They are some of the most well-known chefs in British and American television history: Jamie Oliver and Gordon Ramsay. Oliver, known primarily for hosting "The Naked Chef," has also authored a collection of cookbooks and opened numerous restaurants around the world. Gordon Ramsay, on the other hand, is famous for his media appearances, including those on "Hell's Kitchen," "Kitchen Nightmares," and others. Ramsay also owns a string of successful restaurants worldwide. Seeing as the two celebrity chefs are from the same part of the world and are both powerhouses in the food industry, you may believe that they get along well.
Sadly, the mutual brotherhood we envision couldn't be further from the truth. Ramsay and Oliver have had a tumultuous relationship, to put it lightly -- one that has included name-calling and embarrassing public comments on both sides. As much as it pains us to shatter the illusion of chumminess between these two well-known celebrity chefs, here are the details of Gordon Ramsay and Jamie Oliver's long-simmering feud.
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It Began Back In 2009
The beginning of the epic rift between Jamie Oliver and Gordon Ramsay appears to have started in the summer of 2009, after a fateful controversy involving Ramsay. The "Hell's Kitchen" star was torn apart by the media for comments in which he compared popular Australian journalist Tracy Grimshaw to a pig. But it wasn't only the media and Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd calling Ramsay out for his harsh words -- it was fellow British chef Jamie Oliver.
At the time Oliver told The Sun that "Aussies aren't forgiving. Once you're gone, you're gone. It's never good to criticize a woman, especially when they're loved by their country and you do it on national television" (via Mirror). Although Ramsay publicly apologized for the remarks and even admitted that his own mother yelled at him for it, he still took major offense when Oliver said the same. This appears to have been the ignition point of their fiery feud.
Ramsay Lashed Out Next
Though Ramsay appeared to be genuinely sorry for his public remarks concerning Australian broadcaster Tracy Grimshaw, it certainly didn't stop him from throwing a jab in Oliver's direction after the "Naked Chef" star condemned his actions. Ramsay heatedly referred to Oliver as a "one-pot wonder" and said that the last time he had complained about food was at one of Oliver's restaurants. In 2010, Ramsay made additional negative comments in which he called Oliver a mere cook instead of a chef (via Daily Mail).
Ramsay also reportedly compared their styles of cooking during this public tirade, stating that Oliver had a very different style, which Ramsay insinuated was inferior. "Everything kind of gets mixed in, hands in," he said. "It's a very different style to me. He sticks it in the oven, comes back three hours later and it's done." Whether or not Ramsay believed that his fellow chef's cooking skills were subpar, it certainly seems he wanted to make the public believe it.
Oliver Claimed Ramsay Was Jealous
Things stayed at a simmer until July 2014, when Oliver opened up "Jamie's Italian" in Hong Kong. When he didn't make an appearance for its grand opening, Ramsay -- who opened "Broad Street Kitchen" in the same city just a few months later -- didn't hesitate to take a dig at his rival. In an interview with CNBC, Ramsay discussed his new restaurant's opening, stating: "Two British chefs, Jamie Oliver and Gordon Ramsay, rubbing shoulders together in Hong Kong. At least I'm here, I came to my opening, right? If you're going to open a restaurant in Hong Kong, at least turn up."
Oliver came back swinging. In 2015, after the release and immediate success of his then most-recent cookbook, Oliver told the Mirror that "Gordon will do anything to try and take the p**s out of me because he is deeply jealous [...] He is too busy shouting and screaming and making our industry look like a bunch of shouters and screamers." Jamie then twisted the knife by drawing attention to the best-selling status of his books compared to the relative failure of Ramsay's. He also allegedly made past comments stating that Gordon's wife, Tana Ramsay -- who has written a series of cookbooks herself -- was a far superior writer than her celebrity husband.
Ramsay Hosted A Brutal Episode Of The Nightly Show
It was 2017 when the largest knife in the kitchen set came out via a very public television appearance by Ramsay. The celebrity chef was granted the chance to host "The Nightly Show," a late-night talk show on British television that ran for only one partial season before its cancellation. Following his talk show debut, Ramsay made headlines not only for his unmatched foul language (a move that proved unpopular with thousands of viewers) but for his unprecedented and savage verbal attack on Oliver.
According to The Sun, Ramsay referred to his rival chef using a string of obscenities that specifically targeted the chef's weight. Ramsay went on to joke that Jamie was trying his hardest to cure the country of its current obesity epidemic by taking on the task of eating so much himself. But the tirade didn't stop there and so Oliver's restaurants soon came under fire. During a blind taste test with his guest star, Ramsay stated that while the winner would earn a table at one of his very own restaurants, the loser would curse themselves with a seat at "Jamie's Italian." Ouch.
Ramsay Apologized ... Well, Sort Of
Naturally, the public reacted rather negatively toward Ramsay's treatment of his culinary brother-in-arms. Therefore, during his very last appearance on the ill-fated "The Nightly Show," Ramsay read off an on-air apology letter to the chef. Yet it was hardly the genuine, heart-felt message that many may have hoped to hear.
During the episode in question, reports the Irish Independent, the lights dimmed on stage and a slow, sad song played in the background as Ramsay lifted his hands to read his letter. Sarcastically, he began: "Dear Jamie, I just want to say that I'm sorry. I have been hard on you this week, Jamie. [...] What I said was hurtful, Jamie. I don't want to make you cry. The last thing I want to do is look at your cute face and think blubber, blubber, blubber."
The reading of this backhanded, sarcastic passage was reportedly the show's plan B for addressing the Jamie Oliver attack. The show's producers had first invited the "Naked Chef" star to come on the show himself for a chance to take a jab at Ramsay on-air. But Oliver seemed dedicated to not hitting back ... at least, not intentionally, anyway.
