Gordon Ramsay quotes are all over the internet, memorable for the way he strings words together, turning up the heat and making mincemeat of the targets of his ire.
When you think about angry cursing, vulgar insults and heated rows, you think Ramsay.
But the man is also a consummate (and consommé) professional, and a surprisingly eloquent poet and philosopher. He has expressed deep sentiments about the restaurant industry, being a parent while dealing with celebrities, and about the professionalism that led him to succeed and why young ‘uns these days aren’t fit to scrape his pans.
(And yes, he’s got a f–ing pottymouth that really helps to add the flavour).
We’ve compiled here 20 of his best quotes, sorted by category, compiled from all over the internet and drawn from the deeper interviews which offer a peek into the thinking behind the man.
And yes, of course — we have some of Gordon’s best insults and memes as well. And we’ve done it without mentioning the F-Word (no, not his TV show).
Without further ado, let’s get to it.
- Passion and Swearing, and the F-Word
- Advice on professionalism and how to succeed
- Philosophy on parenting despite wealth and celebrity
- What really makes him say the F-word
Gordon Ramsay quotes about his eloquence and literary inspirations
“Swearing is an industry language. Chefs cook better when they swear.” [Interview]
“Things can be f***ing brilliant. Things can be good, and f***ing well deserved. And f***ing congratulations.” [Interview]
“When I get angry, I’m just being honest, and I don’t think it’s ever going to be any different. I, like any good chef, want everything to be perfect.
“The kitchen is a highly pressurized and heated environment and sometimes it just comes out. When you are in the middle of service, it’s like four to five hours of being in a pressure cooker. When you’re trying to get a full restaurant served with the quality of food they expect, the smallest issue can throw your whole system into a spin. The customers don’t need to know about what it takes to ensure they have a great experience, so you just get on with it, and the pressure builds and builds.” [Interview]
“I don’t have a temper, I have passion.
“I get frustrated and f***** off and wound up with idiots quickly, so I get straight to the point. Cut the bullshit. That’s healthy.” [Interview]
Gordon Ramsay quotes about professionalism and his drive to succeed[on success, and his brief spell as a footballer on trial at Scottish club Rangers]
“You need to be f***ing stubborn to get to the top. I don’t give a shit who you are. It doesn’t just land in your lap.
“Footballing insecurity was no different to standing in the middle of Paris as a young chef at the age of 22 and thinking, ‘Shit, the talent around here is extraordinary, how am I ever going to match that?’ You just put your head down and become incredibly selfish.”[Interview]
“I can spot within the first 15 minutes of a young chef in the kitchen whether they’re passionate. Cooking with their eyes, their left- and right-hand side, their posture, holding the knife, excitement and developing the palate.
“That level of frustration is healthy. If you don’t give a f*** and you’re not cautious about what you’ve just delivered, that tells you a lot about where you’re going to go in this industry, big time.” [Interview]
“I’ve been on my arse before, but I have a lot of determination, and I’m not weak.
“Next day, it’s sunrise, you’re at the bus stop again, and you’re back to work. I’ve never been one for pondering or questioning and thinking. Waste of time. Dust yourself down and get back up.
“Because that journey of coming back to the very top is better than actually being at the top. You find out so much about yourself and who your friends are. Do that several times across 25 years, and you end up a wise old f*****er.” [Interview]
“I don’t like looking back. I’m always constantly looking forward. I’m not the one to sort of sit and cry over spilt milk. I’m too busy looking for the next cow.”
“In France, I worked 16, 17 hours a day, and on my day off went back to work to practise my French. I was fluent in six months; people used to ask which part of France I came from. But today, at my restaurants in Paris and Bordeaux, the guys work 35 hours a week, and they literally drop tools.
“I’d rather work twice as hard and get to the very top earlier.” [Interview]
“First of all, pressure is healthy, it only becomes stressful when you can’t handle that. How did I find that balance in my life? Honestly, I’d say about 12 years ago, I was struggling under immense pressure and I was finding it very difficult to switch off, so I started running. I ran like a sack of shit for the first 18 months, I was terrible. I remember my first match, someone shouted by the bridge halfway, ‘Ramsay, where’s your sports bra?’
