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Neil Rankin hits back at Gordon Ramsay over cocaine and alcohol abuse in the hospitality industry

Award-winning chef Neil Rankin has hit back at Gordon Ramsay’s claims that drug and alcohol addiction are rife in the hospitality industry.

Gordon Ramsay will star in a two-part documentary giving an exclusive insight into the cocaine industry.

The owner of newly-opened Soho restaurant Temper took to social media to voice his criticism of Ramsay, and said it is chefs like him who “make this industry unappealing…and created the long hours that only add to the drug problems.”

Rankin also took aim at Ramsay’s TV career in the same Facebook post last Friday, adding that shows like Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares and Hell’s Kitchen are “glorifying kitchen abuse.”

“Try doing something positive rather than criticising crap restaurants on TV, glorifying Kitchen abuse, telling chefs today they have to work the stupid hours that you did (and probably hated) and now saying everyone’s on drugs.”

The outburst comes days after Ramsay announced he will star in a two-part ITV documentary focusing on the cocaine industry airing on Thursday 19 October.

The documentary from Studio Ramsay shows the TV chef traveling with his production team to Colombia to look at the trail of criminality and addiction.

The Michelin-starred chef has also spoken about the drug’s prevalence among chefs, telling guests at last week’s MIPCOM trade show in Cannes that he personally lost a colleague to cocaine abuse.

“I personally lost a promising chef. I had dinner with him the night before he died,” he said. “And I have a brother who is an addict. So it’s close, on a daily business.”

Rankin took exception to Ramsay’s statements in the documentary, including that customers have previously asked him to incorporate cocaine into his dishes.

“If customers are doing that much coke in your restaurants you might want to look at your menus,” he said, “cause they ain’t eating the food.”

“And if it’s your staff you might want to look at their rotas and give them a good night’s sleep.”

The hospitality industry has a well-documented history with drug and alcohol abuse.

In June 2017, TV chef Darren Simpson, who trained in some of the most acclaimed restaurants in the world, including Le Gavroche, the River Cafe, and Sir Terence Conran’s Sartoria in Savile Row, died from a heart attack after struggling with alcohol abuse throughout his career.  Two months later, former Ritz head chef Michael Quinn died after a long battle with ill-health as a result of alcohol addiction.

Similarly, chefs such as Anthony Bourdain have been very open about how drugs influenced their early careers, and how prevalent it has been in the restaurant industry.

Rankin has received an outpouring of support from fellow chefs, with his original post being shared over 120 times by his followers and peers.

Rankin, who launched his award-winning Temper restaurant back in July, said that the climate is beginning to change for young chefs, but there’s still a long way to go.

“Things are looking up for chefs. We’re trying to treat them like adults, partners and employees for the first time in decades and give them a future beyond burning out at 30. We’re trying to turn this around.

“Try getting on board rather than promoting this snipey out of date bullshit. You were a great chef but you’re a terrible fucking ambassador for our industry.”

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