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Gordon Ramsay has made a living from great food, sprinkled with brutal honesty and foul-mouthed rants. But what is it like to work for him? Cesar Bartolini from Bread Street Kitchen at Atlantis Dubai reveals all
How do you reflect on 10 years working under Gordon Ramsay?
Well, I’m 35 so I’ve worked with Gordon for nearly one third of my life. It’s gone very fast, especially these last three years in Dubai. These days, finding that kind of loyalty in kitchens is rare but loyalty is important to me.
What was your first job with Gordon?
I joined as a sous chef in Foxtrot Oscar, a small brasserie in Chelsea, London just down the road from Gordon’s three Michelin star restaurant. It took me three hours to get to work: a drive, a train, two tubes and then a walk. I dropped my salary quite a lot to work there but I didn’t care. I just wanted to work with Gordon Ramsay – he was my idol. I wanted to be like him and I wanted to learn from him.
Do you remember your first encounter with him?
A couple of months after I started at Foxtrot Oscar Gordon came into the kitchen unannounced. I heard his voice and thought f**k! I was shaking, sweating, terrified. We shook hands, he’s a big lad. I thought: don’t mess up.
What’s important to him?
He’s very family orientated. We opened BSK in Dubai in 2015 and Gordon came to Dubai. He asked if my family were coming to the opening. I said no, we’re fully booked. He said, “What do you mean? Call your wife, I want to see your wife and daughter. Bring them in.”
How does he handle his business?
Gordon knows about all his restaurants and is on top of everything. He likes details and he knows all the financials. When I talk to him he’ll say a number or a piece of information that shows me he reads all the emails and all the reports.
When were you last in touch?
He sent me a message on Instagram yesterday. It said, ‘Hello friend. Congratulations on 10 years. Thanks for the hard work and looking forward to seeing you soon.’
Can he still cook?
[Laughs]. His cooking is great! Even now, having been out of the kitchen for so long, he still has the speed – it’s insane.
END OF INTERVIEW