Oliver Made A Seemingly Harmless Comment To Ramsay
Oliver finally did respond to the attacks directed at him on late-night T.V., but did so fairly tamely ... or, so he thought. In an exclusive interview with The Sun, Oliver said of his nemesis's actions: "[It's] a bit like going to see someone you love who has dementia who keeps forgetting and then doesn't remember what they've said. It doesn't bother me anymore, but it was a lot, he hasn't texted to apologize. I don't know if he does emotion like that."
He then went on to speculate as to why Ramsay might have targeted him so harshly, responding that ultimately, he didn't know. "I don't think he can be jealous of me because no British chef has cracked American T.V. like Gordon has [...] He's killing it, but we're different [...] But he's got four kids and I've got five kids and I don't want to be slugging off some kids' dad on telly. It's not nice." Little did Jamie or the rest of the world know at the time, but this last portion of Oliver's response would give Ramsay a renewed sense of upset.
Ramsay Experienced A Personal Tragedy
In 2017, Ramsay divulged his true feelings regarding the response made by Jamie Oliver -- as well as the status of their relationship -- in an interview with Radio Times. "Jamie turned round and said, 'I've got five kids, he's got four kids'," said the celebrity chef. "To judge someone else's family on the amount of kids you have, that's... that's..."
Based on his comment alone, it may not have seemed to many that Oliver intended to compare the two families' number of children, at least not from a judgmental standpoint. Yet that's exactly the conclusion Gordon Ramsay drew. That's because Ramsay and his wife, Tana Ramsay, had recently suffered the traumatic loss of their unborn son when Tana was five months along in her pregnancy. The child would have been their fifth. "Boys will always fight and butt heads," said Ramsay of what he felt was Oliver's distasteful and unnecessary comment, "but Tana was mortified, I mean really mortified."
Ramsay Said He Wouldn't Speak To Oliver Without A Proper Apology
Whether or not there was a genuinely boastful or condescending air surrounding Jamie Oliver's statement pointing out his own family's larger number of children, Gordon Ramsay sure seemed sufficiently convinced of its nefarious intent. In 2017, The Sun reported that the furious chef swore he would never speak to Oliver again unless he offered Tana Ramsay an apology.
Some may have felt for the chef, as it had been an extremely difficult year for the Ramsay family. Not only were they dealing with a pregnancy loss, but Tana's father, Chris Hutchinson, and her two brothers were sent to prison for hacking into Ramsay's business emails in an attempt to steal financial information. Regardless of the Ramsay family's hardships, though, Oliver held his own and insisted on the legitimacy of his words. "What I said was fairly grown up and reasonable," he stated in a December 2017 interview with the Radio Times (via The Sun).
The Bitterness Eased With The Passing Of Time
In his December 2017 Radio Times interview following Ramsay's public declaration for an apology, Jamie Oliver described his desire to stop the bickering. He did not, however, offer up any regret over what he had said, insisting it was fair. "I don't want personal spats in public with someone that, to be honest, I don't even really know any more. I don't think he liked me taking the high ground. I think that's basically it [...] I wish him all the best, and all success. Good luck to him. But we have both got kids, and I don't know what sort of example we're setting if we're arguing like we're in the playground."
It seems that Oliver's words took root -- at least, for a little while. While things didn't appear to be fixed, exactly, the tiff between the two was at least left alone for a time. There was nothing but crickets heard between the rival chefs for two years after that -- until a professional tragedy for Oliver gave Ramsay an unexpected change of heart.
Ramsay Reached Out After Oliver Experienced Setbacks
In 2019, Oliver experienced a horrible shot to his professional life: his restaurant chain, "Jamie Italian," went under. Also included in the long list of closures were two of Jamie's London restaurants, Fifteen and Barbecoa. On a July 2023 episode of The News Agents podcast, the chef said: "Having thought about it long and hard, I had the best of the best. I probably had the best mid-market, socially-orientated business on the planet for seven, eight years and lost it over four years, which is utterly painful and it was something I'd never, ever, ever like to do again."
Many might have expected his long-time rival Ramsay -- who owns dozens of successful restaurants -- to revel in Oliver's failings. Yet, surprisingly, the hot-headed chef did the opposite. During an appearance on "The Jonathan Ross Show," Ramsay said that he reached out to Oliver after the widespread closings. "That was devastating," Ramsay said. "I don't think anyone likes to revel in that kind of failure." Ramsay described how the two had met for a drink and ultimately patched things up, even going to a barbeque together in Cornwall. Ramsay ended his interview with the declaration that the two were once again friends, leaving many with a warm feeling as he referred to Oliver as a "super talented guy" (via Mirror).
Whether Or Not This Ceasefire Lasts Remains To Be Seen
Though it appears that an official ceasefire has been called on the showdown between Ramsay and Oliver, recent comments made by the former leave many of us wondering whether or not the peace will last. In 2022, Ramsay shook up the internet with a TikTok video posted by his daughter, Tilly Ramsay, in which he danced with a Jamie Oliver cookbook partially showed down the back of his pants ... causing many to believe the feud was on the verge of being reignited yet again.
Another recent mention of Ramsay's former arch nemesis came during an interview with "Mythical Kitchen." When asked, "How many Jamie Olivers could you beat in a fight?" Ramsay immediately smirked, following up with: "Oh, I'd give him a nine-round head start and tie both hands behind my back. I'm not worried about him." Though we'd all like to believe this comment was made purely in jest, neither can we be sure whether or not one of the biggest rivalries the food industry has ever seen will reignite. All we can do is wait and see what the future holds for the stormy relationship between these two frenemy chefs.
Read the original article on Mashed.