Story transcripts

The Chef from Hell

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Reporter: Ben Fordham

Producer: Cliff Neville

He's a failed soccer player who was awarded an MBE.

A tearaway who's worth more than $130 million.

A hyper-active master chef, who's notorious for his fiery temper and his prolific use of the f-word.

So prolific in fact, that here in Australia he prompted a Senate inquiry, and re-ignited the debate about bad language on television.

He's Gordon Ramsay, and has he got a serve for us!

It's pretty hot stuff I can assure you.

As Ben Fordham discovered, there's no stopping him, a whirlwind who can't be tamed.

But, be warned, as this story contains Gordon Ramsay, naturally it contains frequent coarse language.

Full transcript:

INTRODUCTION - LIZ HAYES He's a failed soccer player who was awarded an MBE. A tearaway who's worth more than $130 million. A hyper-active master chef, who's notorious for his fiery temper and his prolific use of the 'F'-word. So prolific in fact, that here in Australia he prompted a Senate inquiry, and re-ignited the debate about bad language on television. He's Gordon Ramsay, and has he got a serve for us! It's pretty hot stuff, I can assure you. As Ben Fordham discovered, there's no stopping him, a whirlwind who can't be tamed. But, be warned, this story contains Gordon Ramsay, so naturally it contains frequent coarse language.

STORY - BEN FORDHAM. He's the television chef with the foul mouth and plenty of attitude.

GORDON RAMSAY: You'll kill whatever customers we've got left.

BEN FORDHAM: But here at home, in south-west London, Gordon Ramsay is on his best behaviour.

GORDON RAMSAY: Shh ... Sugar! You missed your calling, mate. It's a rare chance to see Ramsay in his natural enviroment. ..and a glimpse of his softer side.

GORDON RAMSAY: 55...that's double... Tilly, yay!

BEN FORDHAM: It's going to be a handful when they're in their teens.

GORDON RAMSAY: When they hit their teens? One place they are not going is Australia, alright. You're staying here.

BEN FORDHAM: In between hanging out with his wife Tana and the four kids... GORDON RAMSAY: Once they've hatched we can take the legs off and eat them.


GORDON RAMSAY: What do you mean, no? What would you do with frogs legs?

BEN FORDHAM: ..there's still the business of being Gordon Ramsay.

GORDON RAMSAY: Mummy's getting upset, we don't get mum upset.

BEN FORDHAM: A quick photo shoot out the back for an upcoming book Then it's into the kitchen for a cooking show.

GORDON RAMSAY: Spinach, watercress. Spinach for the colour, picking in with the potato. Are we using chicken stock or veg stock?

BEN FORDHAM: But amid the chaos, the kids come first.

GORDON RAMSAY: You work like a donkey. You work your arse off and they have become bedrock really, in a way. They are our...not just our future but our foundation. So the time we spend is little - but quality.

BEN FORDHAM: It's all fun and games, but the world knows a very different Ramsay.

GORDON RAMSAY: You're lucky I'm not standing here wiht a (Bleep) writ on your arse about being food poisoned.

BEN FORDHAM: He's demanding...

GORDON RAMSAY: In order to help the kitchen start pushing the (Bleep) linguinie a little bit.

BEN FORDHAM: Hypercritical...

GORDON RAMSAY: The fish is cooked to (Bleep), there's (Bleep) and piss all over the place.

BEN FORDHAM: Insulting...

GORDON RAMSAY: It's not a crab cake - it's a crap cake.

BEN FORDHAM: Bullying...

GORDON RAMSAY: It looks like I'm going to have to take Daniel to the nuthouse myself.

BEN FORDHAM: and his signature dish is that four letter word.

GORDON RAMSAY: Who the (Bleep) are you to turn around and tell me, when you work like a pig. You French pig! Close the (Bleep) place.

TANA RAMSAY: People say does he swear at home? and I think "what a stupid thing to ask." I mean, He's home - he's not under high pressure - so why would he come in the door cursing and swearing.

BEN FORDHAM: What about if and when the children swear?

GORDON RAMSAY: You know what, I don't want them tiptoeing over the situation. They know it's a naughty work CHILD: I don't like it where he says swearwords.

BEN FORDHAM: You don't like it? You guys don't say swearwords do you?

CHILD: No. pause BEN FORDHAM: How do you get to have a soccer goal in the backyard?

