Gordon Ramsay may be the toughest talking chef on TV, but even he gets scared sometimes.
While hunting puffins in Iceland for his programme The F Word in 2008, Gordon, 54, had a terrifying near-death experience where he admits he thought it was a “goner”.
On The F Word, Gordon invited aspiring chefs to cook a range of meals for 50 different customers, and let the customer judge whether or not the food was good or not.
They were planning to make dish using puffins, a bird native to Iceland, so they set about hunting some near the trepidatious 280-foot cliffs and waters below.
During the trip, Gordon, whose documentary Uncharted airs this week, lost his footing and fell off the cliff, landing in the freezing cold water, with thick winter clothes on that would only drag him down.
He was underwater for about 45 seconds, struggling to swim while trying to remove his heavy clothing.
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But thankfully, he was thrown some rope by a member of the crew, and they were able to pull him to safety.
He told The Sun: “I thought I was a goner.
“They say cats have nine lives. I’ve had 12 already and I don’t know how many more I’ll have.
“I remember thinking, ‘Oh f***.’ My boots and my waterproofs were dragging me down.
“I’m an extremely good swimmer, but I couldn’t get to the surface. I was panicking and my lungs were filling with water.”
He added: “When I got to the top after getting my boots off I was dazed and my head was totally numb.”
The same trip was also marred by controversy when Gordon sparked fury from animal rights activists when a hunter he was with snapped a puffin’s neck and then pulled out his heart, which Gordon ate raw.
Gordon was not filmed killing any puffins, but he caught one in a net and it pecked him on the nose as it desperately tried to escape, leaving him needing stitches.
He claimed they had been given a licence to kill 1000 puffins, adding they were hard to cook but “very tasty”.
Animal welfare group Viva accused the chef of being “desperate for publicity”, but a spokesperson for the show said only two birds were caught and added puffins were one of the most common sea-birds in northern Europe.
They added that all the relevant licences were obtained and that it was a staple part of the diet of locals in the area.
The spokesperson said it was carried out during the animal hunting season, and any puffins carrying fish are never caught as they are likely to be breeding.
Asked about his wife Tana’s reaction upon hearing about his horrifying ordeal while so far away from home, Gordon admitted: “I didn’t tell her at first.”
He continued: “I chickened out but she knew something was up.
“She was upset and extremely p****d off.”
He added that all he could think about while underwater was the terror of leaving behind his children.
“It wasn’t until I was on the plane home I realised what a close call I’d had,” he added.
Tana and Gordon have been together since 1996, and share children Megan, 23, twins Jack and Holly, 21, Matilda, 19, and two-year-old Oscar.
They welcomed little Oscar in 2019, three years after suffering a devastating miscarriage.
Mum Tana previously revealed that the youngest of the Ramsay children was strong-willed, just like his famous dad, and also doesn’t let anything get in the way of what he wants.
“Well, he definitely has a strong character, let’s put it that way!
“He’s hilarious. It’s a blessing to us all,” she told HELLO!.
“He’s just figured out how he can play one off against the other and that’s not just Gordon off against me – that’s everyone.
“So if someone says ‘no’, he literally moves onto the next and tries to get his way with them,” Tana laughed.
She confessed that being an older parent has its benefits, despite their eldest Megan being more than 20 years older than Oscar.
“Being an older parent and having done this before, you have a way of sitting back and relaxing more and laughing with them,” the former Dancing on Ice contestant explained.
“The other thing for me is I had four of age four and under, so to have one is certainly easier.”
Oscar was dubbed the couple’s “rainbow baby”, after Tana sadly miscarried a baby boy at five months in 2016.
Gordon took to social media to break the devastating news, alongside an image of him proudly looking on as his wife posed after completing an Ironman Triathlon.
“Hi guys, Tana and I want to thank you so much for your support over the past couple of weeks.
“We had a devastating weekend as Tana has sadly miscarried our son at five months,” he wrote.
“We’re together healing as a family, but we want to thank everyone again for all your amazing support and well wishes,” he added.
“I’d especially like to send a big thank you to the amazing team at Portland Hospital for everything they’ve done. Gx.”
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* Gordon Ramsay: Uncharted airs Thursday night on Channel 4 at 10pm