highlighting the importance of his time in France.
Ramsay remained in France for three years. Then, in 1993, he decided to return to the UK and strike out on his own.
Gordon Ramsay and Marco Pierre White in the kitchen at Harvey’s (Credit: Alamy/christopher Pillitz)
Why did Gordon Ramsay and Marco Pierre White fall out?
Thanks in large part to his fiery temper and pugnacious approach to the kitchen, Ramsay has had more than his fair share of food fights.
The list of people he has fallen out with is longer than the bill at his eponymous three-Michelin star restaurant and includes family members, former employees and other celebrity chefs.
However, his ongoing spat with his former boss Marco Pierre White is probably the most spectacular.
While Ramsay has gone on to credit White with being a major influence on his career, in the late 90s their relationship was almost violent.
Although it’s unclear how the dispute first started, much of the animosity centred around Ramsay’s restaurant, Aubergine.
Ramsay and White set up the restaurant in 1993 after the former’s return from France. With the backing of outside investors, Aubergine quickly became a success, winning a clutch of Michelin stars in 1998.
Watch as Gordon Ramsay cooks a goat he killed:
However, despite this achievement, the situation behind the scenes was not so rosey. Although it’s unclear what initially caused the dispute between the two men, by the time Ramsay had won his second Michelin star he believed that his partner-turned nemesis was determined to usurp him.
Whether or not this conviction was justified is debatable. Nevertheless, Ramsay decided to take drastic action.
In order to smear White, Ramsay hatched a plan to fake the theft of the restaurant’s reservation book. In the subsequent furore, Ramsay laid the blame firmly at White’s door.
When asked why he had done it, Ramsay later revealed to The New Yorker:
“It was my one stroke of genius, f**king someone over without his knowing that I was the one who done it. And the [restaurant owners] cutting Marco off and wanting to get closer to me, kissing my ass… You always eat that f**king revenge when it’s cold, don’t you? Trust me, this was stone cold.”
White responded to the 2007 mea culpa by telling The Guardian:
“If that’s how you pay back your friend, and people who’ve helped you, that’s sad. But I’ve always said ambition is one of the most dangerous preoccupations in the world.”
The two chefs are apparently still not on speaking terms.
Gordon Ramsay is one of the richest chefs in the world (Credit: Alamy)
How much is Gordon Ramsay worth?
For all the controversy, Ramsay is clearly an extremely successful chef. His restaurants have won acclaim around the world and he is now one of the most well-known figures in the industry.
According to the calculations of Celebrity Net Worth, is personal wealth is tallied at around £170 million, thanks to restaurant holdings, TV appearances and book sales.
Whatever you may think of him personally, there’s no doubt that Gordon Ramsay is a huge figure in the food world.