Coca leaves. Cement. Sulphuric and battery acids. Petrol. Top it off with a bit of bicarbonate of soda, and you have cocaine.
Was seeing this process onscreen the most shocking part of the documentary, or was seeing Chef Gordon Ramsay himself, “so adamantly against the substance” dip his finger into the cocaine-water and have a taste? The title of this two-part documentary certainly may have conjured a different mental image to the actuality of the story (some viewers were disappointed to find out that two hours of ITV’s time were not dedicated to showing the celebrity chef on a cocaine-fuelled rampage) but nevertheless, seeing Ramsay go from cosy, inner city London to the near-warzone Honduras still makes for interesting television.
Without context, it seems almost random that Gordon Ramsay would make a documentary on cocaine. However, it has deeply personal connotations for him. After losing one of his head chefs, and best friends, to a cocaine-fuelled accident in 2003, Ramsay sought to investigate the extent to which the drug was used in his industry; particularly his own restaurants.
Unsurprisingly, cocaine usage is rampant not just within busy industries, but in the UK alone. We now consume around 300 tonnes of the stuff per year, which is one of the highest in the world. Despite the law’s best efforts, more and more of the drug is making its way to the UK each year, via illicit gangs in South America. Supply and demand… a member of a drug cartel in Honduras tells Ramsay that there is little option for a lot of people; massive unemployment means that the drug trade is often the only way a family can even begin to prosper.
There is a lot of sympathy on Ramsay’s behalf for the disaffected, both the users and the suppliers. It’s a tough issue to tackle, we’re all sure of that. Nevertheless, if you see the documentary and swear off the stuff, Gordon will be happy.