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Gordon Ramsay is under fire for a planned new show that will see him travel the world, exploring different food cultures, and, ever the competitor, attempting to cook local cuisines better than those from the communities he encounters.
Production on Gordon Ramsay: Uncharted is due to begin in the autumn, with the show scheduled to air in 2019 in 171 countries on National Geographic.
According to a press release, each episode will involve “unlocking a culture’s culinary secrets through exploration and adventure with local food heroes,” but also, crucially, “testing Ramsay against the locals, pitting his own interpretations of regional dishes against the tried-and-true classics.” According to the same release, "the celebrated chef will embark on anthropology-through-cuisine expeditions to unearth the most incredible people, places and flavors the world has to offer."
Understandably, this kind of language, including the title of the show itself, has sparked a backlash online, with the likes of chef and restaurateur Eddie Huang saying the show was “the last thing the food world needs right now.” Others have pointed out that Ramsay is no Anthony Bourdain, who approached all his food travels with a genuine curiousity and desire to learn.
The negative reaction prompted National Geographic to put out a statement, telling Eater that the announcement had been “taken out of context” and that the backlash was “premature.”
They’ll certainly want to go back to the drawing board though if they think Ramsay steamrolling other people’s food cultures is what people want to watch in 2019.