Gordon Ramsay stopped by Qatar customs over Champagne
15th January, 2014 by Lucy Shaw
Celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay has been stopped by customs officials at Doha airport after attempting to bring a bottle of Dom Pérignon into the Muslim state of Qatar.
As reported by the Daily Star, security staff confiscated the Champagne, which Ramsay was carrying in his luggage.
Ramsay was visiting Qatar, where the 2022 World Cup is due to be held, on business – the chef runs two restaurants at the St. Regis hotel in Doha.
“It’s the first time I’ve ever been stopped by customs. The alarm went off and I got called into a little room,” the 47-year-old said at a press conference this week.
“It’s first time I’ve ever lost a bottle of Dom Pérignon. It was a birthday present from a dear friend,” he added.
In 2011, the Michelin-starred chef was forced to close his Maze restaurant on The Pearl, a man-made island in Doha spanning nearly four million square metres, following an alcohol ban.
The sale of alcohol is closely monitored in Gulf states. Last November, officials in Qatar banned the sale of alcohol in swimming pool areas and on the beach.
Despite the rigid legislation, Ramsay believes Qatar will relax its alcohol laws in time for the World Cup in 2022.
“Things will change. I’m pretty confident. As a nation, Qatar is developing rapidly, but it’s a difficult scenario. I’m just trying to imagine an English fan celebrating with a Perrier,” he told attendees of the press conference.