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British celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay, 46, is married to Tana and they have five children, Megan, 21, twins Jack and Holly, 19, Mathilda, 17, and Oscar, one month old. Gordon shares what he knows about getting ahead in life…
Remember to have fun
It’s easy to get caught up in the serious side of work and life, but you have to remember not to take everything so seriously.
Believe in yourself
I’ve worked in some of the best kitchens in the world, but I started from the bottom, with the basics – and we all have to do it. People say “practice makes perfect” so often because it’s true. Nobody expects you to do something perfectly the first time you try it; just keep trying until you get it right and don’t let obstacles knock you down. When I was growing up, I wanted to be a professional football player. When an injury stopped me in my tracks and put paid to that dream, I went to college and discovered cooking. I haven’t looked back since.
Make time for what really matters
Life is about more than just work – you have to find a balance that’s right for you. For me, this means spending time with my wife and children, and taking some time out for myself, which I usually spend exercising. If you find a way to make it work for you, you’ll feel re-energised when you go back to work, and will really value your time spent out of the office, without feeling guilty about it.
Relationships are key
On my television shows like Hotel Hell and Kitchen Nightmares, it’s important to me that I really get to know the people I’m working with. Their livelihood is at stake and I’m stepping in to help, so I have to form a relationship with them. I’m a passionate person and I admit I can be quite impatient at times – I find it difficult not to get emotionally attached to all the people I meet on the shows because I want them to achieve their full potential. I wholeheartedly believe that if you have a strong team behind you, anything is possible. I work with an incredible team in my restaurants and on the television shows, and have a strong network that supports me and makes what I do possible, but teamwork is important outside of business, too. I’m lucky to have a family who supports me in everything I do.
I’ve worked with some of the best chefs in the business, and have been successful. I live my life according to the principle of ‘learn, earn and pay something back’, which is why I’ve set up a bakery in a prison in the UK. I wanted to use my experience and industry knowledge to set up a scheme that would give prisoners a chance to learn a skill so they can find employment when they’re released from jail, and give them a sense of responsibility for something.