Ramsay: I felt like a performing monkey

Ramsay: I felt like a performing monkey

Celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay has told the British High Court he felt like "a performing monkey" as he built up his restaurant empire while father-in-law Christopher Hutcheson was "up to no good" in the office.

Now at the head of 28 restaurants and a cookery school, Ramsay is accusing his father-in-law of using a ghost writer machine to "forge" his signature and make him personally liable for the £640,000-a-year annual rental on the historic York & Albany pub near Regent's Park in London.

The chef is asking a judge to grant a declaration that the rental guarantee is not binding because his signature was used without his knowledge and authorisation when the 25-year lease was signed in 2007.

Mr Hutcheson acted as business manager for the Ramsay group of companies until the chef sacked both him and wife Tana's brother, Adam, on the grounds of "gross misconduct" in 2010.

Film director Gary Love, who owns the York & Albany, has described Ramsay's allegation as an "absurd" attempt to wriggle out of his rental commitments.

Today, in the second week of the court hearing, the chef was asked in cross-examination about emails in which he expressed his unhappiness about what was happening while Mr Hutcheson was managing the business.

Romie Tager QC, appearing for Mr Love, suggested to Ramsay: "You were complaining about him. You thought of him as treating you like a performing donkey - making you overwork away from the office while he was up to no good in the office."

Ramsay said, as Ms Ramsay listened, "Yes", then added he had in fact felt like a "performing monkey".

In order to clarify, Chancery Division judge Mr Justice Morgan, suggested to him his complaint was: "You were doing the donkey work. You were out there working day in, day out while (Mr Hutcheson) had a cushy number at the office where he was able to abstract personal funds for personal gain.

"I am not saying this is true, but this is what you are saying."

Ramsay agreed with the judge. He said the more he had dug into what had happened following Mr Hutcheson's sacking "the worst it got".

Ramsay first gave evidence last week and described "his shock and horror" at discovering Mr Hutcheson, whom he deeply trusted, had defrauded him and the Ramsay group of companies out "of hundreds of thousands of pounds".

He said the ghost writer machine, or possibly two of them, had been used for some four years by his father-in-law but it was limited to signing books and merchandise and not business documents.

Today he returned to the witness box after a trip abroad and faced accusations from Mr Tager that he did know that a ghost writer capable of reproducing his signature had been used to sign documents including the York & Albany rental guarantee.

Mr Tager suggested: "You knew all along about this practice."

Ramsay told the judge: "That is not true, my lord."

More in this Section

Caroline Flack defends new surgery show against criticism from Jameela JamilCaroline Flack defends new surgery show against criticism from Jameela Jamil

Daniel Craig to become longest-serving James BondDaniel Craig to become longest-serving James Bond

Ant McPartlin holds back tears in trailer for DNA Journey seriesAnt McPartlin holds back tears in trailer for DNA Journey series

Netflix releases Panama Papers movie despite lawsuitNetflix releases Panama Papers movie despite lawsuit


Lifestyle

Mountaintop monasteries, vicious-looking vultures, and a seriously impressive cable car.As Ryanair launches flights to Armenia, here’s why it deserves to be your next holiday destination

Jools Holland and his Rhythm & Blues Orchestra played a storming gig at Cork Opera House, writes Des O'Driscoll Live Music Review: Jools Holland and his Rhythm & Blues Orchestra

Concerns about people’s ability to access their own money have been growing – here’s what the debate is all about.Are we actually going to end up as a cashless society?

Everything entertainment you need to look out forScene & Heard: Everything entertainment you need to look out for

More From The Irish Examiner