Like many chefs, Gordon Ramsay is always down to try new foods. On the July 21st premiere of his National Geographic Show, "Uncharted," he travels to Peru where he tries an array of local delicacies, including roast guinea pig.
"You do not know what you're missing," Ramsay said, after tasting a loin cut of guinea pig meat. "I am telling you now, delicious."
Gordon Ramsay out and about
Gordon Ramsay out and about
LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 21: Gordon Ramsay seen at the ITV Studios on March 21, 2017 in London, England. (Photo by HGL/GC Images)
WEST HOLLYWOOD, CA - FEBRUARY 26: Gordon Ramsay (R) and daughter Holly Ramsay attend the 25th annual Elton John AIDS Foundation's Oscar Viewing Party at The City of West Hollywood Park on February 26, 2017 in West Hollywood, California. (Photo by Maury Phillips/WireImage)
HOUSTON, TX - FEBRUARY 04: Chef Gordon Ramsay at the Rolling Stone Live: Houston presented by Budweiser and Mercedes-Benz on February 4, 2017 in Houston, Texas. Produced in partnership with Talent Resources Sports. (Photo by Gustavo Caballero/Getty Images for Rolling Stone)
NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 03: Celebrity Chef Gordon Ramsay (L) and moderator Ricky Camilleri attend the Build Series to discuss 'MasterClass: Gordon Ramsay Teaches Cooking' at Build Studio on February 3, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Ben Gabbe/Getty Images)
THE TONIGHT SHOW STARRING JIMMY FALLON -- Episode 0617 -- Pictured: (l-r) Chef Gordon Ramsay during an interview with host Jimmy Fallon on February 3, 2017 -- (Photo by: Andrew Lipovsky/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 19: Gordon Ramsay poses for a photo prior to signing copies of his new book 'Bread Street Kitchen' at Selfridges on December 19, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Tim P. Whitby/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 19: Gordon Ramsay and wife Tana attend the Global Gift Gala in partnership with Quintessentially on November 19, 2016 at the Corithinia Hotel in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Karwai Tang/WireImage)
LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 28: Celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay arrives at the Los Angeles' No Kid Hungry Dinner on September 28, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Steve Granitz/WireImage)
LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 25: Gordon Ramsay is seen at 'Jimmy Kimmel Live' on October 25, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by RB/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - AUGUST 08: Chef Gordon Ramsay (R) and wife Tana Ramsay attend the FOX Summer TCA Press Tour on August 8, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 22: Chef Gordon Ramsay is seen on June 22, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Patricia Schlein/Star Max/GC Images)
INGLEWOOD, CA - JULY 31: (L-R) Tana Ramsay, Megan Ramsay, chef Gordon Ramsay, and Holly Ramsay arrives at the Teen Choice Awards 2016 at The Forum on July 31, 2016 in Inglewood, California. (Photo by Steve Granitz/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 22: Chef Gordon Ramsay attends AOL Build to discuss his MasterChef Mobile Game at AOL Studios on June 22, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Daniel Zuchnik/WireImage)
NAPA, CA - MAY 27: Gordon Ramsay attends the 4th Annual BottleRock Napa Music, Food, Wine Festival on Day 1 at Napa Valley Expo on May 28, 2016 in Napa, California. (Photo by Steve Jennings/WireImage)
LAS VEGAS, NV - APRIL 29: Gordon Ramsay on the Red Carpet at Vegas Uncork'd by Bon Appetit presented by Chase Sapphire Preferred 10th anniversary Grand Tasting at Caesars Palace on April 29, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by David Becker/Getty Images for Vegas Uncork'd by Bon Appetit)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 16: Gordon Ramsay attends FOX 2016 Upfront Arrivals at Wollman Rink, Central Park on May 16, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images)
MASTERCHEF: JUNIOR EDITION: L-R: Gordon Ramsay and Christina Tosi in the all-new Junior Edition: Quest for the Apron, Pt. 2 episode of MASTERCHEF airing Thursday, Feb. 16 (8:00-9:01 PM ET/PT) on FOX. (Photo by FOX via Getty Images)
WEST HOLLYWOOD, CA - FEBRUARY 28: Chef Gordon Ramsay attends the 24th annual Elton John AIDS Foundation's Oscar viewing party on February 28, 2016 in West Hollywood, California. (Photo by Jason LaVeris/Getty Images)
