‘Gordon Ramsay: Uncharted’ – And he likes it that way
Many know Gordon Ramsay as the foul-mouthed taskmaster who delivers the unvarnished truth to chefs and restaurateurs on shows such as “Hell’s Kitchen” and “24 Hours to Hell and Back.” But a different Ramsay emerged to showrunner Jon Kroll during a stop in Guyana while filming Season 2 of “Gordon Ramsay: Uncharted.”
“In Guyana, we had really, really limited satellite internet that was available to us,” Kroll explains. “And Gordon runs an empire, he’s a very busy guy. And I woke up at six o’clock in the morning to the sound of howler monkeys chanting. I look out and Gordon was sitting with a cup of coffee at the edge of the Rewa River.”
“Because no one could reach him, no one could find him,” he continues. “He truly was uncharted and he looked really blissful, and I’ve never seen that look on his face before. He was just that kind of blissed out. And I think he really dug being not reachable for a while.”
In the new season, which kicks off Sunday, June 7, on National Geographic, Ramsay goes further off-grid for more adventures, culinary and otherwise, in places like Guyana, to hunt bare-handed for caiman and fish for piranha; Indonesia, to search for giant prawns in a bat-infested cave; South Africa, to harvest mussels from rocks in the treacherous Indian Ocean; and in the season opener, Tasmania off the south coast of Australia, to fly-fish for trout, forage for herbs and vegetables, and dive in shark-infested waters for giant rock lobsters.
That episode culminated in a cook-off with chef and local expert Analiese Gregory, with the menu consisting of the aforementioned lobster, wallaby (whose overpopulation downunder rivals that of deer in parts of North America) glazed in pricey locally distilled whiskey and indigenous vegetables.
“I had a really good time cooking with him …,” Gregory says. “It kind of reminded me of being back in the kitchen in London, like his skills are amazing. He’s really fast, he’s really good. I was pretty prepared and they were like, ‘Oh, he likes a bit of trash talk.’ So I just spent the whole time like trash-talking him. … He took it very well. He gives as good as he gets and it was a really enjoyable cook-off.”
As for the food, Kroll was blown away by the lobster and surprised at how lean yet tender the wallaby was.
“I think venison is the best comparison,” he says. “It doesn’t taste gamey. It really has kind of a mild flavor to it. And I think that both he and Analiese … were focusing on not masking the flavor or overseasoning it because the natural flavor of it is quite tasty and not like a strong pungent flavor like you get from some wild game even though they are wild game.
“I mean, they have access to this incredible landscape of forest to feed on and wild herbs and stuff like that, and that all comes through in the meat. So it’s a very delectable venison-type flavor.”