Gordon Ramsay, the outspoken Scottish chef, has been named by Forbes magazines as the Fox television network’s biggest reality star.
Ramsay, 48, is a formidable chef and an engaging television presence, says a four-page feature which also described him as being; “world-famous for his profanity and anger.”
“But he’s above all a capitalist, taking in $60m last year, good enough for a No. 21 ranking on the Forbes Celebrity 100.”
Ramsay’s four American shows: Hell’s Kitchen, Hotel Hell, MasterChef and MasterChef Junior follow the model of his UK shows–and make him Fox’s biggest reality TV star. The magazine estimates he makes $400,000 a show.
In addition, says Forbes, his 26 restaurants across the US, Europe, Asia and the Middle East bring in millions, “despite the fact that his schedule makes it highly unlikely you’ll see Ramsay manning the stove on any given night.”
Ramsey admits: “I have more money than I’ll ever need."
A BBC documentary series, Ramsay’s Boiling Point, about the first days at Restaurant Gordon Ramsay, put a spotlight directly on Ramsay’s explosive behavior in the kitchen.
(Typical scene: He chews out a maître d’ for his failing efforts at examining the air-conditioning: “Are your brains in your f–king ass?”)
Says Forbes, “Audiences couldn’t get enough. And, as with his kitchen, rather than work for someone else, he’d do it himself.”
In 2004 Ramsay launched the British version of Hell’s Kitchen, with a deal that gave him a cut of the show’s distribution sales. A US version followed in 2005.
Kitchen Nightmares debuted two years later, with “Ramsay parachuting into failing restaurants in profanity-laced attempts to save them,” says Forbes.
“It clocked 3.1 ratings (8 is the top)–hardly the Super Bowl but unprecedented for a cooking show.”
Despite setbacks, Ramsay’s restaurants have rebounded, thanks to a better economy and the endless marketing furnished by his television shows, says Forbes.
Even after closing nine restaurants and selling three during a family feud, he has more restaurants today than ever before: 26 versus 20 in 2010. Those restaurants generate $150m in revenue, a 270 per cent increase from five years earlier, including new outposts in Asia, the Middle East and Atlantic City, N.J.
“Part of his international expansion,” says Forbes, “focuses on restaurants modeled after his Bread Street Kitchen in London, a place having more in common with a big, jubilant brasserie than the fine-dining restaurants that made him famous (and that he still maintains in England).”
In Las Vegas he manages - and lends his fame - to a burger joint, a steak house and a pub.
“I don’t have bad days. Those days are gone,” he tells Forbes, . “Do I look like a chef who’s running around stressed as f–k?”