When celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay's new NatGeo cooking competition series Uncharted was announced in June shortly after the death of Anthony Bourdain, Ramsay was hit with a wave of backlash accusing him of colonialism and cultural appropriation. The press release for the forthcoming show, in which Ramsay is slated to travel to different locations and compete against local chefs to see who can cook a better version of a regional dish, was criticized by the Washington Post as a "colonial mess" that wouldn't treat other cultures with the respect the late travel show host and chef Bourdain did.
Now, in an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Ramsay has finally responded to the criticism in typically Ramsay-an fashion. He says he can't wait to make armchair critics — who haven't even seen the show yet — eat their words. "God, the feeble warriors that sit in their dungeons and spout negativity without understanding what we're doing," Ramsay said. "I've been doing assertive, combustial shows since 2006 since I started The F Word — whether it's diving for giant crab or hanging off a 500-meter cliff chasing puffins. So I've been on that level of exploration and understand those cultures. I'm a chef that needs to get motivated by understanding different cultures. I helicoptered into Nagaland 50 kilometers from the Burmese border in Northern India and cooked at a wedding. And in order to get accepted into the wedding, I had to buy a f---ing buffalo. That was 12 years ago."
"Tony Bourdain was a great mate of mine," Ramsay continued. "We were on the red carpet together last year at the Emmys. I think he'd be happy and impressed at [Uncharted's] level of jeopardy and jumping into these [places] — Brazil, Peru, Alaska — and sourcing incredible ingredients and then highlighting some of the best [culinary] talent that hasn't been noticed yet. It's a dream come true. Judge [Uncharted] when you see it. The research going into [the show] is extraordinary. We're [airing in] half a billion homes, 177 countries, in 43 different languages. And I can't wait to make all those bitter, twisted, little, boring truckers who aren't busy enough in their lives eat their words."
The Post is right: Gordon Ramsay is no Anthony Bourdain. We'll see what happens when Uncharted premieres in 2019.