2011 · 4 stars · memoir · non-fiction

review; Roasting in Hell’s Kitchen

Title: Roasting’ in Hell’s Kitchen: Temper Tantrums, F Words, and the Pursuit of Perfection
Author: Gordon Ramsay
Publisher/Pub. Date: Harper/2006
Genre: Non-fiction, Memoir
Summary: Everyone thinks they know the real Gordon Ramsay: rude, loud, pathologically driven, stubborn as hell.

Now, for the first time, the world’s most famous—and infamous—chef tells the inside story of his life: his difficult childhood, his father’s alcoholism and violence, his brother’s heroin addiction, his short-circuited soccer career, and his fanatical pursuit of gastronomic perfection—everything that helped mold him into the culinary talent and media powerhouse that he is today. He also dishes the dirt on the rich and famous, and takes you behind the scenes of some of the great restaurants.

Honest, outrageous, and intensely personal, Roasting in Hell’s Kitchen will not only change your perception of Gordon Ramsay but that of the cutthroat world of haute cuisine as well.

In a world where celebrity crushes tend to be leading actresses & rockstars, mine are chefs. Bobby Flay & Gordon Ramsay are my favorites, much to the dismay of my boyfriend (side note: the two of us have been working on a new feature here! I’m excited and can’t wait to start it).

I work in a bookstore and one of the wonderful perks of working there is that I’m able to borrow anything that catches my eye. When I saw Gordon Ramsay’s autobiography one day, I immediately pounced on it and knew I needed to read it.

Anyone familiar with Gordon’s television shows knows he’s very no-nonsense. And this book is no different. He tells it exactly like it is & some parts (his brother’s frequent trips in and out of rehab, his father’s abuse towards his mother) are extremely shocking. Roasting in Hell’s Kitchen is a quick read and I think his writing style plays a huge role in that. Gordon writes exactly how he speaks (including cursing every other word). But it’s that conversational tone that made the book a breeze.

I had no idea Gordon had such a horrible childhood. I suppose I never really gave it any thought, but when it was there in front of me, I was horrified. His family was very poor and were constantly moving about. Then there was his father. I didn’t jot down any quotes, but there was a passage where Gordon mentioned he never felt any love toward his father. Everything hardened into hatred.

I also was very surprised to learn he had such a passion for football (soccer!). It was such a neat thing to discover about him.

Gordon Ramsay is an extremely driven man. Just reading about how he pushed himself, all the hours he spent in kitchens, makes me want to go out into the world and do something. Obviously, given his profession, there’s much food talk. Some of it – mainly specific techniques or certain chefs – went over my head, but for the most part, it was fairly easy to follow along (although he used some slang that confused me, though that’s more of a US/UK thing).

It was so nice reading about his children and how he and his wife are raising them. They only go on one vacation a year, they go to a normal school, and the only restaurant of his that Gordon allows his children to eat at is a family-friendly one (he said the reason for this is because he respect his staff too much to make any of them at the other, more highbrow restaurants cook a meal for a child). I really like that he isn’t allowing them to sit back and enjoy a life of luxury. He mentioned how much their allowance is and that anything more comes from helping out in the garden.

His past explains so much about how he runs his kitchens and how he is on television. He cannot tolerate liars and it’s so nice to see him stick up for and encourage the younger chefs. He knows what it’s like to be there.

The media has created this arrogant, rude persona and he’s certainly no angel, but this book gave me a much different look at him. It’s light and easy and short (less than 300 pages). Gordon’s humor is wonderful and it was actually a pretty interesting book. Perhaps not for someone who isn’t a fan, but I definitely enjoyed it.


3 thoughts on “review; Roasting in Hell’s Kitchen

  1. My husband has read bits of this I think; at least, he’s often sharing tidbits about Ramsay that he knows. Like the thing about his low sperm count!! (trust a man to zero in on that one.)

    I love The F Word – have you seen it? It’s not on at the mo but his wife and kids appear and each series they raise a different animal in their small backyard. His UK Kitchen Nightmares was really good too – it’s clear that when he goes to the US the producers pay him to be more aggressive and swear more, because on the British shows he’s not like that at all really.

  2. I’ve seen Gordon Ramsay on television and I would go wide-eyed with his brutal honesty on air. I admire him for being who he is. This book sound interesting.

    Nancy @ Simple Clockwork

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