The Gordon Ramsay Empire: Delicious!

About half way through its fifth season, I got hooked on Gordon Ramsay's cooking show The F Word, which originally launched in 2005. It's a fantastic series featuring a hodge podge of material on each show. The format generally includes Ramsay cooking a three-course meal for 50 diners in his F Word restaurant, and some of the diners include local celebrities who then participate in cooking challenges or conversations with Ramsay, which always proves very educational. The show also includes segments following Ramsay's home-reared poultry or livestock (he selects these at the beginning of the show and raises them throughout the season), which are then butchered, cooked and served for the series finale. He also does pieces on alternative foods, healthy eating, individual recipes or takes trips to other cities or countries to explore the origins and cultivating of certain foods.

The F Word is really informative and each series includes a specific theme, this last season being a search for the Best British Restaurant. Oddly enough, the winner was Lasan, an Indian restaurant in Birmingham. While watching the semi-finale and finale, I was absoluetly amazed at the talent behind some of the chefs Ramsay had recruited for the season's show, they are incredible! The runner-up restaurant was The Pheasant, a European-style gig based in Keystone, and the head chef was very creative in the dishes he chose to create. One of his last included bone marrow bon bons, beef served three ways and grilled heart from the cow. He believes in using every part of the animal and wasting nothing, even using the head to boil for stews or sauces for added flavor. Though I wouldn't necessarily be so inclined to cook in the same, er, vein, it was still very interesting! I was actually a little sad that he had not won, but the Indian restaurant also seemed to have mastered some very avant-garde dishes and cooking methods and his attention to detail was flawless.

If you've heard of Gordon Ramsay before, it's probably because of his hugely popular US television show, Hell's Kitchen, where he's notorious for his hard-to-meet levels of perfectionism and raging short temper. Mike and I had started watching the show last year but some of the episodes where so intense, it stressed me out a little!

One of Ramsay's notorious explosions during an episode of Hell's Kitchen.

Ramsay was born in Scotland but raised in England and intially pursued a promising career in football (soccer). His parents didn't exactly play prominent roles in his upbringing, meaning he certainly didn't acquire his love for cooking by peering over the countertops and learning to bake alongside his doting mother. And his father's many job failures caused the family to move often during his childhood. Reportedly, Ramsay moved into his own flat at the age of 16, and began the first step toward his illustrious cooking career by enrolling in a college with a degree in hotel management. Once he reached London, Ramsay worked and studied under chef legends like Marco Pierre White and Albert Roux in London, who owns the renowned Le Gavroche in Mayfair. To elaborate, in 1982 Le Gavroche became the first UK restaurant to earn three Michelin stars (there are only about 81 restaurants in the world today that have three stars, they are awarded sparingly and with great prestige).

Texas treasure: Roux, a French-born chef that works in Britain, opened his very first American restaurant, Chez Roux, last year at the newly refurbished La Torretta Del Lago Resort and Spa on Lake Conroe. Mike and I had the pleasure of meeting Albert Roux and dining at the resort before it had officially reopened. Roux is an interesting man with his own decidely pointed view on things, but was very nice and dinner was fantastic!

Photo from La Torretta. 
Chez Roux is the building at the back right, next to the water.

Ramsay went on to become a world-recognized chef, a successful author and established his company Gordon Ramsay Holdings Limited, under which he opened his own restaurant in 1998 at the age of 31. The self-titled restaurant located in Chelsea earned three Michelin stars just a few years later in 2001 and to this day is the only three Michelin starred restaurant in London (years ago, Le Gavroche lost one of its three stars and remains with just two). According to his web site, Ramsay now oversees a conglomerate of 12 pubs and restaurants in the UK, most of them located in London. He also has a 10-room boutique hotel, The York & Albany, in London. I contemplated us staying there for our weekend trip to London in April, but decided we'll probably visit one of the pubs instead. (The restaurants are insanely expensive!) But the hotel is beautiful and I love the decor in all the rooms.

Photos of Ramsay's boutique hotel in London.

Ramsay owns three pubs in the London area: The Devonshire, The Warrington and The Narrow. I think The Devonshire looks like a style we'd appreciate, so Mike and I plan to drop in for dinner.

Shots of The Devonshire, some of the dishes and the menu.

Early Supper 


Honey roasted pumpkin and chestnut soup
Duck and pistachio terrine with pear chutney, brioche
Smoked haddock fish cake with celeriac purée, carrot and horseradish coleslaw


Old spot Cumberland sausages with mustard mash, onion thyme gravy
Pan-fried salmon with new potatoes, kale, warm blood orange, chardonnay dressing
Portobello mushroom and pearl barley risotto, truffle oil


Sticky toffee pudding, butterscotch sauce
Lemon posset, Goosnargh biscuits
Colston Basset blue cheese, quince jelly, fruit bread

Two Courses £18.00, Three Courses £22.00


  1. I still want to go to La Toretta! I'm trying to talk Bobby into going for a night for our anniversary since we aren't going to go on a trip this year.

    And I Love to watch him explode! It seems that many chef's have that talent.

  2. I agree, chefs can be very tempermental. Haha, otherwise they wouldn't be as fun to watch!

    La Torretta is nice if you plan to eat at Chez Roux and stay in a room on the Concierge level. The pools are great as well! The other restaurants on the property are, unfortunately, not very fantastic.


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