He notoriously used the F-word 298 times in a 65-minute television programme. So what, one wonders, must the language have been like in Gordon Ramsay's house a fortnight ago when news came of his latest kitchen nightmare?
The "superchef", probably known more for his bombastic TV presence than his Michelin-starred cuisine, found himself lumbered with a £10.8 million ($22 million) rent bill over the next 17 years, not to mention £1.6 million in legal costs and outstanding rent, after losing a vitriolic court battle with his father-in-law. Ramsay, 48, had claimed that Christopher Hutcheson, his father-in-law and former chief executive of his business, forged his signature on a deal making him the guarantor for rent on the York & Albany, a gastropub in Camden, North London.
However, a High Court judge rejected Ramsay's claim that he had been duped as "entirely implausible". Mr Justice Morgan said: "He may consider that Mr Hutcheson did a bad deal. However, on any finding, he is not able to say that Mr Hutcheson exceeded his authority in any respect."
Not a great start to the year for a man who, in his long career, has variously been described as "world class" by The Good Food Guide, a "monster" by Hutcheson, and been insulted by his eldest daughter after he tried to stop her attending a disco with boys by buying up all the male tickets. To add insult to Ramsay's grim week, David Cameron then revealed that he would be inclined to take Angela Merkel and Barack Obama to Nando's rather than a Ramsay restaurant as the chicken chain "is the best value for money".
It was more than a bad week, though, as the past 12 months haven't been fabulous for Ramsay either. He and his wife, Tana, and their four children spent Christmas at their home in Wandsworth, south London, where he cooked lunch for their close friends the Beckhams, before the two families moved on to the Maldives for New Year. It was probably a much-needed break, coming soon after Ramsay's claim that the opening night of his new restaurant, Heddon Street Kitchen, had been sabotaged by rivals who secretly booked 100 of the 140 tables, leaving it almost deserted.
Cynics declared his claim a PR stunt. Reviewers, in any case, were lukewarm about his latest venture. "Soulless," said one, while the Telegraph declared it "functional". The previous year, critics were equally underwhelmed by the Union Street Cafe, his South London restaurant, calling it "blisteringly average". It was heralded as being backed by David Beckham, although the footballer then dropped out. Meanwhile, his New York venture, Gordon Ramsay at The London hotel, was humiliatingly stripped of both its Michelin stars and subsequently closed.
The Ramsays needn't cancel any future Maldives holidays just yet, though. Thanks largely to his US TV career (since 2005, he's starred in several shows for Fox, including Hell's Kitchen, Kitchen Nightmares and MasterChef), he's estimated to be the third-richest chef in the world (behind Alan Wong and Jamie Oliver), with an estimated net worth of £78 million.
Just as well, since last year his restaurant group announced a £6.4 million pre-tax loss. Other legal wrangles threatened to drag the business even further under, with his former partner in the defunct Los Angeles restaurant, the Fat Cow, suing Ramsay for US$10 million ($13 million), alleging he mishandled a trademark issue.
It doesn't take Sigmund Freud to understand Ramsay's volatility. Brought up on a council estate in Warwickshire, Ramsay's father was a womanising, wife-beating alcoholic, while his brother is a heroin addict who has stolen from him and threatened his and his family's lives. For years he claimed to have played football for Glasgow Rangers, but recently admitted such stories may have been "inaccurate" and that he had only ever been a trialist until injuries ended his sporting career.
After catering college, Ramsay worked for Michel Roux at Le Gavroche and Marco Pierre White at Harveys before winning two Michelin stars at the Chelsea restaurant Aubergine. (Roux has since called Ramsay's current persona "appalling", while White has said he'll never speak to his former friend again after he admitted having stolen Aubergine's reservations book and blamed White, to besmirch his rival's reputation.)
By the millennium, he had his own eponymous restaurant with three Michelin stars, while his swearing, combined with occasional violence towards staff, on the docu-soap Boiling Point made him a household name. Since then, dozens of Ramsay-endorsed restaurants have opened (and closed) all over the world - he currently owns or operates 26 in locations from Hong Kong to Los Angeles, with his three-Michelin-starred flagship in Chelsea thriving under chef Clare Smyth.
