Inside Gordon Ramsay’s LA Life: Family, Food, and Famous Friends

Gordon's show called Matilda And The Ramsay Bunch returns Friday 6 May, 5pm, CBBC
Who could get away with teasing Gordon Ramsay about his prowess in the kitchen and not risk being showered with a fusillade of f-words?

His youngest child Tilly, that’s who. ‘What’s it like being the daughter of the best chef in the world?’ Gordon asks her.

‘Jamie Oliver’s not my Dad!’ comes the quick-fire riposte. Tilly shrieks with laughter. There’s a great deal more dad/daughter banter in this vein during the morning I spend at the Ramsay home in Los Angeles.
‘I love teasing Dad,’ says Tilly, 14. ‘I tell him I prefer Mum’s cooking to his, just to wind him up. But actually I really do like her Bolognese sauce best. Dad’s is just too fancy. Dad’s taught me about posh food but Mum teaches me the ordinary stuff like baking.

‘Who’s the best cook? Definitely me!’ she teases. ‘Dad’s the sous chef, I’m the head chef. He likes to steal my recipes, too, so I don’t tell him what my secret ingredients are.’

Gordon Ramsay & his family. Chef Ramsay is one of my heroes. I greatly  admire people who overcome hardships, sti… | Chef gordon ramsey, Gordon  ramsay, Tana ramsay
Gordon the Dad, in the company of his youngest child, is a different man entirely from the explosive Mr Sweary of the TV shows that made him a household name. He’s fond, indulgent; a bit of a soft touch, in fact. In shows such as Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares and Hell’s Kitchen the ranting tirades were integral to his TV persona. But away from the cameras and his obsessive pursuit of culinary perfection, Gordon turns out to be the sort of dad who’s magnanimous enough to enjoy jokes at his own expense.

‘I need a reason to swear, a proper reason to get upset, and if people are being lazy or indifferent or just plain daft in the kitchen do you expect me to say, “Now be a good chap and don’t do that?” No! I get straight to the point. I’m brutally honest. In the heat of the action these words come out. You can’t pussyfoot around saying please and thank you.’

Today it’s just Gordon and Tilly at their Californian home in Bel-Air. Its vast, pristine kitchen/living area opens out onto a terrace with views over a canyon to the sea. Everything is relaxed and jolly. It’s plain that Tilly and her dad share a genuine affinity. ‘I’m definitely a Daddy’s girl,’ she says.

Gordon and Tilly flew out to the US together for a dad-and-daughter break, while Mum Tana is at the main family home in Wandsworth, south London, with the three other children – twins Jack and Holly, 16, and Megan, 17 – supervising GCSE revision. ‘It’s tough for kids today,’ says Gordon. ‘The pressures on them are insane.

There’s such a huge weight of expectation and so many distractions. Because of where we live, I call it the Wandsworth Bubble. The kids are all at private schools and we have to take their GCSEs seriously because if they don’t get the grades they’ll be out on their ear. So Tana [who trained as a Montessori school teacher] is there keeping them at it. We feed off each other – she had a privileged upbringing; mine was rough and ready – and we meet somewhere in the middle.’

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