Legendary chef William Wongso is the expert in Sunday’s new Gordon Ramsay: Uncharted, where NatGeo sends Gordon Ramsay to Indonesia. Chef Wongso is an icon in Indonesian cuisine, with multiple successful restaurants, and one of the only people on the planet who makes Chef Ramsay feel intimidated!
Chef Wongso took some time to speak with me about his Gordon Ramsay: Uncharted season 2 appearance, including his opinion of Gordon and what TV viewers need to know about Indonesian food. Get to know more about that and about William Wongso in our interview, then watch the “Indonesia” episode of Gordon Ramsay: Uncharted at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT tomorrow on NatGeo!
“I’m honored to be a part of Uncharted season 2 with Gordon Ramsay,” Chef Wongso told me. “It was an exciting experience to work with the National Geographic team, especially the executive producer Jon Kroll and the director Neil DeGroot.”
He explained that the Indonesian culinary culture “has long been neglected and we take the food culture for granted. Indonesia has the most diverse culinary tradition due to [the] geography – 17,000 islands, 34 provinces [and] villages, culture, religion, economy and local wisdom.”
This episode of Uncharted aims to change that, though, with Chef Wongso cooking a number of impressive dishes. Why did he choose the menu that he did for this episode?
“Western Sumatran caramelized beef curry, rendang, is known all over Indonesia,” he said. “In Western Sumatra, there are at least 200 versions and every home has its own style. Rendang has been voted World’s Tastiest Dish by CNN two times!”
Chef Wongso has his own TV series, Cooking Adventures with William Wongso, on the Indonesian channel MetroTV. As such, working with Chef Ramsay on Uncharted was an easy segue for him. “Because of my previous experience,” he said, “and having my team by my side, it was easy to adapt.”
He also spoke very highly of Chef Ramsay. “Gordon Ramsay is good-hearted, spontaneous, hilarious, and willing to learn the aspects of indigenous cooking,” he told me. “He is a good learner and pays respect to local food traditions.”
Like Chef Ramsay, Chef Wongso has built a lengthy resume of success in a wide variety of ways, whether it’s on television or in his restaurants. “The most important is passion and willingness to learn,” he replied when I asked if there’s one quality that enabled him to be so successful. “Learn from the best by starting locally – the village, the street, and the high-profile eateries.
“I’m inspired by a lot of consistent indigenous and street food warriors who are very persistent to sustain the business and culture,” Chef Wongso reflected. “The world is full of diversity and unique culinary cultures.”
Gordon Ramsay: Uncharted airs Sundays at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT on National Geographic.