BURO Exclusive: Gordon Ramsay on his first restaurant in Malaysia, favourite ingredient and swearing
Food + Drink

BURO Exclusive: Gordon Ramsay on his first restaurant in Malaysia, favourite ingredient and swearing

"I'll be f***ed."


By Rachel Au

PORTRAITS: All is Amazing | VIDEO PRODUCER: Marissa Chin | VIDEO: Dennis Kho

Celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay finally paid a visit to his first Malaysian restaurant six months after it opened its doors to the public. 

We had the opportunity to sit down, have a spot of tea and chat about the first Gordon Ramsay Bar & Grill outside of the UK, his memories of the country, advice for young culinary talents and more. And let’s just say his IRL persona is nothing like what you see on TV—though he did admit he pushes his team for success. Sweet, humble, and always with a good serving of humour, the Hell’s Kitchen star was welcoming despite having touched down late the previous night. Read on for the interview, but first, to set the mood, watch Gordon Ramsay play a round of rapid-fire questions with us below.


BURO Malaysia: Welcome back to Malaysia! You’ve been here before, but it’s been a long, long time since the pandemic. So what was the first thing you did after touching down last night? 

Gordon Ramsay: Yeah, that’s true. I went for a swim—there’s something quite unique about how it works for jetlag. There’s no impact on the joints; it’s incredibly relaxing and helps you sleep. I did a 60-minute swim, and it worked wonders.

BURO Malaysia: Wow, that’s a great tip! Now, tell us about the first time you visited Malaysia. What do you remember most about that trip? 

Gordon Ramsay: It was one of the most memorable trips, and I’ve been here many times. For me, it was the foodie culture because, being in Southeast Asia, it never, never got the prestige it deserves. It was a humbling experience because the food is delicious.

BURO Malaysia: Was there anything you did not like?

Gordon Ramsay: That’s a good question but, no, because I’ve never been a fussy eater. From a chef’s point of view, it was a dream. I’m always firm in tasting something once, so I’ve never come across anything here that I felt was too spicy or needed to be sourer. So, no, I was blown away. Also, it’s a melting pot of cultures here, so there’s no arrogance with crossovers. 

BURO Malaysia: Indeed, the lines can be somewhat blurred here when it comes to fusion cooking in Malaysia. 

Gordon Ramsay: Yes, but that’s also because there’s an overlay and overlap of similar ingredients, whether it’s Korean or Japanese cooking! But they’re all cooked in their individual way, so it’s a lovely crossover.

Gordon Ramsay Bar & Grill at Sunway Resort

BURO Malaysia: Since we’re talking about food, was there a particular ingredient in Malaysia that you found interesting?

Gordon Ramsay: There are many, but I love the paste for making curry and some authentic Malaysian herbs and spices. I got taught how to cook properly here by the most amazing aunties because their touch was unique. They didn’t have weighing scales—it wasn’t all about going down to the finest gram. They cooked with their palates and eyes and were incredibly on it. I found that cooking style resourceful because there was no waste, whether it was the stems, shoots or even the carcass of a fish. It was all about flavour for them, and I enjoyed that.  

BURO Malaysia: The ‘agak agak’ method is technically pretty safe because you’re constantly testing as you go along. Hence, it’d hardly ever be too salty or the like since they keep adapting the flavours.

Gordon Ramsay: Yeah, they taught me a lot because you move with the dish as it cooks—checking it every 10 or 15 minutes—and they tend to see it till the end before serving. For me, that Malaysian [cooking] style is intrusive and interrupting but in a good way. Because it brings the cooking alive, driving it fast and furious, so whether it’s an acid sour note at the end or an uptick in chilli, there are no boundaries to create the desired result.

BURO Malaysia: I imagine it like stirring a boiling cauldron and throwing in ingredients as you go along.

Gordon Ramsay: All the time. The thing is, I loved being in that educational seat slash being second fiddle to them. Culturally, there was no way I’d ever come in and think that I knew best. So yeah, it was a fantastic moment.

"Step out of your comfort zone. Stop worrying about everything being perfect. You know, get vulnerable. The minute it gets easy, get out because you're not pushing yourself enough."

BURO Malaysia: Amazing. Coming back to the main reason we’re here today—the first Gordon Ramsay Bar & Grill outside of the UK—have you ever thought it would be Malaysia?

Gordon Ramsay: I was obviously excited to be asked to set up a business like this with such an amazing chairman with his entrepreneurial insights and what he does as a pillar in the local community. I’m a big fan of the educational point of view. As you know, I started with one restaurant 25 years ago, and now, we’re 66 restaurants globally. So, we look at the location, the wishlist and then the investment. And stepping into this, it’s a quintessential English, great British oasis. The setting is perfect because it’s everything you would want from a beautiful grill [restaurant]. But the chairman was the big attraction for me.

BURO Malaysia: There’s a huge community here too. You’ve got families, couples, and businesses.

Gordon Ramsay: Huge family community! It is extraordinary to have so many locals with their favourite tables, servers, and dishes. I knew betting into Kuala Lumpur would be difficult, but I’ve done my homework, and I’m glad I came to learn from the country first before cooking for the country. That’s a big difference for me. 

BURO Malaysia: And it all paid off! But even before the Gordon Ramsay Bar & Grill opened its doors, there was so much buzz, with people making dinner reservations months in advance. What was your first reaction to that news?

