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People think cocaine is glamorous. It isn't. It wrecks lives.. I lost my best mate to it; cracking down TV CHEF REVEALS TRUTH ABOUT CLASS A DRUG Gordon Ramsay investigates an industry which leaves a trail of death throughout the world in hard-hitting documentary.

Byline: rick fulton r.fulton@dailyrecord.co.uk

CELEBRITY chef Gordon Ramsay has tried to ease the torment over his friend's cocaine-related death - by training the man's son.

Fourteen years ago, David Dempsey fell 40ft to his death after a bad reaction to drugs.

The 31-year-old Glasgow-born father of three had helped Ramsay's Amaryllis restaurant win Glasgow's only Michelin star and the protege had been appointed head chef at Restaurant Gordon Ramsay in Chelsea.

Ramsay, 50, whose younger brother Ronnie is a long-term heroin addict, admitted David's death still haunts him, But it inspired the celebrity chef 's new documentary, Gordon Ramsay on Cocaine, which looks at the evils of the drug.

He said: "People think cocaine is glamorous - it's not. It wrecks lives and the dark side of cocaine is not talked about.

"I've watched my brother's drug addiction. I've lost a best mate to cocaine - my head chef.

"For me now, dealing with David Dempsey's son and having him training under my tutelage and watching him grow, God if only his father was here to witness that. He's missing out on a lot. That's my responsibility. It didn't have to happen. If only I'd spotted that. This guy was energetic, passionate..."

Ramsay reveals that the coroner asked him to identify David's body but the tough-talking chef ended up breaking down.

He said: "I wouldn't wish that on anybody and that happened to me, outside my front door.

"I physically broke down. I couldn't go behind that glass screen and identify a guy that I loved dearly.

"It took years to get over that. And he's not my son, he was my chef. That word 'if ' means so much - if only I knew.

"I don't want to be sat at a table with another set of parents asking me the same question, 'Did you know my son or daughter was on drugs?' "Ultimately, that's part of my responsibility. When these people work and dedicate their life to my restaurants and I dedicate my career to their career, losing them is hard to accept."

While Ramsay, who was born in Johnstone, Renfrewshire, is known for telling it like it is in shows such as Kitchen Nightmares, The F Word and Hell's Kitchen, he seems lost for words at what he finds out.

The chef, who owns 31 restaurants worldwide, hopes the new two-part ITV documentary will help stop some people from doing cocaine.

Ramsay was put off drugs by his brother Ronnie's heroin addiction.

In December, he had to get police involved to move his brother on from begging outside one of his London restaurants and no one has heard from him for six months.

Ramsay said: "I saw cocaine quite early on in my career. I've been served it. I've had my hand shaken and left with little wraps of foil in it.

"I've been asked to dust cocaine on top of souffles, put it on as icing sugar" The last straw for Ramsay was at Christmas when a customer at one of his restaurants took a plate from a table, went to the bathroom, had a couple of lines and gave the plate to the waiter.

A shocked Ramsay decided to test the staff and customer toilets in his own restaurants by swabbing surfaces for cocaine residue. He found traces in every single place he owns apart from one.

He said: "It became my biggest nightmare. It wasn't to pinpoint and sack them, it was to prevent another casualty.

"There's a profile of chefs today who think it has a rock and roll status to the point that everyone wants to be a chef now. Everyone wants to write cook books and everyone wants a TV show.

"But every six to 12 months you read about a chef with depression or an alcohol problem or a drug addiction."

His documentary cites statistics which claim cocaine use has risen by 400 per cent in the past 20 years and coke-related deaths have increased for four years in a row, tripling since 2011 to an all-time high.

It is estimated 80 per cent of cocaine that ends up in the UK is from Colombia.

For the documentary, he meets an Amazonian farmer who grows and cooks the coca plant using ingredients including sulphuric acid, gasoline, battery acid and bicarbonate of soda.

While we've all seen Ramsay spitting venom at rubbish restaurateurs, he understood why the farmer would cook this drug of death.

He said: "Was he a drug addict? Nowhere near. He didn't have a foot in each camp, he wasn't using and abusing and partying, he was just one of those grafters that was responsible for the production at the grass roots level."

Ramsay was also shaking in his boots when he met hired assassins in Central America and a big-time drug smuggler. He is also witness to the aftermath of a suspected coke-related murder.

He admitted: "I put myself in the s**t with meeting assassins in Honduras.

"We went to a building that was laden with bullets from drive-by shootings, AK-47s under the bed, wraps of cocaine in abundance and then I'm speaking with individuals that have just tripped out on a couple of ounces.

"These guys were 15 minutes from going out and killing the next person. I asked, 'How do you take him out?' They told me, 'It depends what the client wants - we'll deliver the arms, the legs on separate days if they want'. I'm thinking, 'S**t, this guy's the real deal.'" Ramsay also went on a raid with Colombia's militarised anti-drug police. The cocaine farmers use snipers so he had to wear a bulletproof vest and arrived by helicopter.

He said: "I couldn't even walk properly because of a problem with my achilles, so I'm hobbling over these plantations. It kicked off and the farmers started firing in retaliation.

"We had been told we had 10 minutes in this exercise to be on the ground and get what we needed to film. But two minutes in, they started shooting at the police and we had to get out.

"There were snipers in the trees, helicopters circulating and the farmers got agitated. They also found explosives - they had laid booby traps for these anti-narcoticos to blow themselves up for tampering with their harvest. It's intense."

Ramsay reckons mandatory drugtesting should be enforced in UK restaurants - like it is in his US kitchens.

He has shown his four kids - Megan, 19, twins Holly and Jack, 17, and Matilda, 15 - what is in cocaine to scare them.

He added: "I'd rather they focus on that recipe for the rest of their lives than anything I've written in the last 20 years as a chef.

"From a fillet of beef wellington to a broccoli soup, if there's one recipe that I'd love to put out there for them to witness, it would be coke - to make sure they never do it."

? Gordon Ramsay on Cocaine starts on Thursday, October 19, on STV at 9pm.

I've been asked to put cocaine on top of souffles Gordon Ramsay

CAPTION(S):

DRUG ADDICT Ramsay's brother Ronnie

COLLARED Ramsay witnesses the arrest of a driver for drug driving

SCIENCE TEST Ramsay talks with experts at a drug-testing laboratory

PRODUCT A farmer in the Colombian jungle shows Ramsay some coca leaves

PROTEGE Chef David Dempsey, who died in 2003, with Gordon Ramsay
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Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Oct 10, 2017
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