After a long, internet-chatter-filled wait, National Geographic dropped the first trailer for Gordon Ramsay: Uncharted. Good news: it leaves us optimistic that the showrunners have managed to course correct from what Washington Post described as a “colonialist mess” of a premise. Instead, it looks like Bourdain or Andrew Zimmerman with a slight Bear Grylls edge — which sounds pretty damn watchable, right?
A little backstory: Gordon Ramsay: Uncharted was first announced almost a year ago and described by Variety as a show that would feature “Anthropology-through-cuisine expeditions” — following Chef Ramsay as he explored and adventured with local food heroes, tooks part in region-specific culinary traditions, and finally tested himself “against the locals, pitting his own interpretations of regional dishes against the tried-and-true classics.”
It was that last bit that led people online to reply with some side eye.
Though NatGeo told Uproxx at the time that they hadn’t shot, written, or even fully concept created the show, the announcement itself came off sounding like a show about a white, male chef (one famous for screaming and belittling people) teaching the locals — people who have been making their respective cuisines their entire lives — how their food ought to be made.
Speaking to the Washington Post, food writer and co-host of The Racist Sandwich Soleil Ho said, “The ridiculousness of Ramsay’s premise lies in a flawed belief that Old World culinary technique is the standard by which all food should be measured. And that’s absolutely not true.”
The publication went on to write not one, but two articles slamming the show’s premise — all before seeing a single episode. The public outcry was so bad that National Geographic provided a statement to Eater clarifying that the show was still in its early stages of development stating:
“We are disappointed that the announcement of our upcoming series with Gordon Ramsay was taken out of context… With National Geographic’s storied history of exploration, our plan with this series is to celebrate and learn about local cultures around the world… We have not gone into production on the series yet, so this perspective is premature…”
Now that we’ve finally seen the trailer, it looks like the actual Gordon Ramsay: Uncharted isn’t nearly as cringey as Variety initially made it sound. The outrage seems — judging by these snippets — mostly unfounded. In fact, Uncharted may be the show that finally humbles the famously arrogant chef, turning him into the butt of the joke (as in this related and very relevant clip-turned-meme).
Watching Gordan Ramsay climb cliffs, eat bugs, scuba dive, splash water in a child’s face, and maybe ride a motorcycle, then get teased by people whose food he’s bastardized sounds like a pretty good time. Ramsay even declares himself the “pink man from Great Britain,” which is pretty self-aware given the show’s early controversy and more recent accusations of cultural appropriation or insensitivity.
“I’ve learned more in the last week than I’ve learned in 10 years,” Ramsay says in the trailer. In that one sentence, he reflects the exact sort of open-mindedness that travel TV needs more of. Because Gordon Ramsey trying to make tacos better than the lady on the street corner in Mexico City sounds clumsy, but Gordon Ramsay sharing food as part of cultural exchange while teasing himself in the process might just be a hit.
Gordon Ramsay: Uncharted will premiere on July 21st at 10 p.m. on National Geographic.