Gordon Ramsay Uncharted: New Zealand traditions add nuance to the feast


In this episode of Gordon Ramsay Uncharted, Ramsay travels to New Zealand and learns the customs, traditions and ingredients of Māori cuisine.

Another culinary adventure begins in this episode of Gordon Ramsay Uncharted. As Ramsay travels to New Zealand, this week’s episode is more than just foraging for ingredients. Viewers need to look beyond the attention-filled moments and see how this journey can inspire some creativity within their own cooking.

In this week’s episode, Ramsay partners with New Zealand chef Monique Fiso. Known for highlighting traditional Māori food culture at her restaurant Hiakai, this episode had many bold moments, but the quiet moments were more insightful.

Sure, this episode has moments that will have people talking. Ramsay unsuccessfully tries to eat a grub, he dives for abalone, fishes for eel, climbs a tree for sweet berries and hunts a free range goat. These moments make for fun television, but foodies need to see beyond those moments.

While premise of each episode is fairly the same, each episode does have a different approach to the theme. For this New Zealand episode, there are some aspects that foodies should explore.

Looking beyond the aspect of foraging for food, particular ingredients, like the berries found at the top of the tree, can offer both flavor and function. While these berries might not be in your area, the concept of using a natural ingredient as a sweetener has merit.

In this episode, Ramsay compares these berries to dates. Dates are a wonderful substitute for sugar. Maybe the home cook can be inspired to skip the copious amounts of refined white sugar in recipes and look for a natural alternative.

New Zealand – (L to R) New Zealand chef, Monique Fiso, and Gordon Ramsay prepare a meal with local ingredients and traditional cooking techniques for elders. (Humble Pie Rights Limited/Justin Mandel)

Again, if Gordon Ramsay Uncharted is meant to push the culinary conversation forward, viewers need to think beyond just the eye catching moments presented in each episode. Not everyone will experience a Māori inspired meal in New Zealand. Still, people can apply some of these concepts in their own cooking.

In this episode, Ramsay and New Zealand chef Monique Fiso cook the goat in a pit. Granted, home cooks aren’t digging a pit to cook their Sunday dinner, but Ramsay made a very interesting comment in during the episode. Cooking in the pit took away his cooking control.

Ramsay said how he is always touching, changing, adapting as he is cooking. By cooking in the pit, he had to trust the process. Hope that everything is seasoned well. In the end, he has faith that the food will be cooking correctly.

Home cooks can think about this idea when cooking. Sometimes the concept of less is more should be applied. Maybe you don’t need to open the oven again or flip the burger again. Letting the food cook and being confident in the preparation could lead to delicious results.

New Zealand – Gordon Ramsay and chef, Monique Fiso, serve the dishes they prepared with local ingredients to elders. (Humble Pie Rights Limited/Justin Mandel)

Lastly, each of these episodes celebrate the connection between food and culture. Whether it is a special ingredient or a recipe handed down through generations, the connection between food and culture is strong.

Maybe the home cook can look at her family and the dish, recipe or ingredient that has been carefully passed down from family member to family member. From grandma’s coffee cake recipe to that Sunday gravy, there are some traditions that bring people together.

Similar to the first Gordon Ramsay Uncharted episode, there is a recipe inspired by the episode that has been shared. This week’s recipe is braised goat leg and shoulder with a fuchsia berry chutney and sweet potato flatbread.

Although some home cooks don’t often cook with goat, it is a protein that more people should explore. If you love goat cheese, why not try goat.

The recipe adds a similar element that was presented in this week’s episode. While the food isn’t cooked in a pit, the goat is wrapped in grape leaves and slowly braised in the oven.

Again, like the episode, this recipe lets the braised goat develop its flavor and tenderness by just cooking. It doesn’t need to be fiddled with or altered.

Some people might think that this food travel show is little unrealistic. From the usual search for native ingredients to the cooking challenge at the end of each episode, it is a far cry from a cooking show. But, people need to think beyond the scenes in each episode.

Braised Goat Leg and Shoulder, a recipe inspired by Gordon Ramsay’s culinary adventures in New Zealand’s rugged south. (National Geographic/Lisa Corson)

Just like an amazing meal, creative cookbook or memorable vacation, those influences can and do affect how a person enjoys food. This shows can encourage anyone to think beyond that plain, boring chicken breast that she has eaten 10 times this month.

Even if that experimentation goes really wrong, at least the home cook tried something new. It is about the journey as a whole, not just one dish.

Why not turn that Sunday dinner into a conversation. It doesn’t have to be just about the food on the table. Take a moment to talk to the people around the table. Not just that casual conversation, but really talk.

Just like delicious food, meaningful conversation can boost that whole meal’s experience. Maybe it will spark a tradition in your home.

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What did you think of this week’s Gordon Ramsay Uncharted episode? What did you take away from this episode?