SINGAPORE – Leaping from a helicopter into high waves to harvest mussels along the South African coast, participating in a traditional bull race in a remote West Sumatran rice paddy field, and racing a four-wheeler through Louisiana’s muddy back roads to hunt for bull frogs and crawfish.
It is not the food edition of Mission: Impossible, but the second season of Gordon Ramsay: Uncharted, which premieres tomorrow (June 8) on the National Geographic (Singtel TV Channel 201 and StarHub TV 411).
Just like he did in the first season, the British celebrity chef-restaurateur goes on an off-the-beaten-track culinary expedition in each episode to learn about the food and culture of each region, guided by local experts.
Each of the seven episodes concludes with Ramsay taking part in a cooking challenge alongside a local food legend where they cook a meal for locals.
Last season, his Southeast Asian stop was Laos. This time, he headed to West Sumatra – marking his first time in Indonesia – where his mentor, Indonesian culinary expert and chef William Wongso, taught him how to cook beef rendang.
On getting schooled by Wongso on the dish, Ramsay, 53, said: “I knew I’d get my a**e kicked by William. He’s 73 and has been cooking for six decades. He knows 200 versions of rendang.
“We don’t have dishes like that in the United Kingdom. We have a Lancashire hotpot up north, but we don’t have 20 versions of it.”
Ramsay was speaking to The Straits Times and other regional media on set in Bukittingi, West Sumatra, in late January. The episode featuring Indonesia airs on June 29.
Despite his Michelin-star-studded reputation and numerous TV shows – some of which showcase his fiery temper – the Ironman athlete admits that awaiting the challenge verdicts still make him nervous.
He said: “Forget Michelin stars, The Good Food Guide (UK’s restaurant guidebook), and glamorous restaurants. I stand there, naked and afraid.
“I don’t think these esteemed guests are bulls**tting. If they don’t think it’s good, they will tell me it’s not good.”
Stressing the need to remain a fastidious student, he added: “For every country we go to, I put myself under pressure to get up to speed. It’s not about beating the chef, it’s about matching the chef. Uncharted, for me, was going back to learning because I get stripped off of everything I’ve got.”
Season 2 of Gordon Ramsay: Uncharted premieres tomorrow (June 8) at 10am on National Geographic (Singtel TV Channel 201 and StarHub TV 411), with a repeat telecast at 10pm.
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