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Humble Pie - Gordon Ramsay

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Genre: Biography / Author: Gordon Ramsay / Edition: New Ed / Paperback / 336 Pages / Book is published 2007-05-01 by HarperCollins Entertainment

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      12.01.2011 13:26
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      A thoroughly eye-opening book about the life and career of Gordon Ramsay

      I'm not usually that interested in celebrity autobiographies, or celebrities in general to be honest. Gordon Ramsay isn't someone I would consider myself a fan of, but he appears to have such a strong character that I thought this could be an interesting read. The paper back version of this book costs RRP £7.99, but there are plenty of copies selling on the Amazon marketplace starting from just 1p plus postage + packing. I picked up my brand new copy in a charity shop for just 50p.

      Description: "Everyone thinks they know the real Gordon Ramsay: rude, loud, pathologically driven, stubborn as hell. But this is his real story...
      For the first time Gordon tells the full inside story of how he became the world's most famous and infamous chef: his difficult childhood, his brother's heroin addiction, his failed first career as a footballer, his fanatical pursuit of gastronomic perfection and his TV persona - all the things that have made him the celebrated culinary talent and media powerhouse that he is today."

      The first thing I must say about this book is that it is an autoboigraphy that truly seems to have come straight from the horse's mouth. The way in which it is written is easily readable and seems to have a conversational tone throughout. There are plenty of Gordon's characteristics showing and you could easily imagine he is just there having a heart to heart chat with you. I really liked that the story seems to have been written completely by Gordon Ramsay, and not just passed off as his own when another un-named author has done all the hard graft.

      Gordon Ramsay is a well-known household name these days and I find it surprising just how much media attention a celebrity chef can create. I hadn't quite realised the extent of his popular status until reading this book. And Gordon Ramsay seems to have made a name for himself in the United States as well as back home here in the UK.

      The book starts as all good life stories should, with Gordon's upbringing and his family life during childhood. This is obviously a very raw subject but it is dealt with openly, and he describes how he started off at the bottom and was determined to do well for himself and get out of a bad situation. It also covers his career from start to finish, including an unsuccessful end to his hopes of becoming a footballer. This came as a bit of a surprise to me as I had just assumed that he had always been a chef. He heads straight into the kitchen next though, and the way he writes about his work is thoroughly fascinating. The hours he works are unbelievable and it has really opened my eyes to the challenges and dramas that people face trying to make it to become a respected chef. I knew the industry was tough but I had no idea it could be so all-consuming and even dangerous at times.

      There are very few references to other celebrities, although a few of his personal acquaintances and other famous chefs are mentioned at times. This is more in an explanatory way and is not just casual name-dropping to get more attention so it fits in well. The only impression I have of Gordon Ramsay is from occasionally watching shows like Kitchen Nightmares (where I think he does a fabulous job) and Hell's Kitchen (where I think he comes across as being utterly terrifying!), so it was nice to get a more rounded view of what he's all about. What it boils down to (pardon the weak pun!) is the food. He has such a passion for this and the amount of hard work, passion and sacrifice that he has commited to this pursuit are enviable and overwhelming. His successes seem well deserved and after reading the book I can say fairly that I think my opinion of him has been drastically changed.

      There are plenty of shocking topics covered in the book that you might think he would want to keep private, but he really does seem to reveal all. His family issues, his brother's heroin addiction, the death of a close friend, his marriage and kids... This is a very intimate description of many stages of his life and there are some things that must have been very difficult to write about, as they portray lots of genuine emotion. The book is of course filled with Ramsay's normal colourful language and be prepared for plenty of f-bombs flying across the pages! This is to be expetced though, if you've seen any of his TV shows you know what you are letting yourself in for.

      Gordon Ramsay is a larger than life character but this book gives you an insight to the real aspects of what has made him into the person he is today. Well worth a read if you are interested in his celebrity status, finding out more about his background, or as a warning if you are considering taking up a career in professional catering!

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        11.01.2010 19:56
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        Worth buying

        Gordon Ramsay's Humble Pie is his first autobiography. I'm not sure where he got the title from because he's not really very humble at all. He details his life as a footballer, even managing to play on a professional level, until injury got the better of him, then he goes on to chart the beginnings of his cookery career. Through out he mentions his family life and his abusive father.

