Gordon Ramsay Goes Straight To The Source

Video highlights from Gordon Ramsay: Uncharted

OK, it’s a dream job – and the rest of us don’t have it.

But we also don’t have to deal with jet lag, queues and passport control – and we can live vicariously through Gordon Ramsay as he jets around the world creating the finest cuisine from local ingredients.

In his new National Geographic series, Gordon Ramsay: Uncharted, the famously acerbic celebrity chef goes to the source for New Zealand delicacies like fuchsia berries, paua, eel and wild goat.

Ramsay skillfully combines adventure and cooking as he travels to five destinations in addition to the Land of the Long White Cloud - Peru, Morocco, Laos, Hawaii and Alaska.

New Zealand - Zane (L), a local fisherman, teaches Gordon Ramsay how to open paua, one of the ocean's greatest delicacies. (National Geographic/Camilla Rutherford)

He meets up-and-coming chefs on their own turf in a convivial atmosphere in each location (Monique Fiso, Virgilio Martinez, Najat Kaanache, Joy Ngeuamboupha, Lionel Uddipa, Sheldon Simeon) to discover hidden gems among the cuisine of each region.

“This is about putting food back on the map with National Geographic, where it deserves to be,” he says. “It’s the planet Earth of food that gives inspiration for your next trip.”

After having trouble at first gathering New Zealand paua (Maori for abalone) among thick kelp, Ramsay comes away from the dive with a number of the molluscs, as well as some bonus sea urchins.

“It brings back memories of being a 22-year-old in Paris, and my first job before 9am was to open three boxes of sea urchins,” Ramsay says.

“They were tiny, and the ones here are the size of a rugby ball.”

The star also digs a traditional hangi pit, the Maori method of cooking food with heated rocks in an earth oven – called a clam bake in the US and a great Elvis movie.

This method means he can’t constantly check the food – he can’t even tap a temperature gauge to give himself the illusion of control.

New Zealand - (L to R) New Zealand chef, Monique Fiso, and Gordon Ramsay prepare a meal with local ingredients and traditional cooking techniques for elders in New Zealand. (Jon Kroll)

“I suppose the more successful I’ve become, the more I want to strip back,” says Ramsay. “I’m always willing to learn; I want to expand on my repertoire. I still need to feel that vulnerability and touch base with that insecurity of what I don’t know.”

He was in New Zealand to highlight the influence of Maori tradition and indigenous food on a recent revolution in the country’s cuisine and on local chefs, like Monique Fiso, who are modernising these traditional foods with fine-dining training.

Ramsay spent a week in New Zealand hopping between Stewart Island and the Wanaka region of the country’s South Island, in search of an education while gathering ingredients from the New Zealand’s four main ecosystems: ocean, river, mountains, and forest.

Lead Image: New Zealand - (L to R) Gordon Ramsay and eel fisherman, Jeremy, proudly hold their latest catch. (National Geographic/Camilla Rutherford)


Gordon Ramsay: Uncharted - watch the six-part series Mondays 8.30pm AEST on National Geographic.

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