Gordon Ramsay Uncharted Louisiana: Cooking from the soul

Louisiana - Gordon Ramsay searching for the secrets of Cajun cuisine in southeast Louisiana. (Credit: National Geographic/Rush Jagoe)
Louisiana - Gordon Ramsay searching for the secrets of Cajun cuisine in southeast Louisiana. (Credit: National Geographic/Rush Jagoe) /

In the Gordon Ramsay Uncharted Louisiana episode, Gordon learns to want for nothing.

Cooking from the soul can have different meaning. In the Gordon Ramsay Uncharted Louisiana episode, the marsh land showed Gordon a lot of love. While some ingredients and dishes might be classic Louisiana fare, this part of the end of the world has plentiful, flavorful and sometimes bizarre foods. Ready to start exploring?

Thinking about Louisiana, many classic dishes and flavors come to mind. Deep, rich flavorful rues are a staple in that style of cooking. People might think that some chefs might have given of piece of their soul to create that depth of flavor.

While gumbos and etouffees might be filled with Cajun and Creole spices, the bounty that the land offers is more than just layers of spices in a seafood dish. In some ways, Louisiana cooking finds ways to want for nothing. Even the most unlikely ingredients can be the best bites on a plate.

In this episode, Chef Eric Cook challenged Gordon to a rue battle in addition to a table filled with Louisiana delicacies. The talented Chef Cook served to be a tough battle for the fiery Chef Ramsay. Even though Chef Ramsay can be a drill sergeant in the kitchen, Chef Cook has a few tricks from his military training.

While the battle is about crowning a winner, the key from this episode is that the flavor is more important than the name of ingredients. Even though people can eat with their eyes, a name can sometimes pre-determine a person’s perception of a dish. Would you eat mudbugs or crawfish? What about Nutria versus a River Rat?

Think about this concept for a minute. What parent hasn’t told a child a little white lie about a food? Maybe you didn’t tell your kids that the sauce was made with extra vegetables. If they like the flavor, do you really need to tell them that the sauce is filled with carrots and squash? In the end, flavor is king, not the name.

One of the big takeaways from the Gordon Ramsay Uncharted Louisiana episode is that the local chefs are learning to use invasive species and food that is available to create amazing food. As invasive species become a problem why not find a creative way to make the problem less difficult.

That idea of using invasive species has been seen in other Gordon Ramsay episodes. As seen in last season’s New Zealand episode, chefs find ways to use food that is plentiful around them. Any food can and will be tasty when prepared well.

Sure, the typical home cook might not cook a rat for Sunday dinner. If a chef can make a delicious meal with that rat does it matter if the dish is called something different? The flavor is king.

Personally, I have eaten many foods that I didn’t know the “real” translated name or the chef didn’t reveal the ingredients in the dish. When you eat food and enjoy the flavors, does it matter if the dish contains offal, an insect or a rodent? Plentiful food that can be cooked in a variety of ways leaves everyone wanting for nothing.

In some ways, it takes people to re-think food. Years ago, many people might scoff at the idea of eating crawfish and specifically suck the head of that little crustacean. Over time, people learned to love and even crave that little bite. It isn’t about appearance; it is about flavor.

Looking at the finale meal, each dish focused on cooking from both heart and experience. The food shows how locals learned to thrive on the food that is available and make each dish be the best that it can be. Whether it is frog legs, crawfish or an invasive species, any and every food can be made delicious.

Although a few of these dishes and Louisiana recipes might be a little more approachable than other episodes’ recipes, it allows home cooks to take the next step to embrace new foods and flavors. Even if a home cook just tries a new type of citrus fruit in a recipe, it is a step in the right direction.

While many Gordon Ramsay Uncharted episodes explore exotic lands, the Louisiana episode can inspire many foodies to take a trip. The food culture in Louisiana could excite anyone to try a new food or flavor. You do not have to sell your soul for a delicious plate of food, but you might bring some inspiration from that impeccable food back home with you.

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Gordon Ramsay Uncharted airs new episodes on Sunday nights at 10 p.m.

What is the most unusual food that you have ever eaten? Are you open to trying new foods?