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Roasting in Hell's Kitchen: Temper Tantrums, F Words, and the Pursuit of Perfection

Roasting in Hell's Kitchen: Temper Tantrums, F Words, and the Pursuit of Perfection

3.8 54
by Gordon Ramsay

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Everyone thinks they know the real Gordon Ramsay: rude, loud, pathologically driven, stubborn as hell

For the first time, Ramsay tells the full inside story of his life and how he became the world's most famous and infamous chef: his difficult childhood, his brother's heroin addiction, his failed first career as a soccer player, his


Everyone thinks they know the real Gordon Ramsay: rude, loud, pathologically driven, stubborn as hell

For the first time, Ramsay tells the full inside story of his life and how he became the world's most famous and infamous chef: his difficult childhood, his brother's heroin addiction, his failed first career as a soccer player, his fanatical pursuit of gastronomic perfection and his TV persona—all of the things that made him the celebrated culinary talent and media powerhouse that he is today.

In Roasting in Hell's Kitchen Ramsay talks frankly about his tough and emotional childhood, including his father's alcoholism and violence and their effect on his relationships with his mother and siblings. His rootless upbringing saw him moving from house to house and town to town followed by the authorities and debtors as his father lurched from one failed job to another.

He recounts his short-circuited career as a soccer player, when he was signed by Scotland's premier club at the age of fifteen but then, just two years later, dropped out when injury dashed his hopes. Ramsay searched for another vocation and, much to his father's disgust, went into catering, which his father felt was meant for “poofs.”

He trained under some of the most famous and talented chefs in Europe, working to exacting standards and under extreme conditions that would sometimes erupt in physical violence. But he thrived, with his exquisite palate, incredible vision and relentless work ethic. Dish by dish, restaurant by restaurant, he gradually built a Michelin-starred empire.

A candid, eye-opening look into the extraordinary life and mind of an elite and unique restaurateur and chef, Roasting in Hell's Kitchen will change your perception not only of Gordon Ramsay but of the world of cuisine.

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Roasting in Hell's Kitchen

Temper Tantrums, F Words, and the Pursuit of Perfection
By Gordon Ramsay

HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.

Copyright © 2006 Gordon Ramsay
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0061191752

Chapter One

The first thing I can remember? The Barras--in Glasgow. It's a market--the roughest, most extraordinary place, people bustling, full of second-hand shit. Of course, we were used to second-hand shit. In that sense, I had a Barras kind of a childhood. But things needn't really have been that bad. Mostly, the way our life was depended on whether or not Dad was working--and when I was born, in Thornhill Maternity Hospital in Johnstone, Renfrewshire, he was working. Amazingly enough.

Until I was six months old, we lived in Bridge of Weir, which was a comfortable and rather leafy place in the countryside just outside Glasgow. Dad, who'd swum for Scotland at the age of fifteen--an achievement that went right to his head, if you ask me--was a swimming baths manager there. And after that, we moved to his home town, Port Glasgow--a bit less salubrious, but still okay--where he was to manage another pool. Everything would have been fine had he been able to keep his mouth shut. But he never could. Sure as night followed day, he would soon fall out with someone and get the sack; that was the pattern. And because our home often came with his job, once the job was gone, we were homeless. Time to move. That was the story of our lives. We were hopelessly itinerant.

What kind of people were my parents? Dadwas a hard-drinking womaniser, a man to whom it was impossible to say 'no'. He was competitive, as much with his children as with anyone else, and he was gobby, very gobby--he prided himself on telling the truth, even though he was in no position to lecture other people. Mum was, and still is, softer, more innocent, though tough underneath it all. She's had to be, over the years. I was named after my father, another Gordon, but I think I look more like her: the fair hair, the squashy face. I have her strength too: the ability to keep going no matter whatever life throws at you.

Mum can't remember her mother at all: my grandmother died when she was just twenty-six, giving birth to my aunt. As a child, she was moved around a lot, like a misaddressed parcel, until, finally, she wound up in a children's home. I don't think her stepmother wanted her around, and her father, a van driver, had turned to drink. But she liked it, despite the fact that she was separated from her father and her siblings--it was safe, clean and ordered. The trouble was that it also made her vulnerable. Hardly surprising that she married my father--the first man she clapped eyes on--when her own family life had been so hard. She just wanted someone to love. Dad was a bad lot, but at least he was her bad lot.

By the age of fifteen, it was time for her to make her own way in the world. First of all, she worked as a children's nanny. Then, at sixteen, she began training as a nurse. She moved into a nurses' home--a carbolic soap and waxed floors kind of a place--where the regime was as strict as that of any kitchen. In the outside world, it was the Sixties: espresso bars had reached Glasgow and all the girls were trotting round in short skirts and white lipstick. But not Mum. To go out at all, a 'late pass' was needed, and that only gave you until ten o'clock. One Monday night, she got a pass so that she could go highland dancing with a girlfriend of hers. But when they got to the venue, the place was closed. That was when the adrenalin kicked in. Why shouldn't they take themselves off to the dance hall proper, like any other teenagers? So that was what they did. A man asked Mum to dance, and that was my father, his eye always on the main chance. He played in the band there, and she thought he was a superstar. She was only sixteen, after all. And when it got late, and time was running out and there was a danger of missing the bus, all Mum could think of was the nightmare of having to ask the night sister to take her and her friend back over to their accommodation. Then he and his friend offered to drive them back in his car. Well, she thought that was unbelievably exciting, glamorous even. He was a singer. She'd never met a singer before.

