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Last Updated: Saturday, 5 June, 2004, 10:43 GMT 11:43 UK
Faces of the week
Faces of the week

Our regular look at some of the faces which have made the news this week. Above are Gordon Ramsay (main picture), with Robert Hughes, Jane Tomlinson, D-Day vet Jock Wilson, and Michael Vaughan.

GORDON RAMSAY

Gordon Ramsay's recent TV appearances have revealed a driven man, committed to the very highest standards and fearless in his use of foul language. Is there more to the celebrity chef than a fear-inducing perfectionism?

Escoffier and Elizabeth David must be spinning in their graves. The oh-so genteel image of top-class chefs has taken a battering in recent years.

Fanny Craddock and Graeme Kerr, the Galloping Gourmet, brought cooking into the television age, with their own idiosyncrasies and recipes with truly scary calorific levels.

Next came prim-and-proper Delia Smith, the bibulous Keith Floyd and, more recently, that apotheosis of mockney geezerdom, Jamie Oliver.

Gordon Ramsay in a kitchen
I am not a TV chef; I want that engraved on my tombstone
Gordon Ramsay
But none of the above has ever come close to Gordon Ramsay's own particular brand of kitchen etiquette.

In his current TV series, Hell's Kitchen, he has reduced the actor James Dreyfus - of the sitcom Gimme Gimme Gimme - to tears. He has called one diner, the comedian Vic Reeves, a "professional pleb". And he has come to blows with the former Coronation Street star, Amanda Barrie.

Barrie, who walked off the show after taking a swipe at Ramsay, says, "I half-admire him as a showman and recognise that he can be charismatic, but he is also a typical bully. He and his series are as full of hot air as one of his soufflés."

This opinion, however, is not shared by all, and Hell's Kitchen has trounced the new series of Big Brother in the ratings.

Another recent series, Gordon Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares, featured even more of the now-familiar foul language, and a disturbing scene in which the super-chef vomited after being served a dodgy scallop.

Not bad for the man who once quipped "I am not a TV chef. I want that engraved on my tombstone."

Bad boy of cooking

If cooking is the new rock 'n' roll, Ramsay may not be its Elvis, but he could well be its Johnny Rotten.

After the London Marathon
The volatile chef has become something of a pin-up
The 37-year-old, who once played football for Glasgow Rangers before a knee injury ended his career, made his reputation with the equally abrasive Marco Pierre White.

Today he owns and runs a number of establishments, including the Savoy Grill and Claridge's, favourite haunt of Sophie Dahl and Jasper Conran and, for mere mortals, booked up for the rest of the year.

His eponymously-named flagship restaurant, on London's Royal Hospital Road, boasts three Michelin stars and the man himself has just taken possession of a £500,000 designer kitchen.

Happily married to Tana, who has her own MFI kitchen in their London home, Ramsay recently outraged many by confessing that he refused to attend the birth of his children, Megan and Jack, as he feared it would damage his and his wife's love life.

Tana Ramsay says her husband, who never swears at home, is "charming, caring and decent".

The couple at an awards ceremony
Gordon and wife Tana
Yet although he seems to actively court controversy - once accusing his arch-rival, Antony Worrall Thompson, of "having more chips on his shoulder than McDonalds" - Ramsay's fans are legion.

A typical menu, yours for 80 quid, features seven courses, and includes such delights as tortellini of lobster and sautéed loin of venison with creamed cabbage and bitter chocolate sauce.

And in 2001, six City bond dealers spent £44,007 at another Ramsay restaurant, Petrus, to celebrate a huge bonds coup, a record for the world's most expensive meal.

Even though he is now at the height of his powers, the thought remains that - somewhere, somehow - there may be a reckoning for Ramsay's many high-profile rages.


Outraged: Robert Hughes
Robert Hughes

The art critic Robert Hughes has lambasted wealthy collectors for being "culturally obscene". In a speech at London's Royal Academy, Hughes, author of the Modernist history, The Shock of the New, fumed, "We have had a gutful of fast art and fast food. What we need more of is slow art; art that holds time as a vase holds water; art that isn't merely sensationalism, that doesn't get its message across in 10 seconds."

Jane Tomlinson: Homeward bound
Jane Tomlinson

Jane Tomlinson, the Leeds woman dying from terminal cancer, is on the final stage of a mammoth bike ride from Rome to her Yorkshire home. Mrs Tomlinson, who has raised more than £600,000 for charity, has already taken part in three marathons, a triathlon, a half-Ironman triathlon and a 1,060-mile bike ride from John O'Groats to Land's End. Jane and her cycling companion, her brother Luke Goward, are expected home on Monday.

Dad-to-be: Michael Vaughan
Michael Vaughan

The England cricket captain, Michael Vaughan, racked up a new record when his wife, Nichola, gave birth to a 7lb 1oz daughter during a game. Vaughan left the Headingley ground during the Second Test against New Zealand to be at her side as Tallulah Grace was born. Leaving Test matches to attend a birth is still fairly unusual for players. But the match referee gave his blessing, saying Vaughan would be able to bat in whichever position he wished upon his return.

Honoured: Jock Wilson
Jock Wilson

The UK's oldest D-Day veteran has been awarded France's highest decoration for his contribution to the liberation of Europe. Jock Wilson, who will turn 101 on 7 September, received the Legion d'Honneur at a ceremony in London. Mr Wilson, who has three grandchildren and four great-grandchildren, said it felt "wonderful" to be given such a prestigious medal. He also returned to Normandy for the 60th anniversary of the landings.

Compiled by BBC News Profiles Unit's Andrew Walker




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