Why ‘Masterchef’s’ Gordon Ramsay Was Once Held At Gunpoint

World-renowned chef Gordon Ramsay is known for his delicious culinary creations as well as his piping hot temper. With a portfolio of restaurants and televisions shows, the food icon’s foul language and abrasive manner have become his calling cards on the air and in the kitchen.

Yet even someone as brash as Ramsay was taken aback when he was confronted by gang members bearing guns while filming this television special.

“Masterchef’s” Gordon Ramsay | Amy Sussman/Getty Images

Ramsay’s massive TV presence

Ramsay has become one of today’s most popular television personalities in the culinary space. With a myriad of shows including Masterchef, Hell’s Kitchen, Hotel Hell, The F Word, and Kitchen Nightmares, he recently added the adventure series Uncharted on National Geographic. And those are just his shows in the U.S.! 

The culinary icon also makes a point of staying social, with consistent posts on Twitter and Instagram. His YouTube channel has attracted almost 13 million subscribers, where viewers can see Ramsay in action whipping up every day meals to fine cuisine.

Delving into more serious content, Ramsay covered a one-hour special examining the shark industry, which ended up getting him in some dangerous waters.

In too deep

In 2011, Ramsay took part in Gordon Ramsay’s Shark Bait, a one-hour documentary that explored the shark fishing industry, as reported by Mashable. Filmed in London, Taiwan, and Costa Rica, the special investigated the illegal practices involved in acquiring fins for shark fin soup, and how the demand for the Chinese delicacy was affecting the shark population.

Ramsay soon found out that boat crews were reeling in more than just fish. “It is a multi-billion dollar industry, completely unregulated,” Ramsay said, according to BBC America. “We traced some of the biggest culprits to Costa Rica. The day before we got there, a Taiwanese crew landed a haul of hammerhead sharks – police searched the boat and found bails of cocaine. These gangs operate from places that are like forts, with barbed-wire perimeters and gun towers.”

While working on the documentary, the Hell’s Kitchen star and his film crew were met with opposition from armed gang members. After Ramsay was able to sneak off, he was barraged with a barrel of gasoline.

“I managed to shake off the people who were keeping us away, ran up some stairs to a rooftop and looked down to see thousands and thousands of fins, drying on rooftops as far as the eye could see,” Ramsay revealed. “When I got back downstairs they tipped a barrel of petrol over me. Then these cars with blacked out windows suddenly appeared from nowhere, trying to block us in. We dived into the car and peeled off.”

Gordon at gunpoint

Ramsay and his crew were able to talk their way onto a boat that was “linked to illegal fishing activities,” as reported by BBC America, where they found more evidence of unlawful action.

“I swam under the keel and saw this sack tied to it. I opened it and it was full of shark fins, huge ones from 20-year-olds. How they do it is quite upsetting,” Ramsay explained. “They shock them with an electric prod, but the shark’s still moving while they cut it up and throw it back dying into the water. No wonder they wanted to hide the evidence. The minute I threw this bag on deck, everyone started screaming and shouting.”

Once again, the Uncharted star and his crew were met with ammunition. “Back at the wharf, there were people pointing rifles at us to stop us filming,” Ramsay said. “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.’”

Even with Ramsay’s red-hot temper, he knew when to stand down. Despite the extreme opposition, the documentary was able to be completed. Gordon Ramsay’s Shark Bait can be viewed on Amazon.