It’ll be boiling oil and paring knives at dawn at this rate.
Britain’s two most high profile chefs—Jamie Oliver and Gordon Ramsay—have reheated their long-running feud, with the “mockney,” cheeky, chappy Oliver using an event at the Sydney Opera House to accuse the fiery Scotsman of being “deeply jealous” of his success.
“There is no denying that Jamie is more into the business side of things. He has really pushed things forward with his digital platform, Food Tube. They are approaching 1.5 million subscribers. It’s not just Gordon—half the chefs in London are jealous of what he has achieved,” a source with knowledge of London’s celebrity chef world told the Daily Beast.
Ramsay—who oversees Michelin star restaurants in New York and London—derides Oliver as a “one-pot wonder” who is more proficient at sales and marketing than he is at cooking.
Another source tells The Daily Beast that the long-standing antipathy between the two dates back at least as far as their work together on the Channel 4 series Food Fight, which ran for a few days over the start of the new year from 2008 to 2011. The two were cordial on camera, but relations were so bad by the end of filming, they even declined to be photographed together. Publicity images necessitated separate shots, which were then stitched together through Photoshop.
Ramsay used the 2014 opening of his Bread Street Kitchen in Hong Kong to take a stab at Oliver. Ramsay called him out for not attending the opening night of his own restaurant, Jamie’s Italian, in the same city.
“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?” Ramsay told CNBC. “If you’re going to open a restaurant in Hong Kong, at least turn up.”
At an event at the Sydney Opera House on Sunday, Oliver made it clear that the scars still have not healed. “Gordon will do anything to try and take the piss out of me because he is deeply jealous and can’t quite work out why I do what I do and why he can’t do that,” he said.
“He is too busy shouting and screaming and making our industry look like a bunch of shouters and screamers. He’s paid to rant. He’s paid to shower negativity.”
Oliver later said he regretted his comments. “I’m annoyed that I said anything because I did bite for a few years and it felt quite good, but I don’t think it’s very responsible of me to take the piss again,” he told Australian news organisation AAP. “ I don’t want his kids to get upset because I’m slagging off their dad.”
There have been countless back-and-forth jabs between the two in the public eye.
Oliver has previously mocked Ramsay for “having Botox.” He will also take swipes at Ramsay, even if it means a begrudging compliment towards his wife, Tana. “If I was to choose between Gordon Ramsay’s cookbook or [his wife] Tana Ramsay’s, it would be Tana’s every time. In my opinion, her books are a damn sight better than his,” Oliver told the Mirror in 2010.
In turn, Ramsay once told a TMZ crew that the last time he had complained about the food at a restaurant was “at Jamie Oliver’s.”
Ramsay has also had public arguments with London critic AA Gill, who he ejected from his restaurant in 1998 when he was having dinner with Joan Collins. Gill responded by calling Ramsay “a wonderful chef, just a really second-rate human being.”
Anthony Bourdain described Ramsay’s business practices as “shameful” after a trademark row. British chef Marco Pierre White claims Ramsay turned up at his wedding with a film crew without ever asking for his permission. “I will never speak to him [Ramsay] again,” he told The Telegraph. “Several things happened that I found completely unacceptable.”
Mario Batali also fell out with Ramsay after the latter repeatedly referred to him as “Fanta Pants.” Batali responded by banning Ramsay from any of his restaurants. “I won’t have him in there. If he called me himself and said, ‘Let’s sit down for a drink,’ I’m sure it would be fine. We’d be cool. But right now it’s not cool,” Batali told the Guardian.
In addition to likely having a few more foodie friends than Ramsay, Oliver is also estimated to be worth more: £240 million ($358 million) against Ramsay’s relatively meager £80 million ($119 million).