        The book is pretty well written and an easy read, although there is some foul language in the book, compared to his television shows it's quite tame. Like I say he's not very humble when it comes go his cooking prowess, but he is very honest about his home life as a child, and quite frankly it's nice to read about someone who makes something of themselves despite abuse at sn early age, instead of the normal excuses for people not getting on in life because they have some syndrome or other.

        It's very interesting to read about how trainee chefs are treated as well, it's a wonder any of them make ig to be full time chefs, and I'm not sure the way they are treated is really necessary, other professions seem to manage to bring out the best in people without resorting to humiliating practises.

        If you're a Gordon Ramsay fan, I'd definitely recommend this book.

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          10.07.2009 14:57
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          this book unlocks the Ramsay enigma

          To read the early part of this book, it would be easy to think that Gordon Ramsay was a shrinking violet of sorts. He was by all accounts at the mercy of a violent father and it could be fair to say his confidence was knocked due to a lack of roots - the family were continually uprooted whilst Gordon's father pursued his dream of becoming a rock star.

          Being an autobiography, you should expect the usual autobiography stuff, births, deaths, marriages, success, failure, chasing a dream, family problems.

          There is much valuable insight into the mind of a junkie (Gordon's brother had problems) and how a family, but in particular, how Ramsay coped with his Brother's addiction.

          Gordon can't resist reminding us of his days as a footballer for a top British club, and he lays foundation to this by bleating on about his friendship with 'Coisty' and 'Becks'

          We know Gordon Ramsay for his expertise as a chef, and his rather boisterous personality. This book does a rather good job of showing us how his experience shaped him from that shy, bullied boy, into one of the world's most successful chefs and one of television's more colourful characters.

          It is a nice thick read at nearly 300 pages so should really keep you going for a week for those evenings when you are on holiday stuck in the middle of nowhere and miles from the pub.

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          03.06.2009 14:48
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          A fantastic read that had not been glossed over at all.

          'Humble Pie' is the autobiography of Gordon Ramsay which details the start of his life right up until just a couple of years ago and tells you about all the ups & downs he has endured as well as living with a violent, overbearing father and how he came to be a chef rather than a top football player.

          I am a huge fan of Gordon Ramsay and will watch pretty much anything as long as he is either being interviewed, hosting or just doing a short cookery piece. I adore his style of cooking although I don't like his harsh language quite so much but I think that this is part of his character now and one trait that most people have come to know him for.

          The book is very detailed & starts off with his childhood and runs through until pretty much the present day. It mentions many of the jobs that Gordon has had and people that have betrayed him in the past. It also talks about his wife, Tanya, and family life, how his children changed his life etc.

          Whilst reading the book I felt that I was given more of an insight in to the real Gordon Ramsay and how he values his lifestyle and the money he has, whilst making sure his children don't take things for granted, and it's easy to appreciate how different life is for him now and how great it must be to have financial and emotional security (as much as anyone can) after the rough life he had as a young child growing up.

          It is also easy to see where Gordon has got some of his flare from cooking from and his determination to succeed. He has worked in some amazing restaurants with amazing chefs in his time and had quite a bad time because of this but he has know gone on to build up a successful empire of restaurants and amazing staff by himself.

          The book was very hard to put down and I found myself lounging in the bath for a good two hours whilst reading the middle section of the book as I just couldn't bear to put it down. It is a read I would thoroughly recommend although it does contain a fair bit of bad language (as you would expect with Gordon Ramsay!).

          I purchased my book for £1.00 from my local charity shop but there are some sellers on Amazon selling new & used from 1p + just under £3.00 postage so if you fancy giving this a read keep your eyes peeled!

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          19.04.2009 01:41
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          A good read.

          I have enjoyed many tv shows from Gordon Ramsay such as his 'Kitchen Nightmares' and was really looking forward to reading this book. It is a great read for any Gordon Ramsay fan. This is an easy book to find and well priced.

