Gordon Ramsay: Gordon’s Great Escape


French soldiers march against the Viet Minh
The Battle of Route Coloniale 4 was one of the most important of the First Indochina War. Here's what happened.


Gordon's Great Escape

Gordon Ramsay travelled to Vietnam to learn how to prepare famous local dishes. He wanted to highlight the importance of rice in Vietnamese cuisine, so he went to the hill-tribe village of Mai Chau just after the harvest to learn their cooking techniques.

Gordon’s off-camera demeanour was very different to his trademark grumpy persona. Polite and professional, he was a pleasure to work with.

Drag Race with Gordon

Gordon Ramsay on one of Explore Indochina's Ural 650s
Explore Indochina provided him with a motorcycle. His first words when he saw one of our 650cc Ural bikes was, “Wow. I want one. How much?” The show’s legal department said he was too valuable to ride on any public road, so he rode around in circles on a closed-off cement road.

Luckily the director wanted a long shot, which meant he, Digby and a mechanic had to ride out to a public road and loop back to the other end of the cement road. With the director out of sight, Gordon gunned his Ural, and the three roared through the traffic. Ramsay led the pack and shot past a police roadblock. No one was worse off for it, and they laughed like badly behaved schoolchildren when the director demanded what took them so long.

Cooking With the Hill Tribe

Gordon Ramsay with one of our friends in the Vietnamese countryside
We then organised a party with local Thai hill-tribe friends to celebrate the rice harvest. Gordon helped prepare and serve the feast and gulped down a few shots of local moonshine. The following day he was shown how to make banh cuon, a type of wet rice paper, which is very difficult. Gordon struggled to get it right and caused much laughter when his plastic stool broke under him. We parted ways after filming in a local market. Gordon returned to Hanoi in a van while we followed on our bikes.

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By Digby Greenhalgh

Digby Greenhalgh is the founder of Explore Indochina, and a recognized expert on the Ho Chi Minh Trail. All motorcycle tours are designed and guided by Digby.