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Gordon Ramsay Calls Cocaine The Restaurant Industry’s ‘Dirty Little Secret’

Last Christmas, celebrity Chef Gordon Ramsay was disturbed by an incident involving drugs that took place at one of his restaurants. A customer took a plate to the bathroom to snort some cocaine, then returned it to a waiter and asked to trade it for a clean plate. On the heels of that, Chef Ramsay had all of his restaurants’ toilets swabbed for the drug. Only one of his establishments turned up free of cocaine. He has since told outlets, including the Guardian, that cocaine is the restaurant industry’s “dirty little secret” that is widely done but scarcely discussed.

Following those events, Ramsay has been inspired to make a new two-part documentary about cocaine use in the restaurant industry. Called Gordon on Cocaine, the documentary will follow Chef Ramsay’s escapades to Colombia, where he witnesses the drug being cooked, meets with smugglers and assassins, and even joins an anti-narcotics team on a raid. Ramsay will then return to Britain to join up with police making various drug busts and stopping massive deals, along with discussing the ramifications of cocaine.

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For the celebrated chef, that part gets a little personal. He has a brother addicted to heroin that he hasn’t heard from in months following an incident at one of his restaurants. Additionally, he’s been asked personally by diners before to sprinkle the drug on top of their souffle. Nothing compares, however, to how Ramsay feels about having lost David Dempsey, a close friend and former head chef of his, to a bad reaction to coke.

In regards to the whole industry, cocaine use is nothing new. Both Anthony Bourdain and Andrew Zimmern have been very open about how drugs influenced their early careers and how prevalent it has been in the restaurant industry. It’s not necessarily a “dirty little secret” as a result, but Ramsay’s documentary should open up the conversation about drugs in the restaurant world once again.

Gordon on Cocaine will air over the course of two weeks on Britain’s ITV. The first episode airs on October 19th at 9 pm, and the second airs a week later. The episodes will also be available on ITV Hub.

By Constantine Spyrou

Constantine's life revolves around eating, studying, and talking about food. He's obsessed with eggs, gyros, and the future of food.