Celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay has been receiving criticism of late for his upcoming National Geographic show, Gordon Ramsay: Uncharted. One of the main points of contention is that the show seems to be a derivative of the late Anthony Bourdain’s hit CNN show Parts Unknown. Another issue is complaints of cultural appropriation.
Carbonated.TV quotes National Geographic, which describes Uncharted as having Ramsay cook against locals around the world, “pitting his own interpretations of regional dishes against the tried-and-true classics.” If you’re a fan of Bourdain’s work, you’ll know that this kind of show flies in direct conflict with Bourdain’s style. Bourdain, on the other hand, went into other people’s cultures with an open mind and open heart, hoping to learn from others instead of replicating dishes. In that way, Bourdain brought people closer together.
Food writer Sejal Sukhadwala, for instance, wrote for The Metro that she wouldn’t be watching Uncharted because of how it seemed like Gordon would be Columbussing local cuisine.
“Let the experts speak about their own food, let them tell their own stories and please, let’s not turn this into entertainment to prod, poke and point a finger at.”
Ramsay has now responded to the critics via an interview with Entertainment Weekly for the upcoming season of Hell’s Kitchen. In the interview, he called the critics “feeble warriors that sit in their dungeons and spout negativity without understanding what we’re doing.”
“I’ve been doing assertive, combustial shows since 2006 since I started The F Word–whether it’s diving for giant crab or hanging off a 500-meter cliff chasing puffins. So I’ve been on that level of exploration and understand those cultures,” he said to Entertainment Weekly. “I’m a chef that needs to get motivated by understanding different cultures. I helicoptered into Nagaland 50 kilometers from the Burmese border in Northern India and cooked at a wedding. And in order to get accepted into the wedding, I had to buy a f***ing buffalo. That was 12 years ago.”
Ramsay also told the outlet that Bourdain was “a great mate of mine,” adding that he thinks Bourdain would be “happy and impressed at [Uncharted‘s ] level of jeopardy and jumping into these [places]–Brazil, Peru, Alaska–and sourcing incredible ingredients and then highlighting some of the best [culinary] talent that hasn’t been noticed yet…The research going into [the show] is extraordinary.”
Ramsay ended the defense of his show by saying he “can’t wait to make all those bitter, twisted, little boring truckers who aren’t busy enough in their lives eat their words.”
We’ll see what Uncharted will be like once it airs soon. Production on the show will start this fall.