          This book covers all aspects of his life from childhood through to present day and nothing is hidden. He describes his unsettled childhood with an abusive father and later goes on to talk about his fathers death. His brothers drug addiction is a major part of this book and Gordon talks about how it has affected his family and his own perspective on life. You are shown the side of Gordon that does not come across often on his television shows when he moves onto his wife and children and how his early experiences have shaped his relationship with them.

          His career is also well documented from his early career at Rangers and how he moved into cooking. You follow him through the setbacks at the beginning and see how he went on to become as successful as he is today from opening his first restaurant to his tv career.

          Included are pictures of Gordon with his family, some of his shows and some photos from his youth with rather dodgy hair.

          I liked this book for its honesty about his family problems and the fact that throughout you can see the fighting spirit that is so typical of Gordon Ramsay.

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            04.02.2009 15:17

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            Worth a read

            If you're reading Humble Pie to get the kind of adrenalin rush that Ramsay exudes in this TV shows then you will be disappointed. What you will discover is a great bed time read and probably a new found respect for the man.
            So many celebrity books nowadays seem to skim over the difficult times and concentrate on how great their life is now but I was pleasantly surprised to see that Ramsay took no shame in relaying his past and indeed his troubled present. I wanted to get an insight into the man not the restaurant chain and gladly that's what I got.
            Most people know that Ramsay was once a professional footballer (same claim has been made by most of my male friends!) at Glasgow Rangers and the immediate assumption is that he must have made loads of money and then started some restaurants. The truth of course is far different, after failing as a footballer he went to college to learn to cook (much to the dismay of his father) and eventually under the guidance (or vicious left hook) of Marco Pierre White became a highly successful chef.
            The most intriguing part of the book in my opinion is Ramsays love/hate relationship with his junkie brother. He clearly demonstrates how difficult it is to cope in these situations and those readers who have been through similar hardship with family members may find it strangely comforting to know that someone with wads of cash can have the same problems as every other human being.
            I genuinely enjoyed this book and feel that another one will undoubtedly be produced concentrating less on his past.

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            19.01.2009 23:25
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            All the right ingredients for a great book.

            I bought Gordon Ramsay's autobiography just after Christmas and paid just under five pounds on Amazon.co.uk. This book has been constantly next to my bedside table until I finished it reading it last week. I love Gordon Ramsay's Television programmes, books, recipes and the whole persona, so when I seen it on Amazon at that price, there was just something tell me to buy at that price. The autobiography was first published in May 2007 and is 336 pages long, and is an engrossing read which I extremely enjoyed from the moment I started to the moment I finished.

            I wont spoil the book for people that have not read this book yet but Gordon talks about his brutish relationship with his father (his father with he openly discusses was an alcoholic) when he was a child and also all the way through his childhood how he moved from town to town constantly. Ramsay took an interest in football from a young age and went through into Rangers football club which also ended at the early age of 19 due to football injuries.

            His cooking career then began, he worked his way up the ladder and after a few years he moved to London to pursue his career more and worked his way through restaurants there, but he was looking for one thing, and that was to work for the most famous chef (and fantastic - in my eyes) Marco Pierre White in Harvey's. Gordon worked here for just under three years, he left and worked his way through the established restaurants in London.

            In 1993 he went into partnership with Marco Pierre white and worked at their restaurant where he one not one but two Michelin stars. Gordon went onto open up his own restaurant and got his third Michelin star here.

            I love this part of the book, just because I am a huge fan of Marco Pierre White and like to hear of his fiery temper and all the gossip!

            There are really sad bits in this book and I shed a tear when he talks of his fathers death, but also of his brothers long drug addition.

            Gordon does portray that he is out to get anyone that has done him wrong and sometimes he can show his childish character in parts of the book where he talks about his business, but this is what we love, that yes he was talked down to because he thought he was better than most chefs around but he is a real person and now that feels hate towards these people.

            This is a fantastic read and I am really glad I bought it, it has all the ingredients that feature in a great book.

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              15.01.2009 22:32
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              Good boox, well worth a read

              I usually don't read that many books - and when I do, autobiographies are not my automatic choice.

              However, with Gordon Ramsey's autobiography, Humble Pie, I was finding it difficult to put down.

              I was bought this present for Christmas, and on a quite, cold, hung-over Boxing Day I decided to start reading it.

