It's a slight regret of mine, but I'm sorry to say that when it comes to television icons in the industry, I know very little. Of course, the name Antony Bourdain rings a bell and Guy Fieri is a donkey sauce-laden national treasure, but Gordon Ramsay is the chef that I (and likely many of you) know best.
The very sweary host of Hell's Kitchen and Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares is quite well-admired in the food community (including this very website), but how much do you know about the 51-year-old Scot? Did you even know he was Scottish? If not, this list of Gordon Ramsay facts will leave you feeling like an idiot sandwich.
1. He's a black belt in karate
When you see him cussing out some hapless wannabe chef on Twitter or one of his television shows, it would be nice to assume that Gordon Ramsay's bark is worse than his bite. Nice, but foolish: although he may destroy you from the inside, on the outside, he will leave you just as bruised if he sees fit. In an interview with Playboy, Ramsay revealed his martial arts skills while discussing the time one of his disgruntled contestants tried to attack him, saying: "I have a black belt in karate. I love boxing. I can look out for myself."
2. He's got one true cooking nemesis
It's an understatement to say that you shouldn't be looking to upset Gordon Ramsay at the best time, but Bobby Flay has been getting on the chef's nerves for over five years. Replying to a Quora question relating to the chef he'd most like to compete against on Iron Chef, Ramsay answered: I've been asking Bobby Flay for the last five years for that opportunity to go up head-to-head, and he still won't sign that damn contract." He went further on the Late Show with James Corden earlier this year, simply referring to his fellow celebrity chef as a "limp d*ck" for not accepting his challenge.
3. He doesn't watch his shows
Similar to how you don't like the sound of your voice once it's recorded and played out, Gordon Ramsay doesn't actually take note of his most savage insults on Hell's Kitchen or Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares. Once again speaking to Playboy, Ramsay revealed: "I don’t want to get self-obsessed and start thinking about putting makeup on and watching the way I walk. 'Oh, did I really say that?' [Referring to his own insults] F*ck it. It is what it is. I’d rather watch Deadliest Catch or go out for dinner."
4. In total, Ramsay has seven Michelin stars
If you know anything about restaurants and fine dining, then you'll know that a Michelin star is pretty much the highest honor you can bestow upon a restaurant. It's a pretty good indicator, then, that Gordon Ramsay has not one, not two, but seven of the stars. Not too shabby at all. Impressive, yes, but he's still way behind the record holder Joël Robuchon, who's got a whopping 28 Michelin-stars. At that point, it's more like a Michelin galaxy.
5. This is the one thing he'll always order...
When he's not at his own restaurants or yelling at people in order to improve theirs, what does Gordon Ramsay like to order when he eats out. It was a question recently posed to him in a Reddit AMA session, and the answer? Beef Wellington. "Whether it's in the middle of Milan or the middle of Paris or the middle of New York," Gordon Ramsay will always go for that dish, as long as it's on the menu. I wonder what happens if it comes with truffle oil.
6. ...And this is the one thing he'll never eat
If there's one thing we can say for certain about Gordon Ramsay, it's that Gordon Ramsay will spend a lot of time tearing apart food that he does not like. But what is the one food he'll never, ever put in his mouth, no matter how well it's presented or prepared? An interview with Bon Appetit revealed that Gordon Ramsay will never eat anything frozen. "It's so easy to prepare a quick meal using fresh produce, such as a simple stir-fry, but people still resort to ready meals that all taste exactly the same," he says, but I'm assuming this doesn't include ice cream.
7. This is how long he can last without swearing
I like to think that Gordon Ramsay not swearing would be something like a fish out of water; he'd gasp for air, thrash around, and if left out of his natural habitat for long enough, he'd die. Indeed, the man himself reckons that the longest he can go without turning the air blue is about an hour (more or less how long it would take to watch an episode of Hell's Kitchen, incidentally). Replying to a Reddit user, he talked about his 60-minute limit, saying: "It's f*cking hard, but I'll have a good go." His favorite swear word, by the way, is "f*ckos".
8. Here's what his last meal would be
One day, (hopefully far in the future) Gordon Ramsay will draw his final breath, mutter one last swear word, before going on to create a rather more literal Hell's kitchen. Before he leaves this mortal plane, though, what would be the last meal he'd like to enjoy? According to the man himself: sea bass with a "light sorrel sauce". He revealed: "Sea bass is the king of fish, so my idea of the perfect last meal would be a beautiful fillet, pan-fried with a light sorrel sauce, or served roasted with artichokes and a chive crème fraîche." Sounds delicious, I have to say.
9. He is not a fan of dinner parties
Whether it's the swearing or his tendency to denigrate other people's food in a not-too-gentle manner, I don't imagine Gordon Ramsay would exactly be the ideal guest at a dinner party. It's a good thing, then, that he absolutely hates them. Talking to Playboy, he talked about his proclivity toward dinner parties, saying: "I really try not to go—mostly because I can’t sit there and pretend everything’s delicious when it’s not. The food is so often sh*t. It’s just too hard to be diplomatic." Yeah, I'm actually not surprised at all by this one.
10. This is the one celebrity he'd cook for
I don't imagine Gordon Ramsay has much time to cook for celebrities with his busy schedule and all, but if he could cook for one (just one) famous person, who would it be? The answer might surprise you. "Now you’ve got me. I would say Hillary Clinton," he revealed to Bon Appetit, and he's even thought about what he'd cook for her: "I would say something authentic, rich, and a sauce that had been doused with lots of red wine. Like a braised short rib, because she’s of that era—of that age—that she understands fine food."
Well, wasn't that interesting? You might not remember this while he's verbally destroying everyone unfortunate to cross his path, but away from the cameras Gordon Ramsay is a pretty interesting, charming and cultured person. Helps you see him in a completely new light, doesn't it?