GORDON RAMSAY: Just to piss the neighbours off, really. They are such snobs. So... Wandsworth is packed with snobs. Coming from a council estate, trust me.

BEN FORDHAM: Ramsay's proud of his working-class background. He was born in Scotland and moved to England at an early age. He built his empire from scatch and is now worth about $130 million. And when you sit him down for a moment between television takes you find out what a remarkable rise it has been. Your dad was an alcoholic?


BEN FORDHAM: Your mum a victim of domestic violence?

GORDON RAMSAY: Yeah BEN FORDHAM: Your brother a heroin addict?


BEN FORDHAM: It's not a pretty picture!

GORDON RAMSAY: No, I mean the chances of any form of success were pretty slim.

BEN FORDHAM: It must have been a shocking thing as a kid to stand by knowing your old man is routinely bashing your mum?

GORDON RAMSAY: Yeah of course it was hurtful. Um, you know, watching mum, you know, putting on a pair of sunglasses in the middle of winter ah, with two black eyes. Um, of course it was you know quite an eye opener ah, watching, ah, my brother ah, shooting heroin in his arm. So what do you do? Do you sit there and indulge or do you get out of it? I got out of it and I got out of it quick.

BEN FORDHAM: His plan was to become a soccer star and he very nearly did. He was on target to turn professional when injury ended his playing days at 19. Ramsay needed a plan B.

GORDON RAMSAY: Going into like sort of hotel catering was an excuse to get out of the scenario quickly. Mum and dad were going through a divorce. I'd split up from my girlfriend. And all of a sudden you know not a pot to piss in, ah, broke, and I thought, well catering - I can travel, I can travel the world, study for two years and then get out of this country because I hated it. And that's how I started getting involved with food.

BEN FORDHAM: As a young bloke you ran a kitchen at a joint called the Wickham Arms?

GORDON RAMSAY: Yeah, what a (Bleep) hole!

BEN FORDHAM: You had to quit? Well why did you have to leave?

GORDON RAMSAY: I slept with the boss' wife because she, ah, made, ah, you know a go for me. I mean trust me you know what 19-year-old chef, you know, fit as a fiddle, um, you know ah built like a gypsy's dog is going to say no to a stunning 33-year-old wife of your boss? Ah beautiful, absolutely beautiful. And it was great because all the knowledge that she was teaching me in terms of making love, my girlfriend benefitted.


GORDON RAMSAY: What's the matter?

BEN FORDHAM: No, not a problem.

GORDON RAMSAY: Just the way you say okay like that is if you're.

BEN FORDHAM: No, no, no.

GORDON RAMSAY: Don't worry, it was great, it was great.

BEN FORDHAM: No, I mean we could talk about this for hours.

GORDON RAMSAY: Well how long have you got?

BEN FORDHAM: Ramsay went from pubs to Posh quickly conquering the world of fine dining. Tonight, he's launching restaurant number 18, in London's West End. It's a long way from the council estate?

GORDON RAMSAY: Oh (Bleep), I'll say. Definitely, Christ Almighty!

BEN FORDHAM: His food is now served up in the UK, Europe, the United States, Japan, and the Middle East. Do you feel lucky?

GORDON RAMSAY: Do I feel lucky ? I felt lucky the first day I put my chef jacket on. Life is too short to be bitter. I'd not made it in football, soccer was great but I have to say now it's a dream come true. There is so much (Bleep) around that goes on that is so unnecessary. You're screwing yourselves.

BEN FORDHAM: This straight-talking Scot is now the most famous chef on television.

GORDON RAMSAY: Please tell me you're not looking for a cutter? Where's my cutters, where's my cutters.

BEN FORDHAM: He is not only thoroughly entertaining...

GORDON RAMSAY: Come on Nick!

BEN FORDHAM: He also gets results - rescuing many restaurants from oblivion.

WOMAN:I just can't.

GORDON RAMSAY: Stop being so (Bleep) stupid. Now you're blaming me for the (Bleep) reservation book.

WOMAN: You don't have to be so rude.

BEN FORDHAM: And the funny thing is - a lot of the people he swears at end up swearing BY him.

MAN: It is amazing what he did. He taught me to stand up and be the owner.

WOMAN: He put his heart and soul into this place - he did save us.

BEN FORDHAM: Not that Ramsay's watching.

