Gordon Ramsay on knowing where to draw the line between ‘overindulgence and burning out’

Tanwen Dawn-Hiscox

Tanwen Dawn-Hiscox

Deputy Editor

What does one learn in a lifetime as a notorious chef? What is the key to being successful in the long-run?

In an interview with Esquire Middle East, Gordon Ramsay shared some of his insights. The 52 year-old chef,  best known by the wider public for his liberal use of the English language, is a British emblem and one of the first UK chefs to have been recognised on the international stage.

His first job as head chef was under Pierre Koffman at La Tante Claire; his first venture, Restaurant Gordon Ramsay, made him the first Scotsman to earn three Michelin stars. Throughout his career, Gordon's restaurants have received 16 Michelin stars, and he currently holds 7.

The chef has built an empire to his name; he owns several dozen restaurants across the globe and has written more than 35 cookbooks; his numerous TV productions – from Hell’s Kitchen and Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares to MasterChef Junior and Gordon Behind Bars -  have earned him a BAFTA and an ASTRA nomination.

Watch: Gordon Ramsay on Restaurant Gordon Ramsay & why he is the most unselfish fucking chef on the planet!

So how has he coped? 

First of all, he explained, his experience has had a tempering effect on him.

“I think any chef will mellow over time. I think everyone does, that comes down to having more experience,” he said.

But key to his remaining level-headed has been to manage his time more efficiently - and crucially, learning to know his limits.

“I think that finding that juxtaposition between hard and smart work is how you find balance. And let me tell you, there is a fine line between overindulgence, burning out, and finding a balance”, he said.

While he added that cooking at a high level means one has to become a ‘highly focused control freak’, it is important to know where to draw the line.

“If you don’t eventually let that go, you’ll kill yourself. We’ve all seen the burnouts, the heart attacks and, more importantly, the suicides. There’s no business or passion that is worth that,” he said.

The chef said that while he still likes to be involved in all of his businesses, he has learnt to delegate part of the responsibility.

I like to have a finger in each pie, but not be responsible for every part of it.  I have so much more freedom now that I have let go,” he said.

Finally, the chef explained, success has brought him great things, but it has come at a price.

“You see much less of your family. The time you have seems to be cut in half. I have worked f**king hard to get where I am, and to maintain it is even more difficult. So I say ‘no’ more than I say ‘yes’”.

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Tanwen Dawn-Hiscox

Tanwen Dawn-Hiscox

Deputy Editor 15th April 2019

Gordon Ramsay on knowing where to draw the line between ‘overindulgence and burning out’