Gordon Ramsay: Daunting but super exciting. It just goes to show that underbelly of Malaysians keen to westernise their palate, dine out and grab a sort of cool Britannia take on a lunch or dinner. 

12 Chelsea

BURO Malaysia: So, which is your favourite part of the restaurant?

Gordon Ramsay: That’s a tough one. The bar is beautiful. We can eat in the lounge too, but [it’s] the Chef’s Table with that theatre [Ed’s note: He’s referring to the 12 Chelsea private room]. And, if you go into that kitchen, 99.9 per cent of my team is local. So that has been the exciting part for me because it’s too easy just to fly over a dozen chefs from London, so the education and training here were just paramount. For example, our female sous chef here is a super girl—she’s local, on it, and just so determined. I’m happy with the start. It has only [been] six months, but it feels like six years.

BURO Malaysia: You’ve worked with so many incredible young talents over the years. Have you shared any of those success stories with the local kitchen team?

Gordon Ramsay: I shared how Giles Langford [the Executive Chef] was part of my dream team in 2002, back at [Restaurant Gordon Ramsay on] Royal Hospital Road, when we had just won a third Michelin star. He understands the DNA, and looking at the average age of the 24- to 25-year-old chefs in the kitchen, I know they’re on the path to success. This whole thing is a team effort; more importantly, we got off to the right start. Now, we got to work at it.

BURO Malaysia: Were there any words of advice for them too?

Gordon Ramsay: Yeah, first thing this morning: step out of your comfort zone. Stop worrying about everything being perfect. You know, get vulnerable. The minute it gets easy, get out because you’re not pushing yourself enough. I’ve been one of the most unselfish chefs on the planet when teaching young, hungry chefs to become great successes. So I’d love to see them at the forefront of this industry locally in the next 10 or 15 years. If they haven’t, I want to know why because they’ve got everything I know.

BURO Malaysia: Agreed. It’s important to step out of your comfort zone. 

Gordon Ramsay: Yeah, I want to push them because I got pushed, and it’s healthy. Never become a victim of your own success. Push for success. 

BURO Malaysia: We’ve talked about the interior; now, which dish on the menu best represents you?

Gordon Ramsay: If I had to put one that’s going to headline my gravestone, it would have to be the Wellington because it was ignored in the late 80s and 90s. It deserved its resurgence of confirming the status of a beautiful fillet steak wrapped in puff pastry. It embodies everything that I stand for in British cuisine.

Carving of the Beef Wellington at Gordon Ramsay Bar & Grill

BURO Malaysia: (laughs) Yes, it is very much British.

Gordon Ramsay: Yeah, and we could have it as a table centrepiece for six, or you could do one slice and serve it with white Alba truffle and mashed potatoes in a three-star Michelin restaurant. And now, from a beautifully roasted beetroot Wellington to lobster Wellington to beef Wellingtons, you name it, we’ve been crowned king of the Wellingtons.

BURO Malaysia: Even the carving is a highlight for many people.

Gordon Ramsay: Oh my god, yeah, it’s majestic. I look at how my son irons his uniform for the Royal Marines, and it’s exactly how precise we are with our slice. The carving of this thing is like the crown jewels coming into the restaurant. So yes, really beautiful.

BURO Malaysia: Alright, other than that, what has been your favourite moment of 2022? 

Gordon Ramsay: It would have to be seeing these dining rooms full, customers eating and happy, friendly waiters talking with no mask—it’s a long time coming in our industry, watching restaurants fill up and understanding the importance of breaking bread and eating together as a family. 

BURO Malaysia: Yeah, without having to separate parties to three pax per table, which has been tricky for big families eating out. 

"My attitude to coming out of this global pandemic was to produce a grassroots effect, where we will restructure and reengineer exciting training plans quicker."

Gordon Ramsay: Exactly, and restaurants that were half full because of Covid laws with that 20 meters distance from each other. So, that’s been a big highlight. We didn’t see it in 2020. We certainly didn’t see it in 2021. It’s a huge welcome back.

BURO Malaysia: It’s the start of a new dawn!

Gordon Ramsay: 100 per cent.

BURO Malaysia: And for the hospitality industry, the pandemic saw many people losing their jobs, which simultaneously meant losing a lot of talent. Do you think there’ll be a rise in new people joining the culinary scene?

Gordon Ramsay: Yeah, my attitude to coming out of this global pandemic was to produce a grassroots effect, where we will restructure and reengineer exciting training plans quicker. We went on a spree of opening 25 restaurants in our first year coming out of the pandemic because we wanted to have that grassroots effect. It also reminds everyone of the importance of creating success and putting bums on seats. 

Main dining area of Gordon Ramsay Bar & Grill

BURO Malaysia: We’re looking forward to it. Our last question for today is, what do you hope to achieve in 2023?

Gordon Ramsay: A day off.

BURO Malaysia: (laughs) Just one day?

Gordon Ramsay: (jokes) And a year my wife doesn’t get pregnant with another child, as we have five kids now. No, but what I do hope to achieve, with stepping into Asia, is to establish this as a nod to something cool from London, allowing talent to rise and shine, to see the customers smiling once again. That’s my ambition for 2023. 


To make a reservation, click here or email [email protected].


Address: Lobby Level Sunway Resort, Persiaran Lagoon, Bandar Sunway, 47500 Subang Jaya, Selangor

Opening hours: Lunch – 12pm to 3pm | Dinner – 5pm to 10.30pm

Contact: 603 7492 8000

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Read our food review of Gordon Ramsay Bar & Grill here.

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