Gordon Ramsay Describes New Series 'Uncharted' as 'Planet Earth for Food'

Ileane Rudolph
Q&A National Geographic/Ernesto Benavides

Separating the wheat from the chaff on MasterChef and Hell's Kitchen is nothing compared to what Gordon Ramsay happily endures in this thrilling anthropological deep dive into little-known food cultures, Gordon Ramsay: Uncharted.

The six-part series, which has already been renewed for a second season, sends the celebrity chef to remote parts of the world to forage, hunt, fish and cook with locals (above left, he's eating guinea pig in Peru in the premiere).

"I see this as something as important as Planet Earth for food," he says of the series' focus on sustainability. Here, he gives us a taste.

What were some of your adventures discovering these cuisines?

Gordon Ramsay: In Laos, I was white water rafting down the incredible Mekong River, snakes popping up and jumping over my kayak, and went diving for freshwater snails and hunting for giant water bugs. In Morocco’s Atlas mountains, I scaled down a waterfall to get to a wild mushroom truffle patch. In the Alaska panhandle, I scaled this huge rock face while getting pelted in a heavy snowstorm. Marinating Alaskan white king salmon in locally prepared gin and curing it in the freshly laid snow was amazing.

Which experience was the most dangerous?

I'd say diving for the prized paua clams in New Zealand. You're diving against strong currents, wading through kelp, holding your breath while you remove this bloody clam off this rock in a very special way and also trying to keep your eyes open for great white sharks. When my wife [who was nine months pregnant with the couple's fifth child] heard about the sharks, she flipped her lid! New Zealand food gets nowhere near the [respect] it deserves.

National Geographic/Ernesto Benavides

This series is very different from the late Anthony Bourdain's travelogue food shows. But how do you feel about that comparison?

I took a lot of unnecessary criticism from the keyboard warriors [when the show was announced] saying this is a copy. As a dear friend [of the man], I too respect the legacy and what he stood for. That's the last thing I'd ever do.

Gordon Ramsay: UnchartedSeries Premiere, Sunday, July 21, 10/9c, National Geographic