Ramsay vows to forswear bad language after he gets the brush-off from Australia

His name has long been synonymous with abuse, asterisks and four-letter words, but Gordon Ramsay has had a dramatic change of heart on swearing. In a move that will have diners choking on their oven-roasted Bresse pigeon, he plans to ban foul language in all his restaurants, whether in the kitchens or the dining areas.

All over his considerable gastronomic empire, from his flagship eaterie in Chelsea to his controversial Gordon Ramsay New York, to his newest venture in Paris, opened to huge fanfares last week, and his Plane Food place in the bedevilled Terminal Five, the ban will come into operation on 1 May.

Assistant chefs and waiters will face disciplinary one-on-one "exercise" sessions with Ramsay, and diners will be fined £5 (or $11 or €7), for any outbreak of effing, blinding or c-word in public. Four years ago, Ramsay installed closed-circuit TV in all his UK restaurants to improve waiter service, and it has even been suggested that he has had sensitive microphones installed in his tables, to pick up sotto voce cursing. The reason for this dramatic turnaround is not hard to find. It follows the crushing news that Ramsay's application to open a new establishment in Sydney – his first in Australia – has been turned down by the city authorities, on grounds of "decency".

"We are not prudes, God knows," said Senator Drew Stockman, 61, "and we have no problem with vigorous language, where appropriate. But we feel that allowing this sweary fellow to bring his bilious obscenities to Sydney's Harbourfront is a step in the wrong direction. Australia is changing. The old stereotypes have been supplanted by a new sophistication and dignity. And frankly, Gordon Ramsay has no part of it. The only Ramsay we want around here is the street in Neighbours."

This is not the first time Ramsay has fallen foul of Australian fastidiousness. Only 10 days ago, a motion was introduced in the federal Parliament, calling for a review of the broadcasting code of conduct, after an episode of Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares, in which the chef swore more than 80 times, was broadcast on Channel 9. "There is no justification for the use of such language in the public arena, particularly by our free-to-air broadcasters," said Corey Bernardi, 58, a Liberal senator.

Ramsay, understandably, did not take the news with stoic resignation. "He was hopping mad for an hour or so," said a spokesman. "He called the Senate and the federal government ... certain names. He pointed out, quite rightly, that the whole thrust of Australia's new tourism initiative is based on swearing, what with that 'Where the bloody hell are you?' routine.

"But I think Gordon has been forced to take stock of his reputation for verbal violence. Is it right that he should be associated in the public mind with rude words as much as with sublime cooking? All that's going to change. There's a new, mature, more approachable Gordon Ramsay inside him that the world hasn't yet seen, and it's one that won't go around turning the air blue all the time."

Ramsay cut his teeth in the late 1980s, working with the famously irascible Marco Pierre White at Harvey's in south London, until he tired of "the rages and the bullying and violence". His first sighting by the British TV audience was in a fly-on-the-wall documentary called Boiling Point, in which his startlingly colourful language made him an overnight celebrity. Since then, he has capitalised on his potty mouth, giving his TV series the ambiguous title of The F-Word (the other word being Food.) Even his last book was confusingly titled *** Chef. Did it mean "Three [Michelin star] Chef"? Or did the asterisks indicate a rude three-letter word? Is there one?

Ramsay fans are finding it hard to believe the former footballer's trademark four-letter rants will cease. "Gordon just won't be Gordon without the repertoire of fucks," said his former Channel 4 producer, Dominic Easby. "He'll be in danger of losing his unique selling proposition. I sincerely hope he'll reconsider this disastrous re-branding."

Others are dismayed. "I've never heard such rampant hypocrisy," said Anthony Harper-Smith, who recently took over as head chef at Le Lapin Enorme in Kensington. "For years and years, he's sworn at everyone like a Folkstone docker, and now he's going to charge people for saying 'bastard' in his restaurants? I can't believe anyone will fall for this."

Last night Ramsay was not available for comment, obscene or otherwise.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Technical Author / Multimedia Writer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This recognized leader in providing software s...

Recruitment Genius: Clinical Lead / RGN

£40000 - £42000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: IT Sales Consultant

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT support company has a n...

Recruitment Genius: Works Engineer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A works engineer is required in a progressive ...

Day In a Page

Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent