Well known for his profanity, Gordon Ramsay defied his own reputation with his visit to Wanaka last week, without a single swear word to be heard but only “beautiful”, “stunning” and “take me there”.
Ramsay was in town to film ‘Gordon Ramsay: Uncharted’, a series that draws connections between exploration, adventure and food — with a dash of friendly competition — starring (of course) Ramsay. Produced by his own Studio Ramsay, the celebrated chef is embarking on anthropology-through-cuisine expeditions to unearth the most incredible people, places and flavours the world has to offer. ‘Gordon Ramsay: Uncharted’ will premiere globally in 2019 on National Geographic in 171 countries and 43 languages, which is a lot of coverage for a little town like Wanaka.
Each episode of ‘Uncharted’ will include three key ingredients: unlocking a culture’s culinary secrets through exploration and adventure with local food heroes, no matter where they may lead him; tracking down high-octane traditions, pastimes and customs that are specific to the region in hopes of discovering the undiscovered; and, finally, testing Ramsay against the locals, pitting his own interpretations of regional dishes against the tried-and-true classics. There is no word on what food Ramsay was focusing on here, or which chefs he is testing his mettle against. There has been some criticism that the show simply picks up where Anthony Bourdain left off, in a white male colonial triumph through countries and cultures he knows nothing about. Whether he respects or conquers local culture is yet to be seen.
Ramsay and crew went into Mount Aspiring National Park to film their episode so there is no doubt that the scenery will make an epic backdrop for the show. Off camera, Ramsay dined at Kika. Ramsay's order included pickled white anchovies with a chilli granita, a 40-degree salmon dish with fresh peas, homemade wasabi peas and horseradish, an avocado dish, a beetroot and chickpea fritter, duck and a "tea and biscuit" dessert with tea-flavoured ice cream and fresh shortbread.
Other location adventures in the series include scaling cave roofs in Malaysian Borneo to harvest nests, and hunting tarantulas in Cambodia. Producers have been tight lipped about what took place locally.
“My passion for adventure has made me not only a better chef but also a fearless apprentice of all cultures, which makes it so exciting for me to work with National Geographic, who’ve been taking exploration to the limit for their entire storied history,” said Ramsay.
A release date for the series has not been announced.