Gordon Ramsay was best man at his wedding, but the celebrity chef's friendship with his most successful protégé, Marcus Wareing, is definitely over.
In his first interview since a very public falling-out with Ramsay, Wareing has launched a scathing attack on the man who helped launch his career, saying that he'd rather "kill himself" than be overshadowed by the "sad bastard", and declaring that he is determined to usurp Ramsay as London's top chef.
Wareing, 38, is head chef at Petrus in the Berkeley Hotel, Knightsbridge, a restaurant currently run by Gordon Ramsay Holdings. The hotel recently announced that it will not renew Ramsay's contract and will instead hand over the lease to Wareing when the contract runs out in September.
However, Ramsay, who has risen to national fame as the presenter of Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares and The F Word on Channel 4, has challenged the move through his lawyers.
Wareing describes how working for Ramsay made him feel "constrained, confined and trapped", adding that he would "lose no sleep" if he never met him again.
His remarks resurrect a feud that brought to an end one of the most successful partnerships in London's gastronomic history.
The pair first met at Le Gavroche in the early 1990s. In 1993, Wareing, who is three years younger than Ramsay, was then hired to work as a sous chef in Aubergine, Ramsay's first solo project. There the pair worked "side by side, six days a week, for two solid years".
Wareing was then tasked with running Petrus. Together, he and Ramsay were so successful that that they acquired 15 Michelin stars between them.
Rumours of a fall-out began to filter through gossip columns earlier this year before the owners of the Berkeley Hotel made their decision to ditch Ramsay.
Now, in an interview published in the August edition of Waitrose Food Illustrated, Wareing says that he has spent too long in his mentor's shadow.
"If I never speak to that guy again in my life it wouldn't bother me one bit," he said. "I admire Gordon, I learned a lot from him. But would I lose any sleep knowing he wouldn't be there? No chance.
"Whatever happens between me and Gordon, if he wants me never to get to the status I want then my advice to him is: put a gun to my head, shoot me, put me in a box and bury me because, if you don't, I'll come back and come back. I'll never give up until I get to where I want to go."
Referring to Ramsay's status as Britain's only three-starred Michelin chef, Wareing says: "Gordon loves being the only three-star here. He's milked it for years." He goes on to dismiss Ramsay as a "celebrity" chef who is "not really part of the industry now", while declaring: "I want to be my own man."
Explaining why he decided to break with someone he'd been so close to, Wareing adds: "Very simple. When you wake up in the morning and look in the mirror and all you see is a man who is constrained, confined and trapped, then you've got to change. My level of desire to expand has been reined in from time to time."
William Sitwell, editor of Waitrose Food Illustrated, said: "When I saw the interview I thought it was unbelievable. Here was one of the finest chefs in the country saying he wanted to break free from a man who taught him almost everything he knew.
"It's understandable that two people at the top of their profession, who work under incredibly high pressure during very unsociable hours, should come to blows. The ultimate winners from all this," he added, "will be the capital's diners, for whom this is very healthy competition."
Gordon Ramsay was unavailable for comment.Reuse content