JIMMY KIMMEL LIVE - 'Jimmy Kimmel Live' airs every weeknight at 11:35 p.m. EST and features a diverse lineup of guests that include celebrities, athletes, musical acts, comedians and human interest subjects, along with comedy bits and a house band. The guests for Wednesday, February 24 included chef Gordon Ramsay ('Hell's Kitchen'), actress Jurnee Smollett-Bell ('Underground') and musical guest Wolfmother. (Photo by Randy Holmes/ABC via Getty Images)
GORDON RAMSAY, JIMMY KIMMEL
LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 24: Gordon Ramsay is seen at 'Jimmy Kimmel Live!' on February 24, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by gotpap/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images)
MASTERCHEF: Host / Chef Gordon Ramsay in the all-new Vets, Jets and Home Cooks episode of MASTERCHEF airing Wednesday, July 13 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. (Photo by FOX via Getty Images)
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While guinea pigs are primarily kept as beloved pets in the U.S., in Peru, they're a common source of food, especially in the Andes Mountains. Guinea pigs belong to the rodent family (they're related to chinchillas and porcupines), but eating them in Peru is as normal as eating pork and according to Ramsey, tastes "pretty good, like a suckling pig."
Ramsay assured viewers that as good as he thought they tasted, he won't be serving the meat back in the States anytime soon. "I can't feature roasted guinea pig on my menus here in the U.S. I would be taken down," he said.
According to The Telegraph, the Scottish chef confessed that the six-part series tested his palate and pushed his boundaries when meeting with community food experts to try the local cuisine.
Of course, fans and foodies alike have made the comparison: "Uncharted" seems eerily similar to the late Anthony Bourdain's hit show, "Parts Unknown," which appeared on CNN from 2013 to 2018. Ramsay admitted to Deadline that he received "a lot of flack" for it, but said that he has been doing these types of shows, rooted in discovering new cultures, for just as long as Bourdain.
"Judge [this] program with integrity. I totally respect what he did and how he did it, but this journey began in 2004, discovering India, Vietnam and Cambodia and literally getting away from the three Michelin star setup with 25 chefs, what’s it like to be at the coal face,” Ramsay told Deadline. “That’s what this is all about.”
The best lessons Anthony Bourdain taught us about food
The best lessons Anthony Bourdain taught us about food
When it comes to food, looks aren't everything
Sure, he’s eaten at some of the world’s finest restaurants, where plating is everything (one of his top spots was Per Se in New York—tapioca “sabayon” with oysters and caviar, anyone?), but Anthony Bourdain was no snob when it came to appearance. As he toldFood & Wine, “some of the most inherently delicious food has been pickled, butchered, braised, stewed, and/or charred in a way that maximizes flavor, visual appeal be damned.”
Don't be afraid to try something new
“Good food and good eating are about risk,” Bourdain wrote in his bestseller Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly. Through his TV travel adventures, the chef has eaten everything from a beating cobra heart to a raw seal eyeball, which he claimed were similar to an oyster and “not bad,” respectively. For viewers at home, the take-home message is: You won’t know if you don’t try. While raw organs aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, Bourdain encourages fans to open their minds to new foodie experiences—but you can always start with switching up the cheese on your turkey sandwich.
Never order fish on Mondays -- until now
Even before writing Kitchen Confidential, Bourdain shocked the world with his breakout 1999 New Yorker essay revealing behind-the-scenes trade secrets from chefs. One of his most surprising: Seafood dishes usually aren’t very fresh on Mondays, when the fish is usually leftovers ordered for the weekend crowd. Restaurant goers followed the advice for years, but fast-forward 17 years and Bourdain changed his tune. “It's almost two decades later. Things have changed,” he told Business Insider, lamenting on the fact that it's still one of his most often-quoted tips. These are other foods chefs never order in restaurants.
