That could explain why he’s filmed three series of Gordon Ramsay: Uncharted on National Geographic, giving him the opportunity to explore different experiences and dishes from all over the globe.
From snacking on alpaca meat 11,000 feet above sea level in the Peruvian Andes, to eating fish curry in Kerala, south India, Ramsay, 56, has been on a culinary tour of the world.
“I always love to get out of the kitchen and get my hands dirty,” he says. “It gives me time to embed into local food communities and get inspired.”
In the series, Ramsay switches positions – in many of his previous shows, he’s the teacher, but he’s very much the student in Uncharted. He says this “definitely made me more humble, especially when the locals don’t love my dishes”, but ultimately “experience helps me become a better chef”.
Now, the chef is releasing a cookbook-meets-travelogue as an accompaniment to the TV show, with the recipes reflecting the diversity of his travels.
Dishes include spicy grilled lobster with coconut and breadfruit from Hawaii, chicken pepper pot from the jungles of Guyana, New Orleans-style BBQ shrimp and spice-rubbed steaks with pele pele sauce from South Africa.
Coffee-spiced pork shoulder with sweet potato and yuca
For the coffee-spiced pork shoulder:
2tsp ground cumin
2tsp sweet paprika
1tbsp kosher salt
1tbsp finely ground coffee
1tbsp granulated sugar
¼tsp chili flakes, or more to taste
2tsp annotto seeds, finely ground (if you can’t find annatto seeds, you can substitute with 2tsp achiote paste)
½ boneless pork shoulder (about 1.3kg)
Extra-virgin olive oil
For the sweet potato and yuca:
1 red onion, diced into 1.3cm pieces
1 star anise
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 sweet potato, peeled and diced into 1.3cm pieces
1 yuca, peeled and diced into 1.3cm pieces
1 cup dark rum
3-4 cups chicken stock
1. Prepare the pork shoulder: In a small bowl, combine the cumin, paprika, salt, coffee, sugar, chili flakes, and annatto.
2. Season the pork shoulder with the rub, rubbing it in with your hands to coat evenly. Set the pork shoulder aside to marinate at room temperature for at least 30 minutes.
3. Heat a large Dutch oven over high heat and drizzle the pork with olive oil. Place the pork shoulder in the pot and sear on all sides until caramelised and golden brown. Remove the pork from the pot and set aside.
4. Make the sweet potato and yuca: To the pot, add the onion, star anise, and garlic. Season with salt. Cook until all the ingredients begin to caramelise and the anise is aromatic, about seven to 10 minutes. Add the sweet potato and yuca and saute for five minutes longer, until they start to brown. Add the rum to deglaze the pot, scraping the bottom with a wooden spoon to release all of the brown bits. Simmer until the rum is reduced by half.
5. Finish the pork shoulder: Return the pork to the pot and pour in the chicken stock, making sure the stock comes halfway up the side of the pork, adding more liquid if needed. Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce to a simmer, cooking for about two hours or until the pork easily breaks apart with a fork. Remove the vegetables with a slotted spoon.
6. Once the pork is tender, remove it from the pot and set it on a large plate or cutting board. Pull the pork into large pieces using two forks.
