Any chef will tell you that spending most of one’s waking life standing in a hot kitchen dealing with sharp knives and hot pans can be a recipe for serious injury. But while cuts, scrapes, and burns all go with the territory, some chefs have found themselves in situations from which they’re lucky to have escaped with their lives.
While just about every chef has injured him or herself on the job at one point or another, the usual wear and tear of a life in the kitchen rarely results in a life-threatening injury. While a kitchen injury does occasionally result in a trip to the hospital, most of the serious injuries and life-threatening situations that chefs have faced have taken place far away from the kitchen.
Some of the chefs who escaped death are near-household names, people that you won’t believe came so close to dying. Others are much-respected chefs beloved by many, and others (like the vast majority of chefs) were toiling in obscurity, just going about their business until their brush with death. After recovering, some went on to appear on shows like Chopped, some spoke to the press, and others brushed themselves off and went right back to the kitchen.
From an international superstar who fell off a cliff into icy water to a pizza chef who was stabbed during a street fight, read on to learn about 10 chefs who are seriously lucky to be alive.
On a Sunday afternoon in April 2014, a Lexus carrying pioneering Napa Valley chef Cindy Pawlcyn (Mustards Grill) and her husband, John, was struck head-on in a horrifying collision that killed a boy in the other car. While crash photos show that the damage could have easily been much worse, Pawlcyn's injuries were listed as moderate, and John’s injuries were minor.
Back in 2008, Ramsay was filming a BBC segment about puffin hunting in Iceland when he slipped and fell off an 85-foot cliff into icy water below. He remained below the surface for 45 seconds as he struggled to remove his heavy waterproof clothing and boots. "I was panicking and my lungs were filling with water,” he told The Telegraph. “When I got to the top after getting my boots off, I was dazed and my head was totally numb." After he was pulled from the water by his crew, he was treated for a gash on his leg at his hotel, and also received stitches on his nose, where — to add insult to injury — he had been bitten by one of the puffins.