Typical "foodie" destinations don't have the only great eats
Rome? Been there. Paris? Done that. With his CNN show Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown the chef sampled local cuisine off the beaten path, bringing overlooked cities and countries to the public eye. Vicariously joining the chef on his journeys, viewers got to experience the cultures of Trinidad, Tanzania, Borneo, and countless others.
How to spot the best local eats
Tourists always want to feel in-the-know about the best a city has to offer—but Bourdain knew not to just scan Yelp and call it a day. He told Bon Appétit to keep an eye out for long lines and non-touristy signs. “If a place is crowded, but the people lining up are not local, that’s a clue—a bad clue,” he said. “If it doesn’t have signs in English, it’s almost always worth investigating. I look to see if locals are willing to inconvenience themselves and wait in line for a long time to get something that only costs $1.50, especially if it’s a mixed bag of different incomes.” Don't miss these other 24 things restaurant owners wish they could tell you.
Get cozy with the locals
Restaurant food might seem like the safer bet in foreign countries, but Bourdain wouldn’t shy away from a home cooked meal for a more authentic experience. “Generally speaking, there are countries where total strangers will invite you into their homes,” he told Bon Appétit. “In Tehran, just by virtue of being an American, you will probably be invited to dinner. I’d say, just be open. Don’t be afraid.”
"Cheap, good food" isn't a paradox
One of Bourdain’s top spots was a hot dog joint of all places. At now-closed Hot Doug’s in Chicago, surprisingly affordable foie gras dogs were served up in paper trays. “It's proof that food doesn't have to be expensive to be great,” Bourdain said about it in Men’s Health.
Quit demonizing butter
The health-conscious side of you might gasp in horror at a butter-soaked meal, but Bourdain unapologetically proclaimed you’ll find almost a full stick worth of butter in the best restaurant meals. “In the world of chefs … butter is in everything,” he wrote. Unless you want to give up pasta (yes, the noodles themselves), sauces, meat, and fish, you’ll have to give in to the fact that you’ll be consuming a whole lot of butter. Check out 57 more secrets restaurant servers won't tell you.
Fresh is worth the extra effort
Bourdain was all about going fresh well before farm-to-table became a craze. In Kitchen Confidential, he scorned the idea of using jarred garlic in place of fresh cloves. “Avoid at all costs that vile spew you see rotting in oil in screwtop jars. Too lazy to peel fresh? You don't deserve to eat garlic,” he wrote. Some shortcuts just aren't worth it.
Brunch isn't a real meal
Brunch might be a good excuse to day drink with mimosas, but Bourdain would not have been impressed with avocado toast. “[Dedicated cooks] despise hollandaise, home fries, those pathetic fruit garnishes, and all the other cliché accompaniments designed to induce a credulous public into paying $12.95 for two eggs,” he wrote in The New Yorker. “You can dress brunch up with all the focaccia, smoked salmon, and caviar in the world, but it’s still breakfast.” Don't miss these 10 things chefs never, ever order at brunch.
No amount of restaurant food can replace home cooking
Not everyone will grow up to be a culinary genius like Bourdain, but he did wish young adults would stop relying on takeout and instant ramen. “I do think the idea that basic cooking skills are a virtue, that the ability to feed yourself and a few others with proficiency should be taught to every young man and woman as a fundamental skill, should become as vital to growing up as learning to wipe one’s own [butt], cross the street by oneself, or be trusted with money,” he wrote in Medium Raw.
It's not all about what's on your plate
Not only did Bourdain have a deep appreciation for good food (to say the least), but he also understood the power of sharing a meal. In Vietnam and Mexico, for instance, the amount of time it takes just to pull a meal together is a strong bonding experience in and of itself, he wrote in A Cook’s Tour. “Meals make the society, hold the fabric together in lots of ways that were charming and interesting and intoxicating to me,” he wrote. “The perfect meal, or the best meals, occur in a context that frequently has very little to do with the food itself.”
Keep it simple
There’s something exciting about tasting exotic ingredients or a creative take on classic dishes, but Bourdain never claimed that food needs to be complex be worth eating. “Good food is very often, even most often, simple food,” he wrote in Kitchen Confidential. Learn the 8 things celebrity chefs look for in a restaurant.