Creator / Gordon Ramsay

"'Gordon Ramsay' is an anagram for 'my gonads roar'."
— The Truth About Gordon Ramsay Documentary

http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/0a3e6875e0603de1adc901657a7077a6.jpg
"It's RAAAAW!"

Gordon James Ramsay, OBE (born 8 November 1966) is a British multiple Michelin star awarded chef, television personality and restaurateur known for his ferocious temperament, colorful vocabulary, and no-nonsense attitude.

Born in Scotland, Ramsay originally dreamed of becoming a football player for his childhood team Rangers, but a leg injury left him with crushed hopes and the inability to sit cross-legged. Instead, he began a career in the culinary arts and landed a chef's job in the famous Harvey's Restaurant in London, where the tough training regime and unreasonably high standards set by head chef Marco Pierre White fostered Ramsay's constant swearing and temperamental condescending attitude. However, from several accounts, he's a much nicer person on British TV, on MasterChef (especially the Junior version of MasterChef), and in interviews.

He first came to the notice of television audiences with 1998's Ramsay's Boiling Point, which documented the opening and first few months operation of his first restaurant in Chelsea. Until that point chefs on British TV had generally tended to fall into one of three moulds: cultured and upper-class British, sophisticated European (usually Italian or French), or perpetually cheerful and upbeat. While Ramsay wasn't the first example of a bad-tempered, foul-mouthed TV chef, he was definitely the first one to achieve major fame.

Surprisingly, Ramsay himself has said in multiple interviews that he's not as talented a chef as people perceive him to be, and that his real strength isn't his cooking skills (which, have no doubt at all, are rather formidable), but rather his managerial skills. He says that his ability to run a successful business is the true secret to his success.

He has starred in main roles in successful television shows The F Word, Ramsay's Best Restaurant, and both British and American versions of Kitchen Nightmares, Hell's Kitchen, MasterChef, and Hotel Hell.

Tropes related to Gordon Ramsay:

