SA chef to tutor Gordon Ramsay on traditional cuisine

South African chef Zola Nene shares some local culinary tricks with British chef Gordon Ramsay on an episode of his show ‘Gordon Ramsay: Uncharted’
ON THE WILD SIDE: South African chef Zola Nene shares some local culinary tricks with British chef Gordon Ramsay on an episode of his show ‘Gordon Ramsay: Uncharted’
Image: Supplied

South African culinary culture will be in the spotlight as multi award-winning chef Zola Nene joins British celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay on the new season of his culinary adventure show, Gordon Ramsay: Uncharted.

The season premieres on National Geographic on August 26 with Ramsay visiting Nene’s birth province of KwaZulu-Natal, where he gets up close with the province’s wild side, learns the secrets of the traditional cuisine of Zulu warriors and joins the local chef in the kitchen.

In Ramsay’s quest for culinary inspiration, Nene lets him in on some proudly South African dishes, including the famous chakalaka. The two chefs also cook a special meal for a revered Zulu chief.

“It was amazing to have the opportunity to introduce Gordon to the beauty of my birth province as well as a bit of insight into Zulu food culture.

“I loved that he was so eager to learn and try any and everything,” Nene said.

Nene was approached by the National Geographic team months in advance to feature on the show alongside other locals and share their insight into Zulu culture.

“Every step of the process was so incredible. The way that they are so adamant about respecting the culture and traditions was really so amazing to witness.

“The way that they research and cross-reference any facts is an amazing part of production that I don’t always get to experience, but definitely got to be a part of in this production,” Nene said.

The chef said they cooked various dishes, guided by the chief’s preferences and some of her favourites that resonate with her childhood.

“I focused on sharing some of the dishes that played a part in my Zulu upbringing and were authentic to my experience of Zulu food culture growing up,” she said.

Gordon Ramsay: Uncharted debuted last year, taking viewers on an exhilarating journey across the world, seeking inspiration by exploring the culture, history and culinary customs of various regions of the globe in each episode.

In the second season, Ramsay kicks off his journey in KwaZulu-Natal before heading to Indonesia, Louisiana, Norway, India, Tasmania and Guyana.

“We are exploring seven new regions this season, each with vastly different culinary customs and history.

“We get the opportunity to learn from the locals and hear their stories, and that gives us a much deeper experience and understanding of the world around us,” Ramsay said.

Guided by local experts and legends he meets along the way, Ramsay partakes in culinary customs and learns about delicious delicacies and fresh flavours unique to each region.

Every ingredient he harvests, dish he tastes and person he meets will inspire him to create a recipe from scratch, intended to represent the heart of that culture.

Each episode concludes with Ramsay challenging himself during a final big cookout with a local food legend by his side, as they prepare a meal together for locals he met during his journey.

In the new season, Ramsay journeys deep into the landscape of each place he visits, scaling mountains, battling 3m waves, braving frigid temperatures and bushwhacking his way through the back country to forage for some of the finest ingredients in the world.

From swimming in great white shark-infested waters to participating in a traditional bull run, Ramsay risks life and limb in his biggest and boldest missions yet in order to achieve edible excellence.

Some of the adventures — culinary and otherwise — Ramsay experiences in the second season include leaping from a helicopter into high waves to harvest mussels along the SA coast.

Gordon Ramsay: Uncharted premieres at 9pm on August 26, National Geographic (DStv channel 181).

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