Wednesday, February 17, 2016


Gordon Ramsey has been a Michelin rated restaurateur and TV personality for years.  Perhaps you've seen him on Kitchen Nightmares berating restaurant owners, chefs and staff.  If so, you know that he could not be more outspoken, or use more profanity if he tried!  To me it's all very fascinating and I was excited to pick up his 2006 book, "Roasting In Hell's Kitchen."   Granted, the book is dated, but it was written by Ramsey, about Ramsey, and from what I can tell, things haven't changed much for him.  Yes, new restaurants have opened and other restaurants have closed; TV programs have changed; and in many ways his life has changed.  However, none of that changes the fundamental essence of who Gordon Ramsey is and where he came from.  To get that, you will want to read this book.

It is clear that Ramsey's childhood significantly shaped him.  The family moved continuously as Ramsey's musician, alcoholic father pursued pipe dreams, frequently, taking out his failures and frustrations on the family by physically abusing them.  He taught Ramsey how to swim by holding his head under water for minutes.  Cruel!  It seemed to Ramsey that the only way that he could please his father was by playing soccer.  He was good at it and he pursued it with a passion, achieving a commendable level of success.  After a serious injury, however, his hopes of becoming a soccer pro were dashed.  By the time Ramsey was sixteen, he had had enough of his father's abuse and moved out of the house.  By then he was already pursuing a career as a chef.

Gordon Ramsey is not a person who has ever cut corners.  It is clear that from the time he was a small child, to present day, he is all in on everything he does (even the swearing!).  In the book, Ramsey walks us through the steps that brought him to his career successes, which are undeniable.  To his credit, he has also managed to do the necessary work to build a strong family with his wife of nearly twenty years.

This is an interesting story, and not a big time commitment to read.  The challenges Ramsey has overcome are intense and most people would not have made it.  His pursuit of perfection seems to have saved him, and now we can enjoy his accomplishments.

I absolutely recommend this book.

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