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Fame and celebrity

Celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay says drug use so rife in dining trade that customers ordered cocaine soufflé

Ramsay says traces of cocaine were found in toilets of 30 out of his 31 restaurants worldwide

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 10 October, 2017, 12:15pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 10 October, 2017, 8:25pm

Celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay has claimed that cocaine use is so rife in the restaurant industry that diners have asked him to sprinkle the class A drug over a soufflé and a customer at one of his venues took a plate to the toilet so they could snort lines of the drug.

The celebrity chef described the drug as the “hospitality industry’s dirty little secret” and said that when he tested the toilets in his 31 restaurants around the world for traces of cocaine he discovered it in all but one.

Ramsay was asked to dust the drug over a soufflé at a charity dinner.

The couple came to me and said, ‘Look, everyone on the table is happy you’re here, but can you make a soufflé like never before and combine icing sugar with coke?
Gordon Ramsay

“When dessert arrived the couple came to me and said, ‘Look, everyone on the table is happy you’re here, but can you make a soufflé like never before and combine icing sugar with coke and dust it?’” Ramsay said.

“I laughed it off but there was no way I was going to go anywhere near that. I dusted the sugar on top of the soufflé and caramelised it purposely so they had no idea whether it was on or off. I set the soufflé down. Didn’t even say goodbye. I just left out the back door.”

Ramsay made the comments in a wide-ranging interview with the Radio Times to promote his new ITV documentary Gordon Ramsay on Cocaine, in which he explores the drug industry.

The chef said he was inspired to make the programme after an incident in one of his restaurants last Christmas when a customer took a plate to the toilet so they could snort cocaine, and then handed it back to the waiter and asked them to change it for a clean plate. “This started the whole dilemma of how far this is going on and the pressure restaurants are up against from customers,” Ramsay said.

The 50-year-old has personal experiences of the repercussions of drug use – one of his head chefs, David Dempsey, died in 2003 after taking cocaine, and his brother is a long-term heroin addict who was busking in Portugal six months ago but has not been heard from since, according to Ramsay.

The interview also includes criticism of fellow TV chef Jamie Oliver, and British workers, who Ramsay describes as “lazy”.

It’s all very well to spout off now about sugar tax and supermarkets. None of that was spoken about when he was label-slapping with Sainsbury’s
Gordon Ramsay on fellow chef Jamie Oliver

Ramsay also reveals that he has met his father-in-law since he was released from prison. Chris Hutcheson was jailed for six months after hacking computers in Ramsay’s company, but the chef said he had apologised and “there’s a line in the sand now”.

However, Ramsay is less forgiving about Oliver, with whom he has had a long-running spat and has accused of hypocrisy over his campaign for a sugar tax in Britain.

“It’s all very well to spout off now about sugar tax and supermarkets. None of that was spoken about when he was label-slapping with Sainsbury’s for 10 years,” Ramsay said. “No disrespect, but we’re chefs, not politicians. When you breathe that stuff down the public’s throat and say, ‘I’m leaving if we have Brexit’, then, I’m sorry, the door stands open. Stand for what you say.”

Ramsay said his feud with Oliver had been exacerbated by comments from Oliver that he has interpreted as a comparison between how many children they both have. Tana Ramsay had a miscarriage last year and Ramsay said he would not speak to Oliver until he apologised to his wife.

The comments referred to by Ramsay were made in an interview with the Sun newspaper in which Oliver was quoted as saying of Ramay: “He’s got four kids and I’ve got five kids and I don’t want to be slagging off some kids’ dad on telly. It’s not nice.” Others have interpreted these comments as a suggestion that parents should not argue in public.

Oliver declined to comment.

Ramsay’s criticism of British workers was made in relation to Brexit, which he said could be a “big kick up the arse” for the industry given the potential curbs on EU labour. He said: “That level of influx of multinational workers in this country has sort of confirmed how lazy as a nation we are – when individuals from across the seas are prepared to come and work twice as hard for less money. If anything, it’s a big kick up the arse for the industry, and it’s going to get back to the modern-day apprenticeship.”

The British Hospitality Association and the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers did not respond to requests for comment about drug use in the restaurant industry.