Gordon Ramsay is not known for mincing his words, so it should come as no surprise to learn that writing up an interview with the outspoken chef is akin to devising an elaborate game of "fill in the blanks". Nor, that he is raising his four children in the same strict, no-nonsense style in which he runs his kitchens. Though it's perhaps somewhat unexpected to learn that they are rarely allowed to eat in his restaurants.

"I've never been really turned on about the money," he tells me in a break from filming his new daytime TV cookery show (now this is a surprise, which we'll come back to). "That's not my number one objective, and that's reflected in the way the kids are brought up.

"Last time we went to Royal Hospital Road [Ramsay's three Michelin starred flagship restaurant in Chelsea] was for Megan's 16th birthday, and that was the first time we've ever eaten there with the kids. They have served the Chelsea pensioners there for Christmas lunch, but not eaten there."

It appears his stringent parenting stance doesn't relax, even on holiday: "They don't sit with us in first class. They haven't worked anywhere near hard enough to afford that. At that age, at that size, you're telling me they need to sit in first class? No, they do not. We're really strict on that.

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"I turn left with Tana and they turn right and I say to the chief stewardess, 'Make sure those little f------ don't come anywhere near us, I want to sleep on this plane'. I worked my f------ arse off to sit that close to the pilot and you appreciate it more when you've grafted for it."

His ethos is undoubtedly a product of his own tough upbringing. Born in Glasgow and brought up in Stratford upon Avon, his father, Gordon Snr, was an abusive, alcoholic womaniser, who took out his frustrations on his young wife, Helen. Ramsay moved out of the family home aged 16.

Now married to former teacher Tana, 42, with homes in Wandsworth, south London, Los Angeles and Cornwall, and businesses dotted around the world, he is said to earn as much as Beyonce; both made $54million (£43 million) last year, according to Forbes.


Yet the Ramsay children - Matilda, 15, Jack and Holly, 17, and Megan, 18 - earn their own money and have been brought up helping out charities such as Great Ormond Street Hospital.

"Tana came from a super set-up, and I'm just 'educated rough' from a council estate," he admits. "So we meet in the middle and the kids bounce off both of us. They have a completely different life than I did growing up. I worked my arse off to get out of the s--- mess that I grew up in and they're grateful, they're not spoilt.

"Meg's at uni and has a budget of £100 a week; the others get about £50 a week and they have to pay for their own phones, their bus fare. The earlier you give them that responsibility to save for their own trainers and jeans, the better.

"They all cook as a life skill as opposed to a career. I never want to put that onus on them. I don't want them with a badge, going into a kitchen [with people] thinking that's Ramsay's daughter or that's Ramsay's son."


He announced that Tana was expecting their fifth child - a second son - on James Corden's The Late Late Show in the US, last year; but they were left grief-stricken when she miscarried, five months into the pregnancy.

He has since revealed he was buoyed by the support of celebrity friends Jamie and Jools Oliver, and the Beckhams - and that getting through the devastating loss together "made the family unit even tighter".

His teenagers certainly take after him: psychology student Megan is about to run the London Marathon for the first time to raise money for Great Ormond Street, reflecting her father's passions for running as well as charity work. Jack is the spitting image of his dad ("but with a few less wrinkles") and wants to become a Marine; Tilly has her own CBBC cookery show, Matilda and the Ramsay Bunch; while Holly is interested in fashion and wisecracks as well as her dad.

Whatever they end up doing, they will have to make their own way in life, as Ramsay has no intention of leaving his fortune to them in his will.

"It's definitely not going to them, and that's not in a mean way; it's to not spoil them," he says. "The only thing I've agreed with Tana is they get a 25 per cent deposit on a flat, but not the whole flat.

"I've been super lucky, having that career for the last 15 years in the US. Seriously, it has earned a fortune and I've been very lucky, so I respect everything I've got."

For a while, we seemed to have lost Ramsay to the States, but he is currently back with a bang, with a three-programme deal on ITV that included a week-long stint fronting the Nightly Show, earlier this month and a hard-hitting documentary due to film later this year.