MIPCOM: Gordon Ramsay Talks Cocaine Documentary, Embracing "Grittier" Projects

Roy Rochlin/FilmMagic
Gordon Ramsay

"I've never felt more vulnerable," said the TV chef of filming in Colombia.

Cement powder, sulfuric acid, battery acid and gasoline are not the normal ingredients in a Gordon Ramsay recipe. But the famed TV chef traveled to Colombia and Honduras to take a closer look at these ingredients as part of his new documentary, Gordon Ramsay on Cocaine.

"I had to get to the crux of the recipe, so we witnessed the process," said the MasterChef star, who saw all the poisonous ingredients added before it was cooked and crystallized.

The documentary project started out with Ramsay wanting to show how cocaine and drug use is decimating chefs who think they're rock stars, after losing one of his own proteges to the drug. As he worked on the project, he realized just how widespread use is in the U.K. and wanted to show the process in an attempt to scare kids off drugs.

"I wanted to show not just my children, but a lot of kids what coke does to you — it's a recipe for disaster," he said. "If you shock them with what goes in there, it doesn't look so glamorous when they're in a nightclub."

But being on the drug farms was one of the scariest times of his life. "I've never felt more vulnerable," he said. "Everyone around me was armed. It was the first time in my life I felt like I needed a gun."

Cocaine follows his 2011 documentary Shark Bait, which explored the decimation of shark populations around the world due to poaching. Cocaine, his passion project, is the first film developed under new production company Studio Ramsay.

Studio Ramsay has additional documentaries under development — he estimates he'll do one per year — as well as both scripted and unscripted food-related programs. Along with the documentary side, he's embraced "grittier" storytelling, with his upcoming 24 Hours to Hell & Back, which will attempt to salvage failing restaurants with guerrilla tactics.

"It's too easy to get wrapped up in the gloss and the high octane and the big glamorized production," he said. "We go down to the raw core, and that's important to me." 24 Hours to Hell & Back will use undercover footage and have an intense feel, he said.

He's also developing a talent workshop in London to foster the next generation of TV chefs.