“So, apart from taking abuse on my first ever match and finishing in the dark, I started running. That gave me more time to myself and I could sort of process the pressure and recharge my battery. It sounded a bit weird because I was in the kitchen since 7:30 in the morning breaking at 2 or 3 in the afternoon, in the gym for an hour, and then back at 5:30 or 6, and stay until around 11 or midnight. That one hour in the gym a day completely distressed me. I couldn’t run every day. Every other day, I could run. After marathon, I took up triathalon because that gave me a little bit more time to myself. Whether it was swim in the morning, a long bike ride on the weekends. Triathlons saved my life. That put things in perspective in a way I could claw back, valuable, independent time that took me away from the hustle of running production companies to major networks, to the pressure of the Michelin Guide. I found that balance and that release, and that’s really important. The busier I got, the fitter I got. I think it’s the same in science, in the way that you need to be disciplined to take that time out, spend 90 minutes every other day processing what you got and what you’re doing. I think a lot of the bike, I think a lot on a swim, I think a lot on the run and that’s really good important time for me.” [Interview]
“Put your head down and work hard. Never wait for things to happen, make them happen for yourself through hard graft and not giving up.”
Gordon Ramsay on parenting and family
“[the kids] don’t sit with us in first class. They haven’t worked anywhere near hard enough to afford that. At that age, at that size, you’re telling me they need to sit in first class? No, they do not. We’re really strict on that.
“I turn left with Tana and they turn right and I say to the chief stewardess, ‘Make sure those little f—— don’t come anywhere near us, I want to sleep on this plane’. I worked my f—— arse off to sit that close to the pilot and you appreciate it more when you’ve grafted for it.” [Interview]
(on the same subject of plane tickets):
““I got shit last month about not paying first-class tickets. That’s 15 f***ing grand a ticket, so let’s work this out for a minute. For four first-class tickets to LA, 60 f***ing grand. For Tana and I, 90 f***ing grand… F***ing right I won’t pay for them [the children]. What muppet is going to spend £90,000 flying from here to LA?
“I said to the kids, ‘Every single person you see on that plane, you’re going to see at the carousel. You’re not getting to LA any quicker. Do you have any idea what you can do with that money after you get off that plane?’” [Interview]
“What I’ve instilled in the kids, from day one, is a work ethic. So, the time we spend together is limited, but it’s quality. But, I made a conscious decision eighteen years ago when I opened the restaurant Gordon Ramsay, to strive to earn my third Michelin Star, I never wanted to open it weekends, so we closed Saturday and Sunday. So, they wouldn’t see me eighteen hours a day Monday through Friday and they’d see me absolutely f***ed on Saturday morning. But, we got to spend the quality time together.
“How does that resonate today? I only took them there for the first time two years ago. Because there was no way on earth that I was ever going to introduce to them that level of food and be served by twenty waiters and waited hand and foot on because it was their daddy’s restaurant. I need to protect them and respect the restaurant and team in my restaurant. I made them as normal as possible, like I said, from the beginning they had a work ethic. They’ve all got jobs, they’ve all taken care of animals, they’ve all got housework. There’s a rota. They get pocket money, but they have to earn that pocket money. [ … ]
“They’re all hard-working, passionate individuals that have respect for others and respect for life. And, more importantly, understand that if you want something in life, it’s not passed over, a hand-me-down. They got to work for it. That’s really important for me.” [Interview]
“We had four young kids at one stage, and you have to get them involved with more of the prep as opposed to the cooking. Sooner or later, they’re gonna have to use a knife. They’re gonna learn how to chop. And there are great, cheap kid’s knives that they can use and prep with.
“Young, I get them organized. I started off teaching my kids with them and weighing out ingredients, prepping, peeling. But a really good way of making them excited and closely connected to it, is getting them to taste things. So as you’re cooking, they may not be doing everything, but they’re tasting things. Now that can’t happen all throughout the cooking process, but I used to play games. I’d roll up fresh parsley, basil leaves, thyme flowers, and get them to smell, close their eyes and guess what it was. Cilantro, tarragon, chervil. And then I bought them all plant pots, so they cared for little miniature plant pots, and fresh basil, fresh parsley. And so they treated this plant as their little…how many times do you see hamsters or goldfish being bought? I bought all my kids little plant pots, basil plants, thyme, and they looked after them and they grew them. Outside herbs like rosemary.