  • The Ace:
    • Occasionally on Hell's Kitchen, he will kick out both teams and complete the service with himself and his sous-chefs, successfully doing the work of two full brigades by themselves.
    • He once participated in a Mystery Box challenge on MasterChef and spent half the time talking to his co-hosts, observing the contestants, and kicking back with a mug of tea before whipping up a restaurant-class dish without breaking a sweat.
    • In a later season he did so yet again and filleted a salmon like it was nothing. It took the contestants a moment to realize that he was already done.
    • To put an example of just how formidable he is, he once went head-to-head against the current salmon cutting Guinness world record holder. He lost by only one piece and a handful of seconds.
  • Adam Westing:
    • He starred in an AT&T commercial where he gets exactly what he wants...and doesn't know what to do.
    "I'm not too sure what to do with my arms right now, because this is where I usually start throwing things."
  • Amazingly Embarrassing Parents: In the kitchen he is one of the most brutal taskmasters around. Outside of it, he is a big goof who loves nothing more than to hug and kiss his children as they try to squirm away.
    • Case in point, take his interactions with his youngest daughter Tilly (short for Matilda) in the fifth episode of Masterchef Junior's third season. In response to Tilly pronouncing basil the American way (bay-sil as opposed to the British baa-sil), he tries to set up a date between her and Andrew.
    • In another incident involving Tilly, he and Tilly went head to head against James Corden on The Late Late Show in a competition to see who could make the better Full English Breakfast. Ramsay's competitiveness got the better of him, causing him to fill the studio with smoke while trying to make extra crispy bacon which immediately led to a small grease fire. Tilly found herself mortified.
    • There's even a reel of his embarrassing dad moments.
  • Berserk Button:
    • Bad cooking, of course, and poor hygiene, especially if it involves ingredients that can cause illness or death if handled improperly.
    • He detests dishonesty from chefs because they're misrepresenting a product customers are paying good money for. He is actually quite willing to forgive a chef's mistakes, if they are honestly admitted.
    • He also hates when chefs don't work together since they all have to put their orders up at the same time and will often yell "WORK TOGETHER!" at them.
    • Gordon is emphatically not a fan of someone throwing his help back in his face. He can deal with, and even empathize with, frustration and annoyance from restaurant staff, but tell him that he's at fault for the restaurant's problems or insult him for trying to help, and he will go ballistic.
      Owner: "You're being a fucking asshole. It wasn't like this, I don't run a kitchen like this."
      Gordon: "Hold on a minute! You're calling me a fucking asshole?!"
      Owner: I am.
      Gordon: (flummoxed) "...you stuck up, precious little bitch! Let me tell you something!"
    • For the love of God, don't throw insults back at him either as seen perfectly on Hell's Kitchen.
      Gordon: "Your special is no longer very special thanks to dicksface over here!"
      Everyone Else: (Insert Mass "Oh, Crap!" here)
      Gordon: YES, SAY THAT AGAIN?!?!
    • Mistreatment of the staff. Gordon especially gets offended if the waiters are robbed of their tips, don't get paid or get insulted by mean bosses.
    • Any insults to his mother, or mothers in general. One Master Chef contestant implied that the judges that day, who happened to be his, Joe's and Graham's mothers, had bad tastes and chose the poorer dish. Gordon flew into a rage and possibly rescinded the one person normally saved from the Pressure Test.
    • Badmouthing his front-of-house manager, Jean-Baptiste. Jean-Baptiste is an Old Retainer who has been with Gordon for decades, and whose judgement Gordon trusts implicitly. Badmouthing him... bad idea.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: He's normally friendly and polite (albeit with a salty mouth) and will give friendly reminders when mistakes first start appearing. When he hits his limit, however, that's when the yelling, swearing, and throwing of kitchen implements starts.
  • "Billy Elliot" Plot: In one of his books, he admitted feeling a personal connection to the play in question, because he lived a version of that plot himself. In Britain when he was growing up, 'cooking was for poofs', and his father even accused him of being gay.
  • Brutal Honesty: Most of what he says when it comes to food is this; Gordon doesn't mince words at all when it comes to what needs to be said.
  • Catch-Phrase:
    • "Absolutely delicious!"
    • "What a shame..."
    • "YOU DONKEY!"
    • "I'M SHUTTING IT DOWN!"
    • "IT'S FUCKING RAW!"
      • "THIS COULD KILL SOMEONE!" typically follows on from this.
    • "I HAVE EATEN HERE!"
    • "IT'S STONE FUCKING COLD!"
    • "THESE SCALLOPS ARE RUBBER!"
    • "Oh, fuck me..."
    • "COME HERE, YOU!"/"ALL OF YOU, COME HERE!!"
      • "Just touch that!"/"Just taste that!"
    • "STOP SENDING ME SHIT!"
    • "GET OUT!"/"YOU, YOU, YOU, YOU AND YOU! GET OUT!"
    • "Give me your jacket."
    • "Do me a favour...fuck off out of my kitchen!"
    • "I'm not here to blow smoke up your ass."
    • Some variant of "It's fucking delicious". In one case his host was actually anticipating it, saying nothing else could make her happier than to hear someone say that while eating.
    • "It's the Rolls-Royce of ___", when describing a valuable cut of meat, like filet mignon or saddle of lamb.
