The secret recipe behind Ramsay’s success on YouTube

How does top chef Gordon Ramsay manage to get billions of views on YouTube?


Lars van der Peet
YouTube Consultant

He is known worldwide for his profanity-laden tirades targeted at both amateur and professional chefs, who don’t reach his cooking standards. Gordon Ramsay might very well be the most famous chef in the world. But he is not only a dominant force in traditional television and fine dining. Where other celebrity chefs have failed to capitalize on the opportunities of YouTube, Ramsay generates billions of views on the platform, competing with the biggest food channels in a highly competitive market. In this article we find out what the secret is to Gordon Ramsay’s success on YouTube.


Besides being a world class cook, Ramsey is also a chef with television shows like Kitchen Nightmares and Hell’s Kitchen. Many questions have been raised about the place of television in a digital, ‘video on demand’-world. Will traditional television be able to compete with platforms like YouTube, Amazon Prime and Netflix? The reality is that platforms like YouTube are a big opportunity for television. The last season of Ramsay’s famous television program ‘Kitchen Nightmares’ aired in 2014 yet the show’s official YouTube channel is still uploading 2-3 video’s a week. This is why today in 2021, they’ve been generating 182 million views in the last 3 months. The Kitchen Nightmares channel has currently gained 3.3 billion views in total, while the official Hell’s Kitchen channel has generated almost 1 billion views. This is remarkable as Kitchen Nightmares has been off the air since 2014 while Hell’s kitchen is still producing new seasons.



The videos on Kitchen Nightmares channel consist of clips from the episodes and compilations of similar moments that return multiple times on the show, like the moment Gordon Ramsay confronts the owners. The most popular videos on the channel are listicles and compilations like Six times Gordon Ramsay Actually LIKED THE FOOD! Kitchen Nightmares COMPILATION with 69 million views & The WORST Pizzas served on Kitchen Nightmares with 46 million views. Regarding the video titles the channel also shows a lot of creativity and humor. This is shown by titles like hippity hopitty Gordon’s on your property, Moments that make me shake my buns and of course… Microwave my salad and call me a donut. This shows that the channel speaks the internet’s language. Something that is also evident in the channel’s thumbnail designs


The gigantic success of Kitchen Nightmares on YouTube teaches us many valuable lessons. It has kept a traditional television series popular and relevant 7 years after the show was cancelled, generating millions of dollars in advertising revenue in the process. Simultaneously its continued popularity has kept opportunities open for a relaunch of the show.

Recently the channel posted a teaser trailer for an all new season for Kitchen Nightmares. It turned out to be an April fools joke yet the comment section went crazy with anticipation. Meanwhile Gordon Ramsay admitted it was a mistake to quit the series and has indicated a return of the show, possibly with a slightly tweaked format and under a different name. It’s return will certainly be a success, supported by the massive popularity of the YouTube channel.

Kitchen Nightmares illustrates the power of archival content and that even older programs can still be of massive value on Youtube. YouTube is not a challenge to traditional television, it is an opportunity.


Beside the official channels of Gordon Ramsay’s most successful television shows, his own channel (simply called ‘Gordon Ramsay’) has generated a staggering 3.1 billion views and 17.7 million subscribers. On this channel Gordon primarily does what he does best: cook great food. The channel publishes many videos explaining how to make delicious recipes from Fast Food Done Right with Gordon Ramsay to Gordon Ramsay’s Quick and Easy Lunch Recipes. Many of the recipe videos are compilations, extending the duration of the video to an optimized length for YouTube. As we keep hammering: longer content works better on YouTube.


When it comes to titles and thumbnails, Gordon Ramsay’s recipe videos focus very much on looking tasty and delicious. The comedic note that we see in Kitchen Nightmares titles is also visible in Gordon Ramsay’s recipe videos. For example one of Gordon’s most famous rants is him shouting “where is the f*cking lamb sauce”. So naturally a video needs to be made called Gordon Ramsay finds the lamb sauce where he creates a delicious lamb recipe.


Many of the recipe videos on the Gordon Ramsay channel are compilations of multiple recipes. However, they are not clearly separated within the video by a graphic for example. When you want to find a specific recipe, or are not interested in one of the recipes you are watching, Gordon makes it hard to find and skip to the next one. The use of chapters could be a great point of improvement on the channel. Chapters can be added in the description section of the video and will then be visible in the overlay of the video. This will help viewers navigate the different recipes in a video easier


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