Overall ranking: 3 (26 in 2012)
Chef ranking: 1 (5 in 2012)
A chef-restaurateur whose award-winning restaurants, cookbooks and TV series have made him a global household name, Gordon Ramsay was born in Scotland in 1966. He emerged on the scene in 1993 as head chef of Aubergine in London, which he co-owned with A-Z Restaurants, having been named National Chef of the Year in 1992. In 1998 he opened Gordon Ramsay at Royal Hospital Road in Chelsea, and by 2001 it had been awarded three Michelin stars. Today it is one of just five restaurants in the UK with the accolade. Other iconic London restaurants followed, including Pétrus in 1999 and Gordon Ramsay at Claridge’s, and by 2005 he was also expanding internationally. Over the years, Gordon Ramsay Group (GRG) has opened 40 restaurants, with pubs, airport restaurants and casual dining in the mix. Today, it has 35 restaurants and four Michelin-starred properties in Europe, the US and the Middle East, with seven stars between them.
What we think
Ramsay has nurtured some of the greatest culinary talents in the UK, including Marcus Wareing, Clare Smyth, Mark Sargeant, Angela Hartnett and Jason Atherton. With 13 Michelin stars over the years, and his retention of three stars at Royal Hospital Road, he has been lauded by the industry.
He has a thriving publishing career, with 22 books, including a 2006 autobiography, Humble Pie. His combative style, both on and off the TV screen (his programme credits include Boiling Point and Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares) has not endeared him to everyone.
Love him or loathe him, Ramsay has undoubtedly raised the profile of the industry. In 2006, he was awarded an OBE for services to the hospitality industry. In July 2006, he won the Restaurateur of the Year – Independent Catey, making him only the third person (at that point) to have won three Cateys. In January 2013, he was enlisted in the US Culinary Hall of Fame.
But Ramsay had to dodge bankruptcy following the 2008 recession and the group’s rapid overexpansion leading into it. As well as disputes with other chefs, there was the high-profile sacking of his father-in-law and Gordon Ramsay Holdings chief executive Chris Hutcheson in 2010, who was subsequently jailed in June 2017 for conspiring to hack into Ramsay’s IT systems. In January this year he parted company with his long-term right-hand man, Stuart Gillies, who stepped down as chief executive and director of GRG with no public explanation.
Today, the high-end restaurant launches have slowed, and the group has concentrated on more casual concepts: Bread Street Kitchen (London, Hong Kong, Singapore and Dubai), Union Street Café (London), Gordon Ramsay Burger (Las Vegas), Gordon Ramsay Fish & Chips (Nevada), and more recently Gordon Ramsay Steak in Baltimore and Las Vegas.
In May 2017, GRG announced a return to profit for the first time since 2012, driven by “strong trading” across its 14 London restaurants. In the year ending 31 August 2016, the group reported profit after tax of £739,000, after a £2m loss the previous year.