GORDON RAMSAY: I've never watched the show. This is what you've got to understand and I'm not saying get it through to your thick head but I don't sit down and watch them so,,, When you've been there, lived through it, been poisoned by the bastards - Do you think I'm going to sit down with my ( Bleep) yabbies on toast.

BEN FORDHAM: You don't watch your shows? I've never ever sat through a 'Kitchen Nightmares'

BEN FORDHAM: I find that hard to believe.

GORDON RAMSAY: I swear to God! Oh, (Bleep) hell.

BEN FORDHAM: And on the subject of swearing, Gordon Ramsay is now accused of going too far.

GORDON RAMSAY: And when you whine about your (Bleep) Villeroy and Boch plates that noone's changing - (Bleep) come and tell me, yeah? Because I'll smash them over your (Bleep) head.

BEN FORDHAM: His use of the F-word 80 times in one episode...

GORDON RAMSAY: You just spilt a bucket of (Bleep) tomato sauce.

BEN FORDHAM: ..prompted enough complaints from Australian viewers to make him the target of a Senate investigation.

GORDON RAMSAY: Harassed and insulted - (Bleep) me, take a good look at yourself.

BEN FORDHAM: There's now a Parliamentary inquiry taking place into your language.

GORDON RAMSAY: Really? Here's the thing. Australia's quite a sort of 'hard ass' you know tough, exciting, boisterous environment. They're now complaining about swearing in Australia? You hypocritical (Bleep). Yeah, let me take you down some of the pubs here in London, yeah, that are owned and run by Aussies and you should hear them on a Friday night, yeah!...mmmm. All of a sudden it's a little bit too harsh for Australia? (Bleep) off will you! I don't mean to swear. It's the Muppets that I have to work with. So I deeply apologise to Australia and all those light-hearted delicate little dainty souls - (Bleep), I'm sorry.

BEN FORDHAM: And to the politicians who are going to be sitting on this inquiry?

GORDON RAMSAY: Politicians are glorified parking attendants. They just waffle their way out of (Bleep) So I-I'm ...

BEN FORDHAM: Forget politicians for a moment. Let's think about parents. In all seriousness there are plenty of parents out there who are seriously offended by your language.


BEN FORDHAM: And who think that you're setting a really bad example for their children.

GORDON RAMSAY: Yeah, well I mean first of all my apologies to any parents, but trust me - in life it doesn't really pay to wrap them up in cotton wool. Um, I don't swear to offend children. I'm a father and I have children of my own. I'm surrounded by children constantly. Put them to bed, be sensible. And if you're not happy with it switch the (Bleep) television over you dick!

BEN FORDHAM: But no one is switching off.

GORDON RAMSAY: Can we get our diners to boo them? Like we do in a football match - Boo! You're (Bleep) and you know you are. There will be you're (Bleep) and you know you are, yeah.

BEN FORDHAM: He's now got multiple hit shows topping the ratings around the world.

GORDON RAMSAY: You (Bleep) off back to your sauerkraut.

BEN FORDHAM: And he's management style...

GORDON RAMSAY: You short-arsed little bratwurst.

BEN FORDHAM: .. hasn't changed a bit.

GORDON RAMSAY: England, England, England I know chefs that can't even run a bath properly let alone run 18 kitchens across the world. So I'm a control freak.

BEN FORDHAM: Tana, how do you deal with this? Do you deal with this?

TANA RAMSAY: Over the head. I've been with Gordon since I was 18. So, you know, I've seen the pressures, BEN FORDHAM: I've seen the excitement.

GORDON RAMSAY: We lost our cherries together.

TANA RAMSAY: Oh, stop it.

BEN FORDHAM: For a bloke who didn't start out with much, Gordon Ramsay seems to have found all the right ingredients for a happy life.

GORDON RAMSAY: 'A' - you don't date chefs and 'B' - they don't become vegetarians, promise. Who are you going to marry when you grow up?


GORDON RAMSAY: Who are you going to marry when you grow up?

CHILD: I don't know.

BEN FORDHAM: And typically he has some very definite advice for anyone following in his footsteps.

GORDON RAMSAY: Ah, my advice to any young chef anywhere in the world, Get out of your comfort zone and put yourself in a scenario where you have to build a character, learn a second language and find out a lot about yourself on your own without mum, without dad, without your girlfriend, without your boyfriend and without any money. Put yourself in a situation and build a character. You'll be surprised three years down the line what that does for your self esteem. Phenomenal! Oh, more importantly, mind your language!

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