Chef Gordon Ramsay is a doting family man and gentler TV presence today, but nothing gets in the way of another Michelin star.
Credit: Photograph by Art Streiber
Later on, he stands at the bottom of the stairs in his house and calls for his children, who have been studying and getting ready for bed. They bound down to him like puppy dogs. He gives a kiss to each and sends them on their way. They seem like great kids. They seem like happy kids. Ramsay watches them go, smiling. One of his general policies is to never work on weekends, reserving that time for home life. "I think everyone should work their asses off five days a week," he says, "but I am religious about not working weekends. I'm not even remotely interested in going in to shake hands with some Japanese god who wants to pay a fortune to say hello. Please. Not interested."

He might also hang out with pals like Simon Cowell and David Beckham, who he's opening a restaurant with, or play soccer with Jack in the backyard. At one point today, he and Tana huddle together on a couch, looking at a newspaper. The headline is about Jack and Beckham's son Brooklyn trying out for the Chelsea Football Club's junior team, an elite feeder squad to the English Premier League. "I'd wanted it kept discreet," Ramsay says, worriedly. "He's a great soccer player, but you want him to find his own two feet and be on cloud nine because of what he did and not because of some adverse push." Then he rattles the newspaper and returns to his powwow with Tana.

Outside, he slides into the front passenger seat of his chauffeur-driven Audi and settles back for the 30-minute ride to Bread Street Kitchen, one of his newer and more casual eateries. Along the way, he tries to explain why so many chefs seem to have it in for him. "Look," he says. "I've achieved everything I've ever wanted to achieve in cooking. You can't win more than three Michelin stars, and there's three stars in New York, three stars in Paris, three stars in London. And now I've got a second career in TV. And I've set up my own production company. I think all that pisses them off." And he really does seem to think that's all there is to it, a simple case of jealousy, as though his behavior going all the way back to the purloined Aubergine reservations book has nothing to do with it. And, oh, about the reservations book. If he's found it, it might be good to get him to look at it over dinner, bring back all those memories of the early days and all the craziness since, maybe lead him to look at himself and his actions from a different perspective and to judge himself accordingly.