While the rock world has Elton John and Rod Stewart’s feud, the big beef of the food business has always belonged to Jamie Oliver and Gordon Ramsay.
Their mud-slinging first kicked off in 2009 when Jamie, 45, stuck up for Australian journalist Tracy Grimshaw after Gordon compared her appearance to that of a pig.
“Aussies aren’t forgiving. Once you’re gone, you’re gone… It’s never good to criticise a woman, especially when they’re loved by their country and you do it on national television,” Jamie told The Sun.
Gordon – who turns 54 today – hit back, branding him a ‘one-pot wonder’ and quipped that the last time he’d complained about a meal was at one of Jamie’s restaurants.
Upping the ante, Jamie hailed Gordon’s wife Tana’s cookbook better than the Hell’s Kitchen star’s.
But the knives really came out when Gordon repeatedly mocked Jamie over his weight and cooking while hosting The Nightly Show in March 2017.
At the end of his week-long stint, Gordon penned a mock-apology letter to Jamie which read: “I just want to say that I’m sorry. I have been hard on you this week, Jamie. I’ve called you fat, I’ve criticised your restaurants, called you fat, said you enjoyed prison sex, and called you fat.
“What I said was hurtful, Jamie. I don’t want to make you cry.
“The last thing I want to do is look at your cute face and think: blubber, blubber, blubber.”
Jamie refused to be drawn into the fray and insisted that while the old him might have reacted, he had moved past public feuding for the sake of their young families.
“I was doing TV years before him, so maybe five years ago it would have bothered me and I may have responded,” he told The Sun.
“He’s got four kids and I’ve got five kids and I don’t want to be slagging off some kids’ dad on telly. It’s not nice.”
But Jamie’s seemingly innocuous comments proved to be a turning point in the long-running feud, and led to an enraged Gordon vowing never to speak to him again unless he apologised to ‘mortified’ wife Tana.
The year prior Gordon and Tana suffered a heartbreaking miscarriage when she was five months pregnant with son Rocky, and Gordon saw Jamie’s comments as a dig.
“Jamie turned round and said [in a newspaper], ‘I’ve got five kids, he’s got four kids’”, Gordon told Radio Times. “To judge someone else’s family on the amount of kids you have, that’s… that’s…
“Boys will always fight and butt heads but Tana was mortified, I mean really mortified.”
Jamie – who has been one of the first to express his sympathies to Gordon and Tana following their loss – responded, insisting his comments were intended to be “fairly grown-up and reasonable.”
“I don’t want personal spats in public with someone that, to be honest, I don’t even really know any more… I don’t think he liked me taking the high ground,” he told the Radio Times.
“I think that’s basically it. So, I’m going to take the high ground now and say I wish him all the best, and all success.
“Good luck to him. But we have both got kids, and I don’t know what sort of example we’re setting if we’re arguing like we’re in the playground.”
However, a thawing finally came in May 2019 when Jamie’s restaurant empire went bust.
Instead of gloating over his rival’s downfall, Gordon expressed his deep sympathy for Jamie, hailing his talent and revealing how he reached out as soon as he heard.
“That was devastating, I don’t think anyone likes to revel in that kind of failure,” Gordon said during an appearance on The Jonathan Ross Show.
“Bottom line is, he’s a great guy and a great chef and it was sad to see him disappear overnight but we had a drink and it was a tough time, like it is all of us out there.”
Insisting the feud is over, he even went so far as to say that they’re now ‘friends’, and so are their families.
“We were on holiday last year together in Cornwall, he came round for a barbeque. Yes [we are friends] absolutely. No one wants to see anyone fail like that because at the heart of it, he is a super talented guy so it’s a great shame,” Gordon continued.