updated 01/20/2011 AT 11:00 AM ET
•originally published 01/20/2011 AT 10:35 AM ET
When Gordon Ramsay was recently photographed with a puffed-up face while on vacation with his family in Napa Valley, Calif., tabloids were quick to suspect hair treatments or cosmetic surgery, which Ramsay has admitted to having before.
The real answer, this time, according to the celebrity chef? Gasoline and horses.
Ramsay, 44, told reporters during a conference call that he was chasing bandits in Costa Rica for a documentary on illegal shark fin hunting when his “hair nightmare” occurred.
“I had petrol doused, gasoline poured all over my hair and I had a horrific infection,” he said. “It certainly didn’t cause my hair to be falling out.”
Then, Ramsay added, “I was in Napa for Christmas literally two weeks after the shoot and went horseback riding with the kids and had a horrendous allergic reaction to the horses, combined with the problems I had with my scalp, so it was just a hair nightmare.”
Now, “that all got sorted out,” Ramsay said. “I can now say that I am almost 60-70 percent recovered.”
A healthy Ramsay can be seen on the third season of Kitchen Nightmares, premiering Friday, Jan. 21, at 8 p.m. ET.