Hotel Hell: Gordon Ramsay pays for college

Hotel Hell Gordon Ramsay pays for college

Gordon Ramsay ended his visit to the Cambridge Hotel by offering to pay for the young Telford’s culinary education at college.

Gordon Ramsay has certainly crafted a personal brand that is unlike any other in the culinary and even the reality television space.

And fans who regularly tune in to watch this sharp-tongued chef and restaurateur offer his signature “constructive” criticism to owners on the business-rescue show, Hotel Hell, will know that warm and fuzzy feelings are not typically what the show is known for.

This is, of course, unless you count the incredibly emotional moment from the first season of the show when Ramsay developed a soft spot for the Cambridge Hotel’s young prep cook, Donald Larry “Scooter” Telford III.

Gordon Ramsay’s offer to pay for Scooter Telford’s culinary studies

Throughout the episode, it became abundantly clear that the Cambridge Hotel had a few glaring issues, but Ramsay was able to look past that and spot some real talent operating in the failing hotel’s kitchen.

Telford, and his obvious passion for cooking and baking, managed to make such a good impression on Ramsay that this celebrity chef ended the episode with a promise to “finance those next four years in college personally.”

And while a crucial bit of miscommunication meant that Ramsay only ended up paying for two years of his college tuition, this moment has certainly stuck with Hotel Hell fans, and Telford, many years after the fact.

A run-down of Scooter Telford’s college journey

A pivotal moment of miscommunication meant that Telford only ended up completing two years of his culinary education. This young cook’s rollercoaster journey to get to that point can be summarized as follows:

Date Event
January 2012 The “Cambridge Hotel” Hotel Hell episode is filmed, and Ramsay offers to pay for four years of Telford’s education
June 2012 The Cambridge Hotel closes down
August 2012 The “Cambridge Hotel” episode first airs
2013 to 2014 Telford continues to work as a line cook at D-line Pub, Crazy Cow Restaurant and then Healthy Living Market and Café, while completing his studies at SUNY Schenectady County Community College.

Scooter Telford and Gordon Ramsay have shared similar dreams

When all was said and done, Telford sat down with Saratoga Today to talk about his experience filming for the show and meeting everyone’s favorite foul-mouthed Scottish chef.

However, surprisingly, Telford admitted that he had not always had dreams of going into the culinary arts, stating “I always wanted to play sports – I really enjoy playing soccer.”

But after the then 20-year old’s scoliosis surgeries prevented him from going down such a physically-intensive career path, he found a new passion in the kitchen.

While this revelation may stun many fans who tuned in to watch as Telford was almost brought to tears at the sight of a perfectly-baked slice of pie, it is actually not that far from how Ramsay himself got started.

Ramsay joined Glasgow Rangers at the age of 15, before a knee injury also forced him to make alternative plans for his future.

What Scooter think made the difference

Longtime Hotel Hell fans will likely know that heartfelt moments like the sweet exchange between Ramsay and Telford at the end of this episode are few and far between for the franchise.

Ramsay usually spends most of the episode wittily insulting everything from the rooms to the pool.

In fact, it seems that even Telford was at a loss as to why he made such a good impression on the usually-grumpy chef.

However, Telford did share that Rich Wilson (the former Cambridge Hotel executive chef) told him that he cooks his “heart out” and that that kind of passion certainly would have been enough to wow even Ramsay.

Scooter is not the only aspiring chef to get a helping hand form Gordon Ramsay

The “Cambridge Hotel” episode of Hotel Hell may have aired all the way back in 2012, but it seems like Ramsay’s drive to help aspiring chefs to get a leg up in the culinary industry did not end there.

In 2017, another young chef named Gabriel Lewis, who was featured in Ramsay’s other hit show, MasterChef, was also given a surprise scholarship on what was almost one of the worst days of his life.

Lewis was knocked out of the competition just a few episodes before the finale, when his cannelloni dish disappointed the judges.

However, Ramsay and the show’s other judge, Aaron Sanchez, quickly stepped in before bidding Lewis goodbye, and offered to send the young chef to culinary school to hone his craft. Sanchez even offered him a future job at Sanchez’s restaurant.