In the fall of 2008, his London-based Gordon Ramsay Holdings Ltd. breached the covenants on a 10.5 million-pound loan and overdraft facility from Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc. The bank hired KPMG to perform an independent review of the firm, 69 percent of which is owned by Ramsay and 31 percent by his father-in-law, Chris Hutcheson. In late December, Ramsay says, KPMG recommended that the company declare bankruptcy, fire hundreds of people and close all but its best-performing restaurants.

The stress was so intense, he says, that he’d go for runs in Malibu at 4:30 a.m., wearing a black vest loaded with 20 kilograms of weights. “I just ran and ran and ran,” he says. For Ramsay, bankruptcy was unthinkable even if it made financial sense.

“There was no f—ing way that was ever going to happen,” he says. “That was never even an option.”

Ramsay’s fame would have made it the most public of failures.

While Ramsay bristles at such criticism, saying consistency is more important to him than being avant-garde, he makes no apology for spending less time at the stove. “You tell me a chef anywhere in the world that’s prepared to turn down quarter of a million dollars for an hour’s work on TV, and they’re the biggest lying bastard that ever put on a chef’s jacket,” he says.

via Gordon Ramsay Flees Kitchen as TV Fame Saves Restaurant Empire –