Other venues, however, have had far less enthusiastic receptions, with reviewers constantly complaining that, given his fiery personality, Ramsay's food and dining rooms often verge on the unoriginal and bland.
"When it comes to reviewing Ramsay's restaurants, they tend to perform okay but not brilliantly - comments are positive, not rapturous," says Guy Dimond, food and drink editor of London's Time Out. "Arguably he's not quite as cutting edge as he was 10 or 15 years ago, a solid performer but not exciting. That's the pattern when restaurateurs over-extend themselves and have too many businesses on the go at the same time."
In the US, Ramsay is a huge TV star - far better-known than Jamie Oliver or Nigella Lawson - but as a gastronomic force, he is insignificant. "I don't know how many Americans realise Ramsay is a proper restaurateur with going concerns as well as a bad-mouthed TV chef," says Bret Thorn, senior food editor at Nation's Restaurant News in the US. "His Maze restaurant in Manhattan is considered good, but it's not massively popular - it's not a place people talk about."
"Ramsay's restaurant legacy in America is one of scandals, whether in the form of a Michelin downgrade or yet another lawsuit," adds Hillary Dixler, associate reports editor of the US food news website Eater.
Indeed, many of Ramsay's words and deeds have left a distinctly sour aftertaste. He denied claims of a seven-year affair with Jeffrey Archer's former mistress, with the charming explanation of his wife's potential reaction to an infidelity: "She's a nut-crusher. If I ever f***ed up, she'd have my balls in a vice and turn them into a f***ing crepe suzette thinner than the frilliest knickers Paris Hilton's ever worn."
When critics pointed out that he was rarely seen at his restaurants, he compared the business to an Armani suit. "When you bought it, did you ask if it was f***ing Giorgio who stitched it?" When customers complained about reports of "boil-in-the-bag" food prepared off the premises and reheated at some restaurants, he replied: "Why didn't you complain at the f***ing time, then?
One lady wrote in to say that her mushy peas were too mushed. "Sweetheart, do me a favour, f*** off." His hard-man reputation was also dented with revelations of cosmetic surgery on his chin ("I've always had a face like Freddy Krueger," he explained), teeth whitening and hair transplants.
Most discomfiting, though, has been the Corleone-like feud with Hutcheson, an entrepreneur who'd worked with his son-in-law since his early Chelsea triumph.
In 2010, Ramsay sacked Hutcheson from running his empire, alleging financial improprieties. In response, Hutcheson gave an interview in which he described Ramsay as a friendless "Svengali". Hutcheson's wife, Greta, then wrote to their daughter saying she would have nothing more to do with her unless she left her husband. Ramsay hit back by revealing that he'd paid private detectives to follow Hutcheson, discovering he was leading a double life with a second family.
Worn down by endless similar grubby wranglings, it can be a struggle to celebrate Ramsay's achievements, to remember how instrumental he was in transforming London from a culinary black hole into what is generally agreed to be the world's gastronomic capital. His restaurants have employed thousands, and many of his proteges have gone on to greatness: Angela Hartnett at Murano, Marcus Wareing at his eponymous restaurant, Jason Atherton at the Pollen Street Social, and Markus Glocker at one of New York's hottest restaurants, Batard.
Despite the setbacks, the Ramsay juggernaut ploughs on - with the shouty one revealing an unexpected sentimental side. He announced recently that he had spent £1.2 million on the site of Aubergine, the restaurant that made his name. There are even hints that he is finally maturing: his latest US TV role has him judging Junior MasterChef.
"With the kids, he's adorable," reports Thorn. "He hasn't sworn once. It's really a breath of fresh air. But as you get older, you'd hope to gain perspective. You can't stay a young, arrogant loudmouth all your life."
Hotel Hell screens on TV2, Mondays, 9.30pm.