Gordon Ramsay’s Embarrassing Arrest Inspired Him to Set Up a Prison Bakery for London Inmates
Gordon Ramsay is one of the world’s most renowned chefs. He has restaurants across the globe, numerous popular television series, as well as several product lines. He has become an icon in the culinary world. He may be widely recognized as the short-tempered, foul-mouthed leader on Hell’s Kitchen, but in reality, he is a sweet, good-natured father and husband. Fans might be surprised to learn about an embarrassing incident from his younger days that inspired him to help London inmates.
Gordon Ramsay’s embarrassing arrest in the loo
The tendency for young adults to make silly choices is compounded when they are out drinking with their buddies, and that’s what led to Ramsay’s incident.
In 1993, Ramsay received a caution for “gross indecency in a public toilet.” In England, a caution is given for a minor crime–the perpetrator is not convicted, but it does remain in the court files for use as evidence of character for future crimes.
Apparently, Ramsay had been out all night drinking with friends, and the incident happened in the wee hours of the morning (no pun intended). The three friends were screwing around in the restrooms of a subway station, and the station master contacted the police.
When the police arrived, the guys were leaving the station and were arrested. They received the cautions and there were no court appearances. Ramsay says he doesn’t really remember the incident.
His public relations specialist reports that she thinks one of the guys was peeing in a sink, and they were just making a lot of noise and being obnoxious. She denies that the men had performed any sordid or lewd acts and that it was just friends horsing around after drinking too much.
Gordon Ramsay’s arrest inspired him to help inmates
Although Ramsay’s arrest happened a long time ago, he didn’t entirely forget about the incident. In 2012, the culinary mastermind created the Bad Boys’ Bakery in HMP Brixton. HMP is a prison in the London borough of Lambeth.
Ramsay created the bakery as a way to help prisoners learn a trade that could help them get a job upon release. He hoped that learning these new skills would help some inmates create a stable life for themselves and reduce reoffending.
Up to 12 students can participate in classes in the bakery at one time, with two peer mentors available for support. The inmates receive a Level 2 City and Guilds baking qualification upon completion of their training. The qualification is recognized by most potential employers and can be a huge help in obtaining work upon release.
The inmates learn to bake a variety of goods from scratch, including bread, sponge cake, and even wedding cakes. Their famous sourdough bread is a hit with local cafes and restaurants. They also serve their baked goods in the eatery at the prison’s visiting center.
In addition to teaching valuable skills, the bakery gives the inmates a sense of pride and accomplishment. It also lifts their spirits, as many of the inmates look forward to their time in the kitchen.
A former career criminal says Ramsay and a homelessness project changed his life
One former inmate who went through the training at Bad Boys’ Bakery says he is incredibly grateful for the opportunity the program gave him. Anthony Kelly was struggling through a life of crime and drug use.
At 34 years old, Kelly had spent 16 years doing time on and off in numerous prisons. After appearing on Ramsay’s television series, Gordon Behind Bars, and working in the bakery, Kelly was inspired to make that difficult change. He spent a long time in a rehabilitation clinic and got clean for the first time since he was 10 years old.
After that, he found himself back at Anchor House, a homeless shelter that had offered him a helping hand throughout the years. They paid for his rehab, and never turned him away, even when he was at his lowest points. He says without Anchor House, he never would have made it.
Kelly appreciates Ramsay’s honest and open communication with the inmates during the filming of the series. He says the chef shared details of his own difficult personal life, growing up with an alcoholic father, and a brother who struggled with addiction as well.
Ramsay’s series helped viewers to understand that many of the inmates welcomed the chance to turn their lives around. They wanted to learn and grow, and they were thankful to get the chance to lead a better life.