“And so it’s a really nice way of making them feel closer and a little bit more connected to food with the responsibility of looking after their little plants. They didn’t have to be big, they were tiny plants. And then finally, it started being a little bit more family style cooking. My kids, for instance now, they roast sweet potatoes, and they scrape the sweet potato out of the shell, and they mix it with the most amazing ingredients–scallions, garlic, chili–and they put it back into the sweet potato. So, there are other ways of making sides a little bit more adventurous for them by getting them to sort of work more on the vegetable point of view. If they work closely with the vegetables, I guarantee they’ll eat them easier and healthier. [Interview]
“About 12 years ago, we started the “The ‘F’ Word” on channel 4 in the UK and, whilst all their friends at school were getting Xbox’s and video games, I bought the kids animals. I started off with turkeys. After turkeys, we progressed to Royal Berkshire pigs. Then I bought them lamb and from there, what I taught them to do was (A), look after these animals, to respect the actual product when it hits the plate, (B), part-time jobs cleaning out the pens, massaging the pigs with baby oil to protect their skin in the sun. And understanding that these turkeys are raised to eat, to celebrate, whether it’s Thanksgiving or Christmas. So, I bought them all animals.
“Now, I took a lot of criticism for it, but I set up with them going into supermarkets and understanding that food wasn’t supposed to be wrapped in plastic wrap and on a shelf. They need to understand where it’s from. That’s what I did. It got a little bit emotional when they… ya know.. Obviously, they didn’t come to the f***ing slaughter. I wouldn’t do that. We have the two pigs, for instance. They had a pig each. And we fed one of them a cherry beer and we could taste the difference when we came to braise that pork belly. One was, obviously pigs are vegetarian, but we fed one beer and it was just the most amazing experiment. Look at what goes on in Japan, when they’re massaging the Wagyu, etc, So, I wanted them to understand the traceability of great product. And they wasted less, they respected it more, and they understood the importance of rearing animals properly and humanely. There is a big lesson. Now Tilly was only 3 when she found herself with this turkey, ya know, 12 weeks out before Christmas. Within 7 days of her landing this turkey in the back garden, 24 hours later I found the bird upstairs in the frickin bedroom.” [Interview]
“So what am I most proud of? Professionally, still having the same team that opened up restaurant Gordon Ramsay in 1998 with me today, the same chef, the same maître d’, 18 years later. Retaining the 3 Michelin stars that we’ve done now, for 14 years, being London’s longest restaurant serving with that recipient of 3 Michelin stars.
“And then on the personal front, obviously, you know, this industry fragments a lot of families. If there’s one thing I’ve learned with my children, teaching them how to cook early on in life has brought them closer to my industry. So if they’re gonna follow it as a career, they know how to cook. They’ve been cooking since they were 5. I just see the confidence it gives them, walking into the kitchen with their mates and cooking a dinner together. So watching them, let’s say follow in my footsteps, but also understanding the essence of passion, and whether they become a police officer or a fireman, I’ve just installed that level of passion.
“So, the time we spend is little time with the family, but it’s quality. And they’ve respected that. All four of the children have grown up with that respect, and that, hey, if you want something in your life, you work hard for it. And then finally, I would say this December, I celebrate 20 years with my wife Tana. […]
“So, I’m blessed with support, but more importantly, keeping life real, I think. That’s been the most important part. [Interview]
Gordon Ramsay on what really gets him angry
“Anyone can open a restaurant. You just need a dinner party where everyone’s pissed and someone says, ‘Hey Tom, you should open a restaurant, this food’s delicious.’
“My industry, I’m sorry to say, is full of muppets.” [Interview]
“One lesson to any young chef out there: never mix family with business.
“If one of my daughters’ boyfriends asked me for a pint in a couple years’ time and said, ‘Hey Mr Ramsay, I’m thinking of setting up this burger chain. Would you be interested in investing?’ . . . You can f***, right, off. With a capital F! And two capital Fs at the end!” [Interview]
““The truth is, I am genuinely f***ed off on these programs because they’re a bunch of f***ing muppets. I’m there to wake them up and make them realise what’s at stake.
“Sometimes the restaurant shouldn’t be functioning and there’s this muppet with their name above the door saying they’re the best restaurant in the neighbourhood. And they’re boiling f***ing burgers!
“People think we set that sh*t up on these shows, but we don’t!” [Interview]
Running a restaurant is not easy; 80% go under within 5 years. Gordon Ramsay is not only a successful restauranteur, TV personality, author and triathlete, but his flagship Restaurant Gordon Ramsay has had 3 Michelin stars for 17 years in a row. He’s got something to say and is more than happy to say it.
What are your favourite Gordon Ramsay quotes?
The featured image was sourced via Flickr