When Sunday’s Gordon Ramsay: Uncharted opens with Chef Ramsay jumping out of a helicopter, you know it’s going to be a good episode.
“South Africa” takes Gordon to another new destination while keeping up the show’s adventure-esque feel. After he survives the plunge (watch for him mouthing “what the fuck?” at the camera when he realizes it’s not a joke), it the remainder of the first act is him going from one potentially life-threatening experience to another. Anthony Bourdain would be proud.
But annoyed hippos aside, the episode is visually stunning and one of the more informative hours of the series. For example, audiences probably didn’t know that the KwaZulu-Natal region of South Africa boasts the largest Indian population outside of India. And naturally, that then has an influence on their cooking. It’s another example of how food truly is a global experience.
Once Gordon survives nature, he ventures into the more urban areas as well. There’s a hilarious scene where he discovers a spice blend hilariously named the “mother-in-law exterminator” and we’ll let you figure out why. There’s a good juxtaposition in “South Africa” between showing us the wilderness and the city.
The guest chef in this episode is Zola Nene, who’s one of the best experts ever to be featured on Gordon Ramsay: Uncharted. Perhaps it’s because she’s a celebrity chef and TV personality in her own right, but she’s perfect on camera; she’s got fantastic energy, explains everything that Gordon (and viewers) need to know easily, and immediately strikes up a rapport. NatGeo or somebody needs to find a way to get her on American TV more often.
This is an episode where the usually unflappable Gordon Ramsay spends most of it a little thrown off, and that makes it worth the watch alone. For someone of his composure and experience to be surprised, inspired, and a little scared is intriguing. But it’s also an installment that genuinely makes the audience want to visit South Africa, and that’s the best thing you can say about a series like this.
Gordon Ramsay: Uncharted airs Sundays at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT on National Geographic.