  • Character Tic: When speaking on camera, he tends to keep his hands clasped together right under his chin and will chop the air with his right hand if he wants to emphasize a point. If he's not doing that, he either has his arms firmly crossed across his chest or planted on his hips.
  • Cluster F-Bomb:
    • In the kitchen when things are going really horribly. He peppers his casual speech with plenty of curses as well, only watching his language if children or his mother are within earshot.
    • Half of the pun of "The F Word" is based on the fact that F Bombs are basically a catchphrase for him. He frequently clarifies that the "F" stands for Food, despite frequently engaging in tongue-in-cheek nods about why the name was really chosen.
  • Consummate Professional: One of his biggest berserk buttons is seeing someone doing something unprofessionally. This is justified in most cases; one piece of raw meat or contaminated food can cause a serious illness or death and there are no do-overs. God help you if he finds rotten or expired foodstuffs anywhere on your property.
  • Cruel to Be Kind: He knows from experience that the culinary industry is cutthroat and quickly takes a toll and so he will try and force out those he thinks aren't capable of handling the pressure out of a sincere belief that it's the best thing to do.
  • Cultured Badass: Anyone who knows the name of Gordon Ramsay usually knows of him as being a Supreme Chef, able to identify where certain types of seafood come from or what food-flavors work best together, not to mention him naturally being highly knowledgeable in various cuisines from around the globe thanks to being widely-travelled and havng studied under several top chefs. What many people may not know is that this same man is a black-belt in karate and is also a boxing enthusiast, as outlined in this interview. In other words, any arrogant idiot who thinks they can intimidate him had better hope he never actually gets physical with them.
  • Dark and Troubled Past/Freudian Excuse: His life growing up was legitimately terrible. His father was a violent, abusive drunk who couldn't hold down a job for very long at all and who beat his wife and children. The family was forced to move frequently, either being evicted, or avoid creditors or the police and eventually his father abandoned them and started a new life and family. This is a why he is so very attached to his own mother who had to raise him by herself. Additionally, his brother was a heroin addict as an adult and has betrayed his and his mother's trust many times.
  • Deadpan Snarker: He has a sharp wit and doesn't hesitate to use it. He revealed in a Reddit AMA that he comes up with his snarky comments as he says them and some of them surprise even him after he says it.
  • Disappeared Dad: His father had pretensions of being a country music star and was often away from home for long periods without explanation, leaving his mother to care for the children and earn the wages. Gordon revealed in his biography Humble Pie that his father eventually abandoned them altogether and started a new life and family under a new name.
  • Enraged by Idiocy: The trigger for many of his most famous lines is "chefs" who have no idea what they're doing.
  • Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: Absolutely devoted to his mother. He constantly sings her praises and unceasingly talks about how she was able to feed their family with little money and says that her macaroni and cheese will always be his favourite dish. He'll watch his language when she's around and treats older women with extreme respect.
  • Everyone Has Standards:
    • The main drive behind his campaign against shark fin soup. He admits early on that he supports the use of meat if it tastes delicious, but he's very much against the idea of killing endangered animals for luxury meat when it doesn't even taste good.
    • When he found out the absolute horrible conditions of some factory-farmed animals, he noted that he understood why people went Vegetarian, and considered it himself (note that prior to this, vegetarianism is a small berserk button for him) since no matter how good the meat taste, there's no way to justify the horrible conditions the animals live through.
    • He firmly believes that well-raised animals without stress give the best meat, which is why during every season of F Word he would rear animals for the final service. However this often goes a bit too far and he gets far more attached to the animals than he should have, and there would often be at least one incident (not always shown) where he tries to back out of the deal and keep the animals.
  • Father to His Men: He has a spectacular temper and doesn't hesitate to rip someone a new one. At the same time, he doesn't do so without reason and he is also regarded as an excellent teacher and is extremely protective of those who work for him. It's telling that his restaurants have a high staff retention rate.
  • Friend to All Children: He's much more professional and in control of his temper on Master Chef Junior than the shows where he's critiquing adult professional cooks.
  • Good Is Not Nice: He generally wants to help bad hotels reach to the top and help revive dying resturants, but that doesn't mean he's going to be nice and friendly about it when brutal honesty and calling people out will fix it more efficiently.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: He gets annoyed by chefs who make rookie mistakes on dishes like risotto or spaghetti dishes and then when it gets worse, he gets really pissed and then it goes downhill from there.