              I am not a very quick reader, it normally takes me about 3 or 4 weeks to finish a book. Humble Pie however, took me about 4 hours to finish. When I started reading this, I could not put it down.

              The style of writing, again something I normally steer clear of, was as if Gordon Ramsey was sat across the table from you, telling you it all. Similar styles I have found is in Catcher in the Rye - which I just couldn't read.

              I have always had respect for Ramsey following his Kitchen Nightmares show where he helps failing businesses turn everything around. Almost like a more masculine food version of Gok Wan.

              When I had finished reading his book, my respect for the man went through the roof.

              He gives you a great insight into his life growing up, his many family issues, a failed football career and getting into cooking. He also takes you in full detail through how he got to where he is today - and who he had to screw over (get his own back on?) to get there!

              It is pretty much widely reported that Gordon Ramsey's brother is a drug addict, and you find out almost the full extent of what Gordon and his family have been through with him since his teens.

              You also see another side to Gordon Ramsey in this. He has always come across in his shows as a bit of a family man, but you see the deeper extent of this in the book.

              It really cracking story of how a man that nature seems to have always wanted to put down and was determined would not become successful got past all of his, and his families demons and refused to die.

              This really is something that once read, will make you sit up and take stock of everything that's important in life.

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                04.01.2009 16:44

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                Great read.

                having watch many of Gordon Ramseys programes on the television. I wanted to see if he really was as arogent as he apperas on many of his programes and why did he grow up and what was the background to some body who appears to be so very driven by what they do. I wasn't expecting for him to have had such a sad background the family life he and his mother and siblings was very different to what i expected. His brother who has had his history splashed over the tabloids what such a sad tale but still Gordon, his wife and family tried. I really enjoyed the book it was well written and easy to follow. The book was so good my husnabd who dosen't normally read autobographies really enjoyed it too and was taken aback by the frank way that Gordon wrote about his past and where he aspires to be in the future. Great book.

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                05.02.2008 11:12
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                RECOMMENDED

                Gordon Ramsey is one of my favourite celebrity chefs because he really does have a passion for his cooking and reading his autobiography has confirmed my feelings for him. The book comes across as being very frank and honest, something I do admire, and he does actually state that he can't abide liars in his kitchen. I don't really have any reasons to doubt what he says in this book and therefore read it with sympathy, empathy and admiration for what he has been through and achieved.

                He starts by telling us of his childhood and the continuous moving around they did as a family. This was down to his father's terrible lifestyle of drink, music and women. He got himself into a lot of debt and consequently the family had to move around to dodge the collectors. His father was not a nice man at all and I think Gordon has taken a step back when writing about him. It must be hard to relive those years in the written word and explain about what should have been the best time of your life - your childhood - as being one of the worst periods. Being one of four children, Gordon was by no means alone in his misery and all the children suffered at his father's hands at one time or another and they all seemed to have dealt with it differently. Gordon has obviously become the most successful and this is simply down to the drive he has for his chosen career.

                Probably half of the book is taken up with memories of his childhood, and while these are interesting, I much preferred the second half when he talked about his career journey. It takes one hell of a commitment to be a chef, and this was something I never really appreciated fully until I read this book. Gordon explains how he trained in various kitchens belonging to some of the most amazing chefs in this country, but he then goes on to tell us about his move to Paris and how he stepped down the career ladder quite a few times and worked his way back up, just so he could work with more and more well known, amazing chefs to gain as much experience and training of different aspects of cooking and different foods as he could.

                The money was awful in the early days and it was a struggle to even live, let alone have a wife and child to support, but he did it and to her credit, his wife Tana, has stuck by him through everything. Not every wife could put up with seeing so little of their husband because he was always at work. Gordon readily admits to working 18 hour days in his kitchens and 6, sometimes 7 day weeks. I would find this incredibly hard as a wife so Tana has gained my respect as well.

                I was pleasantly surprised that while reading this I didn't come across anywhere near as many swear words as I had expected. Gordon Ramsey is as much famous for cursing at everyone in his kitchen as he is for cooking but he seemed a little more restrained in the book. The times he did swear were well placed and exactly the right sort of context for the paragraph or sentence. I am no prude when it comes to swearing and nothing really offends me, but it was nice not to have it littered with the F word.

