Gordon Ramsey Costa Rica

Celebrity Chef Gordon Ramsey Boosts Business for a Small Restaurant in Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica

Scottish celebrity chef Gordon Ramsey spotted in Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica checking out the local delicacies.

Soda Mirna is a small restaurant serving typical, local Tico-Caribe food in Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica. They didn’t expect themselves to suddenly get famous yesterday. But that’s what happened when celebrity chef Gordon Ramsey rolled up for lunch on his bicycle and ordered rice and beans with a side of mondongo.

Speaking to the press, Kisha Moore Bent, the daughter of the owner, Yorleny Bent, said Ramsey arrived at around 1:20 PM, unrecognizable in a cap. She thought she’d seen him on TV and asked her colleague if she knew him. When the colleague said he was the guy from MasterChef, the penny dropped.

Yorleny Bent, the owner wasn’t around while Ramsey was eating, but arrived later, just in time to take a picture of her daugher with the chef.

“She was all nervous and did not know how to control herself, and when I arrived she took a photo with him. At the time, she wasn’t sure if it was him, but then she went and asked him to take a picture with him. Later, more people began to notice and he thanked her and left,” said doña Yorleny.

According to Kisha, Ramsey loved his lunch (which came to less than 7,000 colones), saying it was incredible.

“It was an excellent visit because he was charismatic, calm, you see him as a normal person,” said doña Yorleny later on.

“He ordered rice and beans with chicken and mondongo, and said the food was very good. For me, the secret is making it with love, because if one does not do things with the will, it is better not to do them at all.

“It’s a humble soda and that’s why we’re happy, because you know hese types of people usually go to more extravagant places. We’ve been here for 22 years, we use family recipes, and people who come always tell us we were recommended to them.”

Doña Yorleny hopes Ramsey’s visit will be a boost to her little soda in a rough year for tourism and hospitality.

“We’ve received many calls and messages all morning. I hope that a lot of people will come over the weekend. Today (Tuesday), it’s raining and because it’s during the week, maybe not, but we’re prepared for what is coming,” she said.

According to Costa Rica’s Department of Immigration, Ramsey arrived in Costa Rica on January 8 and is still in the country.

It’s not his first time in Costa Rica. In 2011, he visited the country while making a TV show exposing the illegal shark-finning business.

At the time, he found himself held at gunpoint and had gasoline poured over him by a Taiwanese fishing crew in Puntarenas. Let’s hope this visit is much better for him.

James Dyde is the editor of www.centralamerica.com. He lives in Escazu, Costa Rica.