Gordon Ramsay has cracked open the grill on his Nat Geo adventure cooking show Uncharted and also addressed the controversy about those Anthony Bourdain comparisons and called “bullsh*t” on chefs handing back Michelin stars.
The British chef also revealed to Deadline that he is set to start filming BBC cooking competition series Step Up to the Plate, which he described as a “foodie Apprentice,” next week in the UK.
Speaking at the TCA press tour on Tuesday, Ramsay was on good form to promote Gordon Ramsay: Uncharted, which is produced by his own indie Studio Ramsay. Sitting alongside contributors including Hawaiian free diver and spearfisher Kimi Wener, New Zealand chef Monique Fiso and Laos adventurist Mick O’Shea, as well as exec producer Jon Kroll, he said it was all about “scaling back” and “unearthing those [cooking] secrets that we’ve forgotten about.”
Ramsay traveled to six global destinations including New Zealand, Peru, Laos and Alaska in the series, which launched Sunday on Nat Geo. He explores the connection between exploration, adventure and food with a dash of cooking competition.
He said that the short-order episode run of the show, which has already been picked up for a second season, was ideal for him. “I’m not overladen with 25-30 hours a year, I like the six, seven, eight hours a year, so it’s about quality.”
Ramsay admitted he “took a lot of flack” about “rivaling Tony Bourdain,” with numerous critics suggesting Uncharted was too close to Bourdain’s own Parts Unknown. Ramsay says he’s been doing these types of shows for as long as Bourdain. “That was incorrect. Judge [this] program with integrity. I totally respect what he did and how he did it, but this journey began in 2004, discovering India, Vietnam and Cambodia and literally getting away from the three Michelin star setup with 25 chefs, what’s it like to be at the coal face,” he said. “That’s what this is all about.”
The outspoken Brit, who turned up to the press tour between shifts filming the Masterchef finale for Fox, also hit out at another controversy over certain chefs suggesting they wanted to hand back their Michelin stars. Chefs including Marco Pierre White and Singapore chef André Chiang are among those that have “handed back” their stars, long the gold standard for restaurants.
Ramsay, whose own eponymous restaurant in London has held three Michelin stars since 2001, calls the move “bullsh*t.”
“Whether it’s an Emmy, an Oscar, a BAFTA or a Michelin star, it’s the icing on the cake, not just for the chef but for the staff who are equally as focused as the owner,” he said.