                I was in admiration for this man after reading his story. He is a simple and honest, hardworking yet family orientated guy and I really do like him. He has had a rough time with the press and their desire to cast him as a bully but anyone who works for him and is as passionate about their job as he is, love him to death and will vouch for him all the way. This is proved by their loyalty in many ways through the book, with long standing staff and chefs who go on to head up a new restaurant for Gordon in other countries.

                What really comes through though is the man behind the persona. I like Gordon Ramsey as a celebrity chef before but now as well as a chef I like him as a person. He has shown me through his autobiography what a decent bloke he is. Reading about his brothers addiction to heroine and everything Gordon did to help confirmed he was compassionate and caring and the chapters revolving around his children and how he will never spoil them to compensate for his awful childhood, proves to me he is level headed and forward thinking when it comes to his family. With sections briefly touching on his TV shows and how he felt about them I was in even higher delight to get a backstage view of shows like Hell's Kitchen - it is an eye opener!

                My new ambition? - To eat in one of his restaurants one day and maybe get my book autographed! 

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                  05.09.2007 14:49
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                  Excellent

                  As I am finally getting around to putting my feet up with a nice brew and a good book I decided to read my collection of books that I already had and this had been a christmas present from my other half which I was longing to read but wanted to be able to read as much of it in one go as possible.

                  Published by Harper Collins the book was only released back on the 2nd October 2006,
                  my hardback version contains 304 pages and I managed to get through the book in just under a week which wasn't too bad and I found I was grabbing every opportunity to read this book I hated putting it down. It is easy to read allowing you to pick up where you last left, always a good sign in my opinion.

                  I like reading "official" autobiographies as it gives me an insight as to what that person really likes and feels under what is portrayed in the media and helps me understand that person a little better, after reading that the book was an insight into the real Gordon Ramsay both in and out of the kitchen and I was certainly not disappointed.

                  The book is written in chronological order which I like as you can really get involved in the story without jumping back to other parts every now and then like some other autobiographies do.

                  The book begins with Gordon's Childhood how tough it was for him as he describes how unsettled his childhood was telling us how he suffered a volatile relationship with his alcoholic father and how his anger caused them to spend most of his life traveling around the country as his dad looked for new employment and how the family had nothing. I really felt emotional reading this book learning how his various homes, feelings about his father's relationship with him and how it has affected his relationship with his mum, brother and sister and also how it has affected his adult life and I could not have read a more honest biography.

                  Many of us know that Gordon had a promising career playing football in the early years, however by reading the book you will discover how he developed a career in London as a Chef and has quickly become the celebrity Chef we all love to hate.

                  Gordon Ramsay appears as a hard faced, bad mouthed control freak and this is true of him when he is in the kitchen (after reading the book it seems he is not the only one out there to act like this for instance have you see Hells Kitchen starring Marco Pierre he puts Gordon to shame)
                  Being a chef and a high profile one at that you can expect to be put through real hell as we learn in the book how hard the job actually is and that this is why Gordon now feels he has to test every single member of his kitchen staff pushing them to the limit to ensure that they are doing what they want to do and he has many loyal staff members working for him for many years.

                  Gordon Ramsay has always interested me from the moment I saw him on Hell’s Kitchen a few years back and his attitude somehow makes me attracted to him. I have really enjoyed reading this book and can only recommend it to potential readers and as I got to the end of the book I was desperate for a follow up and I definitely am even more interested in him now and would love to meet him in the flesh.

                  I feel that after reading this book anything is possible, he has dealt with everything that has been thrown at him and made a real success of his career and home life, ensuring it is as different as it can be from his own childhood experiences.

                  The book also contains some photographs showing his progress and are also published in chronological order which helps see how he has changed into the confident man we all now know or think we know so well.
                  The writing style of this book is honest and although you can feel the pain he has been through you certainly do not end up feeling sorry for him, his past has spurred him onto be a better person and I can only say read it, even if you don't like him you will end up admiring him.

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                    20.03.2007 13:54
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                    If the first forty years are anything to go on, the next forty will make very good reading!

