Gordon Ramsay Uncharted review: Alaska explores a bounty of ingredients


In the finale episode of Gordon Ramsay Uncharted, Alaska might have had some frigid temperatures but the beautiful bounty of ingredients excites foodies.

While the land might be buried under snow, Gordon Ramsay Unchartered finds that Alaska is filled with foodie treasures. With rugged terrain, the Alaskan people found ways to be resourceful. In some ways, this unchartered destination can provide an important lesson for any foodie.

Looking back at parts of this episode, there is an underlying point beyond the delicious bites that everyone enjoys. In some ways, the fragility of the rugged terrain needs to be explored. Whether it is the lack of wild salmon to catch or the broken pieces of glacier ice, the planet’s changes have a long reaching effect.

Although these items aren’t the focus of this episode, the harsh reality is that everything is connected. When the continuous circle is altered, the changes have a bigger ripple effect.

Some of the biggest takeaways from this Gordon Ramsay Uncharted episode are the resourcefulness of Alaskan people. Given the harsh conditions, the people look for ways to find and use food that is available and can be tasty.

Alaska – Alaskan Chef, Lionel Udippa (R), stands by while Gordon Ramsay puts the finishing touches on dishes. (Humble Pie Rights Limited/Justin Mandel)

One of the terms used is that Alaska is a glacial wonderland. In the first few minutes of the episode, the conversation between Chef Ramsay and Chef Lionel Uddipa shows food in this region offers a dual purpose. While the locals are resourceful, the food is tasty. For example, the moose sticks are portable, hearty and delicious.

As Gordon travels around the Alaskan landscape, some items offer more moments of reflection. While scales Chimney Rock, the old man’s beard is more than just an ingredient for tea. That plant shows that the air is free from impurity in this region. Old man’s beard can’t grow in polluted air.

Alaska continues the conversation that has tied all these Gordon Ramsay Uncharted episodes together. The local hunt, fish, gather and forage for food that allows them to survive. It isn’t about the food that people are willing to eat, it is about the food that is available. Sometimes survival isn’t conducive for picky eaters.

Of course, there are elements to every show that might make people question or feel slightly uncomfortable. Hunting seal might be a hard topic for some. The same can be said about watching Gordon inflate seal lungs.

Still, there is a bigger topic underneath that television moment. The key is that these locals use every part of the seal. The same can be said of the salmon. Nothing is wasted.

That concept of zero waste needs to be more widely applied. Food waste is a terrible problem. If more people were willing to see the all the possibilities of food, there could be a radical change in the food waste problem.

Another issue that was discussed in this episode is the idea that fresh ingredients do not need tons of seasoning. The beautiful, fresh ingredient needs to shine and does when it is prepared with care. Sometimes it is best to lest the ingredient speak for itself.

Watching Gordon prepare freshly caught salmon with just a touch of seasoning is a reminder that a delicious cooking isn’t always about being overly elaborate. Simplicity and restraint can be harder, but a beautiful ingredient allows that type of cooking.

One part of this episode was slightly concerning. There has been much conversation about the concerns over the disintegration of the glaciers. Sourcing floating glacier ice for cocktails seemed a little concerning.

Alaska – (L to R) Michelle Costello and Gordon Ramsay make a cocktail using an ice cube which was harvested from a free-floating iceberg. (National Geographic/Mark Edward Harris)

While that ice is pure and pure ice makes a better cocktail, this moment is a little sad. Sure, everyone should use clear ice for a better tasting cocktail, but you can make that ice. Wouldn’t it be better for the glaciers to still be intact rather than a part of a tasty cocktail?

For the final feast, the funniest part of the commentary was that Gordon was able to properly cook salmon. After watching too many episodes of Hell’s Kitchen and MasterChef, foodies, like myself, might have had a good chuckle over the salmon doneness comments. It would have been quite embarrassing for Gordon to improperly cook salmon.

While Gordon uses the various ingredients gathered throughout the week to complete his meal, there is slightly more simplicity to this meal. Maybe it is the freshness of the ingredients or maybe it is his audience, but this meal is probably the most restrained of the season.

Looking at the episode’s inspired recipe, the salmon roe beurre blanc with gin and butter is simple yet elevated. Again, it is all about the salmon. Even with the rich sauce, the salmon is still the star.

Since this episode is the Gordon Ramsay Uncharted finale, it is interesting that Alaska closes out the season. Whether other episodes might have had big shock value moments or unusual ingredients, this episode seems to bring viewers to a bigger conversation.

Where the people of Laos find food where they can, the Alaskan people might find it harder to be as resourceful when the environment may not provide. Could fewer wild salmon be a result of warmer waters?

While this Nat Geo Channel series focused on culinary adventure and highlighting certain regions and cuisines, hopefully foodies saw more than just tasty bites and a desire to explore some new foods. The fragility of the planet can and will affect the food that arrives on our tables.

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What did you think about Gordon Ramsay Uncharted? What was your biggest takeaway from this season?