After that, they met up regularly, any time she wasn't on duty. When she turned seventeen, they married--on 31 January, 1964, in Glasgow Registry Office. It was a mean kind of a wedding. No guests, just two witnesses, no white dress for her, and nothing doing afterwards, not even a drink. His parents were very strict. His father, who worked as a butcher for Dewhursts, was a church elder. Kissing, cuddling, any kind of affection was strictly forbidden. My Mum puts a lot of my father's problems in life down to this austere behaviour. She has a vivid memory of a day about two weeks after she was married. Her new parents-in-law had a room they saved for best, all antimacassars and ornaments. Her father-in-law took Dad aside into that room, and her mother-in-law took Mum into another room, and then she asked Mum if she was expecting a baby.

'No, I'm not,' said Mum, a bit put out.

'Then why did you go and get married?' asked her new mother-in-law.

I've often asked Mum this question myself. It's a difficult one. I'm glad I'm here, obviously. But my father was such a bastard, and he treated her so badly, that it's hard, sometimes, not to wonder why she stayed with him. Her answer is always the same. 'He wanted to get married, and I thought "Oh, it would be nice to have my own home and my own children".' But she knew he was trouble, right from the start.


Excerpted from Roasting in Hell's Kitchen by Gordon Ramsay Copyright © 2006 by Gordon Ramsay. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Gordon Ramsay's radical career change at seventeen, from soccer player to chef, led to the awakening of exceptional talent. He is now the holder of an extraordinary ten Michelin stars, for his restaurants in London and New York, and is at the head of a food empire, with restaurants in places as far afield as Tokyo and Prague. He has produced a number of bestselling cookbooks, published a hugely successful autobiography, Roasting in Hell's Kitchen, and starred in a stream of successful television series, including the award-winning Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares and Hell's Kitchen on Fox. Ramsay and his wife have four children and live in England.

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Roasting in Hell's Kitchen: Temper Tantrums, F-Words, and the Pursuit of Perfection 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 54 reviews.
poeticlicense91 More than 1 year ago
If you read kitchen confidential and enjoy the view of the world through a chef's eyes this is for you. However it's the story of an underdog, of a guy who had all the excuses in the world to quit and didn't. Ramsay is far more inspirational than Mr. Bourdain... but perhaps not the best writer. However sometimes all you need is a good story. Ramsay supplies that. It's honest in a way you can appreciate if you watch his 'great escapes' or don't mind his rough around the edges 'kitchen nightmares'. Thank you for sharing Gordon, it meant a lot to know that you had to fight your way in.
BlueViper More than 1 year ago
Roasting in Hell's Kitchen was an absolutely wonderful read. It was a true page-turner for me. It was amazing to learn about how Gordon came to be the Chef he is today, despite growing up in a rough home. The story was incredibly captivating for me, and inspirational. The writing can go a little off-track from time-to-time, making it a little difficult to follow at times, but it's easy to go back and get caught up because you usually don't have to go far. If you're a fan of Gordon Ramsay, and want to learn more about who he REALLY is (despite what you may see on TV) and what it took for him to get where he is, there is no better source.
Elaniah More than 1 year ago
That's the perfect title for this book. Following the time line proves difficult because, unlike most autobiographies I've read, he doesn't follow a linear time line from year to year or event to event. Instead he talks about something very specific ie football, his first kitchen, etc. It takes some getting used to. I love the use of slang in the book. It keeps everything very real, very true to Gordon's spirit. Unfortunately, I'm not familiar with most of it, and some of it's not in the dictionary. Google is your friend.
rwhitlow3 More than 1 year ago
I have been following Chef Ramsay for sometime and the book is as engaing as his programs. It was an easy and quick read that left me wanting to read another book of his as quickly as possible, and I did!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Ramsay's humor translates well to the page... and some of the pictures are hilarious. Also sheds a completely different light on his life. I can't put it down.
DebDD More than 1 year ago
I thought it was a great book on him. It gave me an insight into how he became what he is today. I had no idea that he had a tough upbringing as well as a difficult relationship with his father and brother.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is very insprational and funny. It truely makes you think. About your life, what you might have had to go threw as a child, and what happened later down the road. It gets ya moving.
PhotographerReader_Julie More than 1 year ago
Great look into the life of Gordon Ramsay. I liked that it sounded just like him. Interesting read.
JavaTH More than 1 year ago
If you like Ramsay or cooking, this is a great read. Point blank, as usual- this shows how he walked through life to end up where he did. Funny, touching, and written well- I was bummed to finish the book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
a bit confusing a times as he talks about chefs that you or I would never have heard of. Love his show but will not ever buy another book written by him as that would just be a repeat of this one. overall, would not buy this again.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I found this book both insighful and, informative. I suppose since you chose to remain Anon with your review you cant' do or cry. It takes a man to do that. I sense a bit of envy from you in a big way!
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I'm a huge Gordon Ramsay fan but this book left a lot to be desired. The writing was a bit choppy and the story didn't flow well from chapter to chapter. Stick to the tv shows for your GR fix!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I bought this book because I love Gordon Ramsay. This book gives a great insight to his life and shows a different side and gives a better understanding of the chef that you see on television. And although I am a huge fan, the book is a difficult read because it does not flow. But because I am such a huge fan, I will read his other book, Humble Pie and hope for the best. I would recommend this book if you're a big fan but not for someone who just has a simple interest in Gordon Ramsay.
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