If anybody thinks that being a TV chef is easier than actually working behind the stoves, Gordon Ramsay, of all people, can now report otherwise. The English chef, still a faint presence here at Gordon Ramsay at the London, West Hollywood and the host of many reality television shows (Hell's Kitchen, Kitchen Nightmares, etc.), was recently doused in gasoline and held at gunpoint while in Costa Rica filming a British television show about the illicit shark fin trade.
According to The Telegraph, Ramsay was working on a Big Fish Fight series for Channel 4 when he and the film crew talked their way onto one of the fishing boats involved in illegal shark fin trading. Before boarding the boat, Ramsay says that he and the crew observed “thousands and thousands of fins, drying on rooftops as far as the eye could see” and that men driving a car with “blacked out windows” poured gasoline over him before he and the crew managed to get away in their own vehicle.
Ramsay describes his ordeal:
“In a quiet moment I dived from the boat to swim with marlin. I swam under the keel and saw this sack tied to it. I opened it and it was full of shark fins. The minute I threw this bag on deck, everyone started screaming and shouting. Back at the wharf, there were people pointing rifles at us to stop us filming. A van pulled up and these seedy characters made us stand against the wall. The police came and advised us to leave the country. They said 'if you set one foot in there, they'll shoot you'.”
It does make the nightmares inside badly managed kitchens seem kind of tame by comparison. Maybe Ramsay and Anthony Bourdain can compare war stories, for the BBC, the Travel Channel, Discovery, or maybe even C-Span.