Celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay is gearing up to go into uncharted territory with his upcoming Nat Geo travel series — or parts that are unknown, as some critics have been quick to point out.
Ramsay’s new show, “Uncharted” — which was announced earlier this month — sounds strikingly similar to the late Anthony Bourdain’s CNN docuseries “Parts Unknown.” And Ramsay has felt the swift backlash from fans who cried “too soon!” at what they believe to be a ripoff of Bourdain’s — who died in June — Emmy-nominated program.
But that doesn’t mean he agrees with it or thinks “Uncharted” is a copycat production of his “great mate”s program.
“God, the feeble warriors that sit in their dungeons and spout negativity without understanding what we’re doing,” Ramsay told Entertainment Weekly in an interview published Friday. “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. 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.”
“Tony Bourdain was a great mate of mine,” Ramsay continued. “We were on the red carpet together last year at the Emmys. I think he’d 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. It’s a dream come true. Judge [‘Uncharted’] when you see it. The research going into [the show] is extraordinary. We’re [airing in] half a billion homes, 177 countries, in 43 different languages. And I can’t wait to make all those bitter, twisted, little, boring truckers who aren’t busy enough in their lives eat their words.”
Here is the official description for the series, per Nat Geo: Each episode will include exploration and adventure with local food heroes; tracking down traditions, pastimes and customs that are specific to certain regions; and lighthearted competition testing Ramsay against the locals, pitting his own interpretations of regional dishes against the tried-and-true classics. Production is set to being in the fall, with a 2019 premiere date scheduled for the series.
Nat Geo gave this statement, obtained by TheWrap, to the initial backlash in July: “We are disappointed that the announcement of our upcoming series with Gordon Ramsay was taken out of context. With National Geographic’s storied history of exploration, our plan with this series is to celebrate and learn about local cultures around the world. In partnering with Ramsay — a well-known adventure enthusiast — we are going to fully immerse viewers and give them a glimpse into surprising and unexpected cultures and local flavors. We have not gone into production on the series yet, so this perspective is premature. We’re looking forward to working with Ramsay, who’s been making food and travel documentaries for well over a decade, to share the series when it premieres sometime next year.”