16 Things You Didn't Know About 'Hell’s Kitchen' Star Gordon Ramsay

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Ramsay began his food career in England as a pot washer in an Indian restaurant.

Competition will be fierce when Hell’s Kitchen: Battle of the Ages premieres Sept. 29 on Fox with chef Gordon Ramsay, 55, overseeing culinary showdowns between well-seasoned chefs and ambitious younger challengers. Here are some fun facts about the MasterChef judge, who began his own food career in England as a pot washer in an Indian restaurant.

  • Soccer (or football, as he calls it) was Ramsay’s dream career before injuries forced him to change his plans.

  • His feet are a U.K. size 15—the equivalent of a U.S. size 16! All his shoes are custom-made.

  • He’s a black belt in karate.

Related: Gordon Ramsay’s Healthy, Colorful Pasta Toss Really Boosts Your Intake of Cruciferous Greens

  • Ramsay has competed in more than 15 marathons and in one of the world’s toughest races, the Ironman World Championship.

  • Vowing to never eat airplane food, he opened Gordon Ramsay Plane Food at London’s Heathrow airport so people can carry on their meals.

  • He believes there are five foods everyone should be able to make: a great burger, breakfast, a chicken dish, a braising dish and a great cake.

  • Ramsay’s guilty pleasures when it comes to sweets is cookies and Crack Pie sent to him by Christina Tosi of Milk Bar, and for fast food, it’s In-N-Out double cheeseburgers.

  • At 31, Ramsay opened his very first restaurant in London’s Chelsea neighborhood, called Restaurant Gordon Ramsay.

  • Ramsay’s signature dish is his beef Wellington.

  • In 2006, he was awarded the OBE [Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire] by Queen Elizabeth II for his contribution to the hospitality world.

  • Weekdays, Ramsay eats porridge (oatmeal) for breakfast, but its waffles with the family on Saturday and pancakes on Sundays.

Related: Get to Know Gordon Ramsay's 5 Kitche Helpers (His Kids!) 

  • Following in Dad’s footsteps, his daughter Matilda had her own cooking show for five seasons on CBBC called Matilda and the Ramsay Bunch.

  • Ramsay considers French chef Guy Savoy to be his mentor.

  • Ramsay married Cayetana Hutcheson in 1996, and the couple divide their time between Wandsworth Common in South London and Los Angeles.

  • Ramsay has five children: Megan, 24; twins Holly, 22, and Jack, 22; Matilda, 20; and Oscar, 3.

  • His favorite midnight snack is baked beans on grilled sourdough bread with garlic and hot sauce and topped with a duck egg and Parmesan cheese.

Related: 10 of Gordon Ramsay's Funniest Quotes and Insults—'This Isn't Pizza, This Is a Mistake!'