                    Having been a fan of the chef Gordon Ramsay for some time now I was very interested to read his autobiography. I wasn't disappointed as I found it a very honest and at times poignant book.

                    It's interesting with celebrities that, by seeing them on television, you think you know them. I most associated Gordon Ramsay with his television work, and through reading the book, discovered that there was a lot more to know about him than I realised!

                    The book starts with his looking back on his childhood days - a truly difficult time with a brutal father, no money and a transient lifestyle. He and his family moved around so aften that he states that he has actually lost count of the number of places they lived in. He openly talks about the impact this had on him - always being the poor boy starting the new school. He is also very open when talking about the painful and difficult relationship that he - and the rest of the family - had with his father. None of them were able to please him and they witnessed a very turbulent marriage between their parents. When you consider the difficult start he had in life, you can only admire the success he has made of his life, through sheer determination and hard work! This is very evident as he talks about the jobs he took and the long hours he worked at some of the best restaurants in Europe, learning his trade from the finest chefs.

                    I hadn't realised quite how successful Gordon Ramsay is in terms of the restaurants he has opened and the michelin stars he has achieved. But still, as he explains in his book, he is driven to strive for more and more success. Although of course it could have been very different had he not , as a teenager, suffered from injuries that prevented him from being successful in his first career as a professional footballer!

                    There are a number of chapters in the book covering his dad, football, getting started and working in France. There is also an interesting interlude in his life, when totally exhausted, he took a bit of a sabbatical and cooked on the millionaire Reg Grundy's yacht!

                    To me the last few chapters were the ones that hooked me in the most. There is a chapter dedicated to his brother Ronnie who is a heroin addict. Gordon Ramsay talks very honestly about how he has continually tried to help, paying for rehab and taking him into his own home, and the guilt he feels when finally he had to take the decision to put his own family first. There is quite a lot of graphic description and I think it was really brave of him to write so openly about such a difficult relationship.

                    There is another chapter entitled 'Down Among the Women' where he pays tribute to the women in his life, particularly his mum who has come through such difficult times herself. It is interesting that the book itself is dedicated to her with the rather poignant words - 'from cottage pie to Humble Pie - you deserve a medal.' He also talks warmly of his sisters and his wife Tana. Most interesting is his approach to bringing up his children -three girls and a boy. He definitely does not want them to be spoiled - in fact they only have a pound a week pocket money and any extra has to be earned by doing jobs around the house or garden. I applaud this attitude as it would have been all too easy to lavish everything on them running the risk that nothing would be appreciated!

                    There were a couple of things that I learned about Gordon Ramsay in the book that I found particularly interesting. Firstly he was not at the birth of any of his children, something very unusual in this day and age! He openly admits that he could not easily face all the gore and the placenta! But also, his wife was quite happy for him not to be there either, thinking he would be too controlling, and opted for her mum instead! Secondly, he has two kitchens in his house. His wife runs the everyday one particularly where she prepares the children's meals - and much to his consternation she sometimes had ready meals with Jamie Oliver's name on! That, he says, really wound him up! The second kitchen is something else though! It cost , would you believe, £500,000 to put in and includes an oven costing £65,000! Quite difficult to imagine what it must look like. It is used for work as well as some home cooking, but still, the sheer scale of that is really something else!

                    I really enjoyed reading 'Humble Pie' and found it quite enlightening about someone who is quite often in the public eye. He does come over as quite humble and never seems to forget where he came from and those who helped him on the way. There is, which probably won't surprise many, a fair proportion of the F word scattered through the book (and I don't mean 'food') I suppose it is quite unnecessary, but anyone who has seen him on TV will know that is how he speaks, so I didn't really expect anything else. He is quite open about the TV work and you can tell that 'Kitchen Nightmares' is quite important to him and he likes to think that it makes a difference. The experience of 'Hell's Kitchen' is another matter though - one he doesn't care to remember too often!

                    So I definitely enjoyed this book and would recommend it to all Gordon Ramsay fans. It's interesting though that he has written his biography at the age of forty! I can't help feeling that there might, sometime in the future, be a sequel.

                    'Humble Pie' is published by Harper Collins and has a RRP of £18.99 although at the moment Amazon are selling it at half the price!

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