Ah, Gordon Ramsay. Since the Scottish chef began invading kitchens in the eighties and living rooms in the aughts, he’s always been … offputting. But the recent 5,974-word profile in Men’s Journal reminded the world just how gross the guy can really be. Of course, this is the kind of “negative” press the chef seems to actively seek — it gives him fuel to continue to build his empire of television shows, cookbooks, and overpriced restaurants. Grub Street doesn’t begrudge Ramsay for being successful, but his success comes at the expense of manners and taste. At this point, Ramsay isn’t a chef; he’s a full-fleged reality star, one who can stir up more drama than a Real Housewife. Here’s proof: We’ve rounded up Ramsay’s most revolting actions and comments over the years, and ranked them in ascending order of offensiveness.
20. Tried to Screw April Bloomfield (2013)
He trademarked the Spotted Pig in the U.K. in an attempt to prevent April Bloomfield, Ken Friedman, and one-time rival Mario Batali from opening a location across the pond. He surrendered the trademark, but only after public pressure.
19. Disturbed London Tube Riders (1993)
A cop caught him in a Tube urinal with his head slumped on the wall. One of his comrades was peeing in the sink, and the other had his trousers around his ankles. Ramsay’s spokeswoman insisted that there was “nothing sexual” about the incident. He got charged with indecency.
18. Got Plastic Surgery to Look Less Threatening (2009)
“Simon Cowell suggested that now I’m a success in America, I should do something, so I had a filler put under the deep crevices. It hurt,” Ramsay said. Apparently, he also wanted the procedure to make him look not as threatening on television. It would’ve been cheaper to swear less.
17. Paid £30,000 for a Hair Transplant, Too (2010)
He’s not even 50, but he’s obsessed with maintaining his appearance. Is everyone around Ramsay too scared to tell him he’s not a sex symbol?
16. Possibly Cheated on His Wife, Then Gave a Way-Too-Gross Reason for Why He Wouldn’t (2008/2013)
In 2008, Sarah Symonds, author of the esteemed novel, Having an Affair? A Handbook for the Other Woman, claimed Ramsay cheated with her. He denied allegations, and recently told Men’s Journal about how his wife would react: “She’s a nut crusher. If I ever fucked up, she’d have my balls in a vise and turn them into a fucking crêpe suzette thinner than the frilliest knickers Paris Hilton’s ever worn. She’d turn my ballbag into a doily.”
15. Defended Feeding People Frozen Meals at His Restaurants (2009)
“Here [at a kitchen facility in south London] Gordon Ramsay chefs prepare components of dishes devised and produced to the highest Gordon Ramsay standards,” said Gordon’s spokeswoman, after news broke that he uses ready-made meals prepared off site at his restaurants. “These are sealed and transported daily in refrigerated vans and all menu dishes are then cooked in the individual kitchens.”
14. Hated on Frank Bruni (2007 to 2013)
Though he said he didn’t “give two fucks” about Bruni back in 2007 when the critic gave Gordon Ramsay at the London a two-star review, Ramsay has hated on him for years. The latest: Ramsay told Men’s Journal, “Frank Bruni fucked me sideways, but the fascinating thing about that, I knew he had the hots for my French maître d’. But I mean, what’s Frank Bruni doing now? Tweeting about the government? I piss myself. I wish him the very best.”
12. Endangered People of England (2002)
He drove his BMW the wrong way down a one-way street and failed a breathalyzer test, but somehow, didn’t have to appear in court.
11. Kicked Critic A. A. Gill and Joan Collins Out of His Restaurant (1998)
“I don’t respect him as a food critic and I don’t have to stand there and cook for him,” Ramsay wrote in an op-ed about why he gave Gill the boot (of course he had to make the incident public knowledge). Gill, however, had the last word, calling Ramsay “a wonderful chef, just a really second-rate human being.”
10. Fat-Shamed a Hell’s Kitchen Contestant (2007)
“You are one chunky monkey, aren’t you?” Ramsay spewed at Aaron, a contestant on the U.S. version of his reality show. It’s one of the many horrific things he’s said on his television series.
9. Shoved a Contestant, Caused Sprained Ankle (2004)
“It’s a disaster. A guy on set pissed me off. We got into a shoving match and fell down and did his ankle. Everyone is really pissed off with me,” he may have confided to a colleague. The details for this one are a bit dodgy.
8. Got Man Fired After Faking Kitchen Nightmares (2007)
As part of his restaurant makeover show, Ramsay faked sequences to portray restaurants in particularly bad lights. The manager of the now-closed Dillons got fired because Ramsay blamed the “difficulties” of the restaurant on him.
7. Abandoned, and Then Sued, His Montreal Restaurant (2012)
“We wish Gordon all the best, but he’s a big star and too busy to come to the restaurant,” said the restaurant’s owner, Danny Lavy, before he ended the partnership. Ramsay responded by filing a $2.7 million lawsuit for damaging his reputation.
6. Secretly Filmed Father-in-Law and His Mistress (2012)
Ramsay hired a detective to take pictures of his father-in-law (and former business partner) with his mistress through a bedroom window. Then, Ramsay threatened to make the photos public. He even texted the woman’s son to tell him about the photos. She’s now suing him for breach of privacy.
5. Suppressed Female Cooks (1999, 2001)
Ramsay thinks that women should be kept out of professional kitchens because there’s nothing less sexy than “a woman who’s had her hand up a pigeon’s arse all day.” Female cooks also don’t make great employees because “they only work three weeks a month,” “you can’t get into the staff loo,” and “how can you shout at someone who’s four months pregnant?”
4. Depicted a Journalist As a Lesbian Pig (2009)
In front of an audience of thousands, he called Tracy Grimshaw a “lesbian,” and then showed a picture of a near-naked women on her hands and knees with the features of a pig. “That’s Tracy Grimshaw,” he said.
3. Allegedly Called Marcus Samuelsson a “Fucking Black Bastard” (2000)
“I’m going to make sure you have a fucking miserable time here. This is my city, you hear? Good luck, you fucking black bastard,” Samuelsson recounted Ramsay saying while he worked as a guest chef at London’s Lanesborough Hotel. Ramsay was provoked because Samuelsson hadn’t cited him as a role model in an interview.
2. Tricked Vegetarians Into Eating Meat (2003, 2005)
While offering pizza samples on his show, a volunteer said he’d been a vegetarian for eight years, and Ramsay claimed the pie was meatless. Only after the guy ate it did Ramsay tell him, “Unfortunately, that pizza has got a lot of mozzarella and tomatoes, but underneath all that there is parma ham … good luck with the Vegemite!” Two years before, when asked for his most recent lie, he boasted, “To a table of vegetarians who had artichoke soup. I told them it was made with vegetable stock when it was chicken stock.”
1. Framed Marco Pierre White (2007)
“It was me,” Ramsay said, years after his restaurant reservations book went missing and he blamed his one-time mentor. “I nicked it. I blamed Marco. Because I knew that would fuck him and that it would call off the dogs … It was my one stroke of genius, fucking someone over without his knowing that I was the one who done it. And the Italians cutting Marco off and wanting to get closer to me, kissing my ass.”