  • Happily Married: To Cayetana Elizabeth Hutcheson (a.k.a. Tana) since 1996. He is a believer in True Love and encourages people to get married and start families, sincerely believing that everyone should have the sort of happiness he gets from his own wife and kids.
  • Humble Hero: The man has an enormous ego when he's in his element but he'll shut up and listen when learning something new and show enormous respect to his teachers.
    • Also his tone will change drastically when dealing with chefs who had won a Michelin star, regardless of the state of their kitchen. Even when Ramsay has won several during his career note , he knows that getting even one is no small feat, and will never question said chef's cooking ability even when angry.
  • Hypocritical Humor: Mentioned in an interview, where he admits to having told some of the contestants on Masterchef Junior to watch their language.
    ...And they're like, "Are you telling me to watch my language?!
  • I Got a Rock: Discussed in one Jimmy Kimmel skit where Gordon lists off the five worst Halloween treats.
    1. Smarties.note  "The perfect combination of aspirin and tums."
    2. Circus Peanuts. "Do you know what circus peanuts are? Clown <bleep>!"
    3. Candy Corn. "It's not candy. It's not corn. It's earwax formed in the shape of a rotten tooth!"
    4. Apples. "Do I look like a <bleep> teacher, mate?"
    5. Pennies. "In 2016 you're still giving out <bleep> pennies?!"
  • Insufferable Genius:
    • Played absolutely straight when he's in his element. The man has an enormous ego and doesn't care to hide it. In fact, he's so cocksure in his abilities that, on The F Word, he would throw a major tantrum whenever he lost a recipe challenge.
    • Averted, however, whenever he's in a position where he can learn something new. For example, in an episode of The F Word where he's learning to make sushi, he's absolutely amazed by how fast and precise the Japanese chefs are while he very clearly struggles to make his own roll, and admits it.
      Ramsay: "I'm feeling slightly nervous because I feel for the first time in my cooking career, after twenty-one years in the kitchen, I'm out of my depth."
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Foul mouthed and suffers no fools in his kitchen when they screw up, but watch any scene where he praises a cooking student or works with kids and it's clear he's a great big ol' softie underneath all the swearing. The Heart of Gold part shows mostly in both versions of Kitchen Nightmares where he helps fix the problems of the restaurant and in the US version will help everyone involved air out their problems and do his best to save the business, and when the business is in the wrong, he stands up for their abused staff.
    • One example: On Hell's Kitchen he continually addressed Robert Hesse as "Bobby", unaware that Robert associated the name with his abusive father and was becoming increasingly angry about it. When told about this, Ramsay (no stranger to bad fathers) was immediately apologetic and promised never to do it again.
  • Large Ham: Especially when the Ham is RRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW!!!
  • The Mean Brit: When he's in the kitchen, he is tough with his criticism and has little patience for mistakes after the first couple. Outside of the kitchen, he's brutally honest, but fair.
  • Mean Character, Nice Actor:
    • He's usually seen on TV having to deal with restaurants, kitchens, and staff who have no idea what they're doing and quickly push him to the boiling point. Observe him in one of his own restaurants, or in a kitchen where the brigade is trained to his standards, and the only things being said will be orders being called out and the brigade's acknowledgement.
    • Make no mistake, Gordon Ramsay genuinely has a fiery temper and spectacularly foul mouth, but his American shows immediately cut to and flanderize him into an all-out Drama King for the sake of getting audiences. This is in contrast to his British shows, where Gordon starts off analyzing the problems from a rational standpoint at first but shows how stubborness and abyssmal quality releases the asshole we all love. Also, he's usually seen on TV having to deal with restaurants, kitchens, and staff who have no idea what they're doing.
    • He is also a quite a friendly person and can be an extremely patient teacher as long as whoever he's teaching is honest about whether or not they understand what's going on.
    • In his Gordon's Great Escape series, he's extremely humble and mellow. Whether dealing with the country's greatest chef or a poor fisherman making a midnight snack, he never gets heated with the one teaching him, even when they harshly criticize him. He also never pulls rank; most of his guides and teachers never even learn he's a chef. It's hard to imagine this is the same man who would explode at someone for undercooking fish.
  • Momma's Boy: Gordon loves his mother and never ever hides it and, despite his ridiculously refined palate, still thinks her macaroni and cheese is the best dish he's ever eaten; that's right, the finest dining in the world are nothing compared to what a beloved mother can cook at home. In fact, he does his best to make sure he reins in his language around her and when she appears in Season 3 of Hell's Kitchen, he outright tells Rock "Never swear in front of your mum."
  • Mrs. Robinson: Mentions in an interview how when he was 19 he had an affair with his boss's much older wife. The only part of it he regrets is that it cost him his job there.
  • Minored in Asskicking: Gordon is one of the best chefs on the planet, and is also an accomplished Tae Kwon Do master.
  • My Greatest Failure:
    • While he usually only alludes to it rather than outright discussing it, the death of David Hector Dempsey, one of his most promising proteges, has weighed heavily on his conscience since Dempsey's drug addiction ultimately culminated in his death from an overdose in 2003. Since then, whenever Ramsay encounters a chef with a drink and/or drug problem he always makes sure they check into rehab, even if it means paying for it himself.
    • Relatedly, the failure of Amaryllis, the restaurant he opened in his native Glasgow, which ended up crashing and burning, seeing little custom and closing after a little over 18 months. And the head chef of that restuarant? None other than the aforementioned David Dempsey.
  • Nerves of Steel: He has a black belt in tae kwon do, and it shows: When chefs or staff physically threaten him, he doesn't back down, even welcoming a fight while still giving massive rants about how much said chef is fucking up. He even, at one point, doesn't back down against a violently angry ex-Marine, even telling the man that he's not scared of him.
  • Nice Guy: Whenever he's not running a kitchen, Gordon is very polite and affable, though he does lose his temper occasionally on Kitchen Nightmares US, he is there to help and seems to genuinely care about what's going on.
  • Odd Friendship: He's best friends with Michel Roux, Jr. who is even-tempered and perpetually affable in the kitchen in direct comparison to Ramsay's spectacular temper. They've been friends since they were both apprentices at Le Gavroche (part of the Roux empire and Michel's current restaurant).
  • Papa Wolf: Under normal circumstances, he's rather upset when any chef under his tutelage undercooks food. But if you were going to serve that undercooked food to Gordon's children, or to a pregnant woman, you will really regret it.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure:
    • Fierce temper and taskmaster attitude aside, Gordon is genuinely caring towards his subordinates, and is willing to forgive mistakes from people under his tutelage as long as they openly fess up to them.
    • He often goes out of his way to reward people who've impressed him regardless of who they are. One inmate at a local prison managed to beat him in an onion chopping competition, and Gordon's response was to offer him a job on the spot. Gordon ended up following through and the inmate managed to rise through his restaurant. He also once met an orphan at a cookery school in Cambodia and was impressed enough by the boy's skill to make said orphan his Sous Chef during a cooking gig for the royal family.
  • Self-Made Man: He worked his way up to the top and made many mistakes over his career and had a lot of difficulties, but he made himself the world famous chef he is today through years of hard work.
  • Sir Swears-a-Lot: Par for the course for a Mean Brit. If you know about British swears and customs, he's swearing even more than you think! He does tone it down around children, and on MasterChef Jr only slipped up one time when he had a bowl of whipped cream dumped on his head and quickly tried to cover himself by saying he meant "sugar."
  • Sophisticated as Hell: He is famous for serving up some of the finest dishes ever seen in haute cuisine while cursing like a sailor. Aside from the swearing, he's shown a love of riding motorcycles, having ridden with Dee Snyder. He also tends to wear some really odd shirts at times, such as one with a skull in front of a moon.
  • Strong Family Resemblance: Gordon's son, Jack, is practically his twin.
  • Supreme Chef: Anytime he cooks for someone, the reaction is always positive with comments that the food's fantastic.
  • Tranquil Fury: While Gordon Ramsay is usually known for his angry shouting, when he is truly insulted he will resort to this. Somehow, this is far, far more terrifying that him simply exploding.
    • One example of this can be found in Hell's Kitchen: Season 3, Episode 5. They were hosting a wedding reception, and as the team challenge, the bride and the groom were tasting dishes produced by both teams. The red team's third dish was an unbelievable disaster—one shockingly overcooked horrible looking lump of duck breast, with nothing else on the plate. Once the bride and groom were gone, Ramsay gave the red team a hefty dose of this trope... and it was so chilling—particularly when he dismissed them by calmly saying, "Get. Out. My. Sight." In fact, he was so incensed about the sheer embarrassment and outrageousness that, when he described the reward to the blue team winners, he still sounded utterly pissed.
      Gordon: (to the blue team) Congratulations, you deserve it. I really mean it. Now fuck off.
  • Verbal Tic:
    • His frequent, habitual swearing, for starters.
    • Aside from the constant swearing, he'll punctuate his speech with plenty of "sort of"s, "almost as if"s, and "almost like"s.
    • Any woman he's not actively yelling at is "my darling".
    • He has a habit of calling whatever ingredient or item he's holding as "the most amazing X" or the "Rolls Royce of X".
  • Violent Glaswegian: While he doesn't have a Scottish accent, the town where he was born, Johnstone, is near Glasgow; and no one can deny that screaming, swearing and throwing falls under "violence."
  • You Are Better Than You Think You Are:
    • Much of his anger and frustration comes from believing that people genuinely can do better if they just work hard and apply themselves.
    • He firmly believes people are capable of change, especially during his Gordon Behind Bars series, where he helps out 12 inmates to learn how to cook and gain some confidence. It didn't work for all of them, but it did genuinely change the perspectives for some of them.


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