7. Reduce the cooking liquid that remains in the pot by half until slightly thickened.
8. To serve, plate the pork and vegetables on a serving platter and drizzle cooking liquid over top.
Chicken andouille gumbo with rice
For the braised chicken:
4 boneless, skin-on chicken breasts
4 bone-in, skin-on chicken legs, thighs attached
1tsp freshly ground black pepper
2½tsp kosher salt, divided
2tbsp grapeseed oil
4 garlic cloves, crushed
3 celery stalks, diced
2 yellow onions, diced
8 cups chicken stock
3 sprigs thyme
3 spring onions, trimmed and chopped
1 lemon, cut in half, seeds removed
For the gumbo base:
227g andouille sausage, cut into 1.3cm-thick slices
108g unsalted butter
125g all-purpose flour
2 celery stalks, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 red bell pepper, finely diced
1 green bell pepper, finely diced
1 yellow onion, finely diced
1tsp kosher salt
1tsp cayenne pepper
½tsp freshly ground black pepper
2tbsp hot sauce
For the rice:
341g white rice
2 sprigs thyme, picked
2tsp kosher salt
1. Make the braised chicken: Season the chicken with the pepper and two teaspoons of the salt. In a large pot over medium heat, add the oil. Once the oil is shimmering, sear the chicken on all sides until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Be careful not to overcrowd the pan, and work in batches if necessary.
2. Remove the chicken from the pan and add the garlic, celery, and onions. Cook in the chicken fat until the vegetables begin to caramelise. Season with the remaining salt.
3. Add the chicken back to the pot and cover with the chicken stock. Add the thyme, scallions, and lemon halves and bring to a simmer. Continue cooking on a low heat until the chicken is tender and can easily be pulled apart, about one hour.
4. Remove the chicken from the stock and shred the meat from the bones. Cover the chicken and refrigerate until ready to use. Strain and reserve the chicken stock and discard the vegetables and thyme.
5. Make the gumbo base: In another large pot over a medium heat, add the andouille sausage and cook until the fat has rendered and the sausage has crisped.
6. Use a slotted spoon to remove the sausage from the pot and set aside on a paper towel–lined plate.
7. To the fat in the pot, add the butter. Once the butter is completely melted, add the flour and mix until a thick paste forms to make a roux. Reduce the heat to medium-low and continue cooking, stirring constantly until the roux has turned a very deep brown, about 30 to 45 minutes.
8. Add the celery, garlic, bell peppers, and onion. Continue cooking until the vegetables are softened, about five minutes. Season with the salt, cayenne, and black pepper.
9. Add the reserved chicken stock and the hot sauce and bring to a simmer. Continue cooking on low until the gumbo base has thickened, about 30 minutes.
10. Make the rice: In a medium pot over a medium heat, add the rice, water, thyme and salt and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce to a simmer. Cook until all the moisture has evaporated, about 20 minutes. Fluff the rice with a fork just before serving.
11. Add the pulled chicken and andouille sausage to the gumbo and serve with the rice.
Burnt sugar steamed pudding
(Makes 2 loaves)
67g, plus 250g granulated sugar
237ml boiling water
303g all-purpose flour
2tsp ground mixed spice or pumpkin pie spice
1tsp baking soda
¼tsp kosher salt
216g unsalted butter, chilled and cubed
3 large eggs, beaten
1. Preheat your oven to 149°C.
2. Fill a roasting pan with two-and-a-half centimetres of water and place in the center of the oven to heat. Lightly coat two one-pound loaf pans with nonstick spray.
3. In a medium heavy-bottom saucepan over medium heat, add 67 grams sugar and cook, stirring gently and constantly, until it completely melts and turns a deep amber color, about 10 minutes.
4. Remove the saucepan from the heat and carefully pour in the boiling water. Stir the mixture until it thickens and becomes a syrup. Set aside.
5. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, 250 grams sugar, mixed spice, baking soda, and salt. Add the butter and use your fingertips to press the dry ingredients into the butter. Continue pressing and mixing until the mixture resembles coarse sand. Add the eggs and stir with a wooden spoon to combine.
6. Slowly add syrup to the pudding mixture and continue stirring until a thick batter forms. Divide the batter between the two prepared loaf pans and cover each with aluminum foil.
7. Place the loaf pans in the roasting pan with water in the oven and cook for about two hours, until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the loaves comes out clean.
8. Remove the pudding from the pan and let cool on a rack.
9. To serve, cut into individual slices and serve warm or at room temperature.
Gordon Ramsay’s Uncharted: A Culinary Adventure With 60 Recipes From Around The Globe, is published by National Geographic.