The Jakarta Post
Uncharted: Top chef Gordon Ramsay explores New Zealand’s rugged south in his new series created in partnership with National Geographic. (Courtesy of National Geographic/Jon Kroll)
Scottish-born chef and television personality Gordon Ramsay is used to forcing people out of their comfort zone -- ranting and raving while instructing people how to prepare the perfect dish. But in his latest show, Gordon Ramsay: Uncharted, he is the one being tested.
All of Ramsay’s accolades and esteem get left behind as he travels across the world to find ingredients and flavors he has never come across in his long career.
His new National Geographic series highlights six different locations in its first season, namely Peru, New Zealand, Laos, Hawaii, Alaska and Morocco.
“It has been an amazing journey traveling off the beaten path with National Geographic and connecting with locals to learn and share incredible stories of unique traditions, delicacies and the extreme lengths it takes to harvest native ingredients,” said Ramsay. “I have learned way more filming this series than I have in the last 10 years.”
New flavor: Gordon is introduced to new ingredients and methods of cooking each episode where he is introduced to people and cultures he has never come into contact with before. (Courtesy of National Geographic/Ernesto Benavides)
The goal of each episode is to find, forage and catch local ingredients and use them in the native style of the country he happens to be in. He is paired with a local food expert and is tasked with preparing a feast for locals with the ingredients he has collected by the end of each episode.
Every skill that he has learned through years of training and practice are put to the test as he is confronted with brand new cooking methods and ingredients. The locals, who expect only superb cooking of their cherished dishes, become the uncensored food critic that Ramsay usually is.
His journey to find ingredients often puts him in precarious situations, but the locals who accompany Ramsay face it on a regular basis.
The multi-Michelin-star chef and Ironman athlete can be seen scaling cliffs in pursuit of cactus worms, which are a delicacy in Peru. He also samples unorthodox foods like guinea pig while in the South American nation.
In New Zealand, stunning mountainous backdrops complement Ramsay’s adventures, which include hand fishing for eels in frigid rivers. He also goes hunting for mountain goat and eats grubs in the forest. This is all in preparation for a massive feast for the local Maori people.
It’s hot: Caramelized carrots, made with locally sourced honey, cooked on an open stove in Morocco. (Food, chef, TV, show, Gordon Ramsay, National Geographic/Mark Johnson)
Morocco is the location for Ramsay’s camel milking experience where he encounters local Berber cuisine and culture. He also rappels over a waterfall to meet up with local mushroom hunters in order to cook a feast for the Berber New Year.
In Laos, Ramsay travels down the famous Mekong River and treks through the jungle to sample weaver ant eggs. He also dives for snails and searches for giant water bugs. He then serves the banquet to local monks at a temple.
Other harrowing adventures included in the show are spearfishing in Hawaii with a legendary free diver while also hunting deer with a bow. He also climbs a rock face during a snowstorm in Alaska and hunts for grouse. The series almost becomes a mix between the late Anthony Bourdain’s Parts Unknown and Bear Grylls’ Man vs. Wild.
On the go: Gordon Ramsay learns traditional culinary methods in Morocco with assistance from his 9-year-old daughter. (Courtesy of National Geographic/Mark Johnson)
Ramsay often mentions that food is the gateway to culture, and through local cuisine he is able to gain incredible insight into cultures that are underappreciated when it comes to their culinary prowess.
The show will be aired in the US on the National Geographic channel, but it is also being aired globally in 172 countries, including Indonesia, and in 43 languages.
In Indonesia, the series, which has already been picked up for a second season by National Geographic, will debut on July 22 at 9 a.m. with a repeat at 9 p.m. of the same episode, in which Ramsay explores Peru’s Sacred Valley of the Incas.
Rarely seen: Chef Gordon Ramsay (center) learns how to cook paua, a kind of abalone only found in New Zealand, from fishermen Fluff (left) and Zane. (Courtesy of National Geographic/Camilla Rutherford)
“National Geographic is known as a channel that presents quality educational shows and can be enjoyed by families in Indonesia,” marketing representative of FOX Networks Group Indonesia Indira Christiani said during a media screening of the series in Jakarta.
“This program is expected to be the choice of the audience who enjoys togetherness with family at home and will provide information in a fun way.”
Ramsay has been a main player on the gastronomic scene for over 20 years. In 1998, when he was 31, he opened his first restaurant in London. Restaurant Gordon Ramsay, as it is simply called, quickly received the most coveted award known to the restaurant business: three Michelin stars. The restaurant is now London’s longest-running restaurant to maintain the award, and he is one of only four UK chefs to have a three-star restaurant.
While the show has Ramsay traveling all over the world, he is no stranger to globetrotting. In fact, he has restaurants all over the world, including in Las Vegas, Qatar and Singapore. These global ventures, along with hit shows like Masterchef and Hell’s Kitchen, have made him an international superstar.
Gordon Ramsay: Uncharted does a wonderful job of giving people a window into corners of the world they might never have been given a glimpse into. Although people might have their differences, food is something that breaks down cultural and social barriers. (ste)
-- The writer is an intern at The Jakarta Post.
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