Gordon Ramsay Uncharted: Hawaii’s ingredients offer culinary inspiration


While Hawaii’s lush scenery is captivating, Gordon Ramsay Uncharted: Hawaii’s Hana Coast showcases the culinary inspiration local ingredients bring.

In this episode of Gordon Ramsay Uncharted, Hawaii is shown as more than a relaxing beach vacation destination. Throughout the episode, the multicultural cuisine is the theme for everything Gordon Ramsay explores. This food is definitely not just pineapple on pizza.

The biggest takeaway from this week’s episode is the exploration of idea that Hawaiians are from everywhere. As award winning chef and Top Chef fan favorite Sheldon Simeon mentions, no one is really just from Hawaii. Everyone has come from another place and settled in the area.

In a way, Hawaiian cuisine is a blend of cultures. Throughout the episode, there are references to the trade winds culture. The idea is that trade and exploration brought many people to Hawaii, which also brought their foods and customs.

One major influence on many dishes is that Hawaii doesn’t necessarily have the luxury to go to a huge big box store and have a plethora of options. It can be costly and timely to ship items to the islands.

The local cuisine relies on what can be foraged and harvested from the area. From fresh fish to tropical fruits, the local items offer delicious flavors and amazing freshness.

Like previous Gordon Ramsay Uncharted episodes, Gordon joins in various adventures to highlight some local delicacies. While this episode didn’t have any overly exotic foods (i.e. bugs), the adventures were quite interesting.

Hawaii – Gordon Ramsay (R) meets chef and world-class freediver, Kimi Werner. (Humble Pie Rights Limited/Justin Mandel)

The idea that spearfishing is used to capture fresh fish is very different than traditional fishing methods. While free diver Kimi Werner is an expert in her field, this moment shows how connected Hawaiians are to the world around them.

Werner seemed at ease in the water, while Gordon seemed a little like a fish out of water. While this scene was about the fishing, there was something more to it.

The comments about controlling breathing can apply more broadly. In a way, the idea to focus on something controllable can help anyone. Just think if you take a deep breath and re-focus after that cooking mistake in the kitchen.

Hawaii – (L to R) Gordon Ramsay and chef, Sheldon Simeon, with a freshly caught spiny lobster. (National Geographic/Michael Muller)

For the foodie, the big takeaway this scene was the comment about how the fish was seasoned from what it eats. The fish has a briny flavor because of the seaweed it eats.

That comment is important to remember when cooking. What a protein eat does affect how it tastes. If you put a fresh fish and a farm raised fish side by side, there will be a flavor difference.

Another important topic discussed on this episode is deer hunting. While some people may not appreciate the hunting, there is a vital reason for this subject.

Deer is a non-native species to Hawaii. Without hunting, over-population will cause problems to the eco-system.

More importantly, people are using this animal as food. It isn’t hunting for sport, it is providing food to feed others. In a way, it is turning a problem into something positive.

Of course, each episode is meant to give viewers a glimpse into Hawaii that they might not see on vacation photos. As Gordon explores a taro farm, a fruit plantation and even makes some banana bread (although they were a little afraid that he would yell in the kitchen), these scenes show how a chef learns and can adapt recipes to local ingredients and techniques.

All of these culinary adventures aren’t about recreating a specific dish. The concept is to learn, explore and bring those experiences into your own cooking.

For the final feast, Gordon was challenged the Sheldon to bring some of his Scottish heritage to the table. Just like the Hawaiians who bring their cultural background to recipes, Gordon did the same, but using local ingredients in the recipe.

This concept is very important for the foodie or home cook. Any recipe can evolve over time. Local ingredients can take a dish that you have eaten forever and make it entirely new. Gordon did that concept.

For his Shepard’s Pie, he replaced the traditional potato with breadfruit. Breadfruit, the less ripened kind, has a starchy like quality. By cooking and mashing it like a potato, it became the topping for the Shepard’s Pie.

Also, Gordon used local venison. Again, the concept is similar yet the local ingredients change the dish slightly. Although the heart of the dish remains, it evolves.

While Gordon always asks which dish the guests prefer at the feast, I don’t think that “winning” is or should be the end goal. Respecting local traditions, incorporating local ingredients and infusing a part of himself is the most important factor.

In a way, this Hawaii episode might be the most approachable episode of the season. Many people visit Hawaii for vacation. While that beachfront resort has every amenity needed, people can consider venturing away from that resort.

Down the road there might be the best chicken that you’ve ever eaten. It might be a grill on the side of the road, but it will be a bite that you will never forget. But, you have to be willing to explore.

While chefs can leave their marks of deliciousness on an adventure, those same marks can be left on anyone’s experience. From understanding how different salts affect taste to seeing how banana bread from local bananas tastes different, it is about being open to the experience.

Food is a more than just nourishment. It is an open discussion, a reflection of an area’s culture and an gift that extend beyond the table. In the end, that food can show how people can be more alike than different.

light. Related Story. Sheldon Simeon shares his Kalua Pork recipe

Are you ready for another culinary adventure? What has Gordon Ramsay Uncharted inspired you to do?