Thursday, 26 March 2015

Book Review: Humble Pie by Gordon Ramsay

Gordon Ramsay became the world's most famous and infamous chef. This autobiography talks about his difficult childhood - his father's alcoholism and violence, his brother's heroin addiction, his failed first career as a footballer, his working relationship (and subsequent feud) with Marco Pierre White, and his kitchen life.

My Review:
This is a surprisingly good biography, written in the no nonsense style that you would expect, complete with expletives.

He talks frankly about his shocking childhood-his mother used as a punchbag by his cheating alcoholic father, the poverty the family lived in, the frequent moves all over the country each time his dad lost a job, the family going hungry while his dad wasted all his money on his dead end singing career. It's pretty shocking to imagine families having to live like that. He goes on to talk about getting his chance to join Rangers as a youngster, hoping to be good enough to get a chance in the first team, but injury preventing him from getting even close to that goal. From there, he goes towards a career in cooking.

This part of the story is better known and was interesting to read from Ramsay's point of view. We know about his battles with mentor Marco Pierre White who is viewed here as a violent bully who assaulted his staff and tried to cheat Ramsay in their professional dealings. I'm not passing comment on this as I've yet to read Marco's book and his version of the events. Either way, it was a volatile relationship. It was also interesting to see the reliance that Ramsay had on his father-in-law in business matters, especially with the two of them at loggerheads in court recently. Again, I'm not going to comment on the court dealings as I don't know the full story but it must have been a nightmare for his wife to end up stuck between her husband and her father.

Ramsay found fame on TV with Boiling Point where he came over as being the psycho chef from hell. He admits that this was being filmed at the time when his relationship with Marco was deteriorating, his dream of opening his own place was hanging by a thread and he was under extreme stress. It's no surprise that he was losing his rag. Add in the issue of dealing with a drug addicted brother and you can imagine why he was stressed.

People don't like Ramsay and I fully understand why. But you can't ignore the fact that he worked bloody hard to get to where he is and be a success. These chefs work long hours in difficult working conditions and have to take massive financial risks to get that big break. Even when they open that dream place, the hard work is just beginning. It is not for the lazy or faint hearted!Too many people grudge hard working people their success and think the world owes them a living instead. People like Ramsay get out there and work hard for a living and deserve a bit of credit for it. He is at least providing a good life for his kids so they don't experience his kind of childhood.

I like the honesty in the book. Ramsay admits his faults and explains why he does the things that drive people crazy. I liked his admission that he was too much of a control freak to be at the birth of his kids and not able to deal with anything gooey! You can imagine him all hyped up, pacing the delivery room, effing every ten seconds, feeling sick and winding up the staff AND his wife! Maybe he is the sexist git that he is supposed to be but if his wife is happy with him and his faults, I'm not going to judge him. Besides I think his wife seems well capable of keeping him in line!

I find Ramsay to be entertaining on TV and I like to watch his shows. I loved the UK Kitchen Nightmares series. I've yet to get the chance to watch his US Hell's Kitchen which I look forward to. I found the books equally entertaining and you could imagine that he was sitting beside you in the pub, telling his story. That is the style it was written in, which was better than some of these biographies that go for fancy writing and leave you needing a dictionary!

If you like his TV work, this book should interest you. 
star rating photo: 35 star rating 3-5-stars.jpg

No comments:

Post a Comment