Gordon Ramsay has achieved the impossible over the years. Not only has he managed to get his hands on an OBE, endless Michelin stars, a multi-million restaurant portfolio, at least three TV shows at any given time and a wife and four kids, but this formidable, blue-mouthed force of nature has slowly worked his way into our hearts.

And now that his autobiography Humble Pie is out, he'll have us all weeping into our hankies, and is almost in danger of ruining his hard-earned hard man reputation.

We all know he had a gruelling Glaswegian childhood, was a failed football player and has worked his socks off to get where he is, upsetting endless people in the process. But Humble Pie puts his life in the spotlight and goes a long way towards explaining how Ramsay became the man he is.

Why he felt the need to tell us all this when he is already top of the culinary tree, notorious as any movie star and rich enough to fund a small African country, is less obvious. So why spill the beans?

"I decided to write it on the back of my own experiences with my son, Jack, aged six. It dawned on me that the relationship with my father was so very different," Gordon explained. "About three to four years ago I started to record my experiences, for myself initially, and I discussed my early years with my mum. She opened up and told me more about what it was really like, and, at that point I decided to write the book."

To cut a long story short, Gordon had the kind of childhood you wouldn't wish on your worst enemy. His drunken wife-beating bully of a father may have scarred the Ramsay children irrevocably and ruined their childhood, but Gordon readily admits that, had he not been used to living under such wretched conditions, then working in the kitchens he has done would have been a different ball game.

That old adage, if you can't stand the heat get out of the kitchen' was certainly true for Ramsay, and he could take the heat. He took on all the top chefs, kept his head down and worked his fingers to the bone, able to ignore the torrents of abuse, tantrums and terrible conditions, because he'd had good training. Instead, he was able to pursue his dream - opening his own restaurant and gaining his own Michelin stars.

So was getting it down on paper a painful experience, or cathartic in the end?

"It was more of a relief to write it down. It helped me truly understand what it was like for my mother, 20 years old with four kids and a violent partner, and the strength and determination she had to have to get through it."

What is also interesting is how big a part Oxford played in Ramsay's initial success.

Having managed to flee his father's cruel grasp he headed for Banbury, where his sister was living, and joined the local football team. He also attended catering college and got his first job in a local pub here.

"Oxford was a happy time for me. I remember playing at the Manor Ground with its amazing slope. It was always great playing downhill, not so great playing up!"

"Once a week, I used to treat myself to a meal at Browns where my girlfriend at the time was working as a waitress while studying at Merton College. I was fascinated by the amazing architecture of the Randolph Hotel - it's a great building."

But what of Ramsay's own fathering skills. Has his father's legacy left a lasting impression?

He explained: "Everything he did with me, I've done the opposite with my children."

The only conclusion left, when turning the final page, is that Ramsay deserves every last second of his success and that Humble Pie is an unnecessary title.