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Gordon Ramsay on ‘Uncharted’ Season 3 and Adventuring During the Pandemic

The world shut down for nearly a year, but a little global pandemic wasn’t enough to stop Gordon Ramsay from adventuring across the globe for his National Geographic series.

“Gordon Ramsay: Uncharted” returns to National Geographic tonight (new episodes will be available for streaming the next day on Disney+) with Season 3, which follows Ramsay as he journeys to various culinary hotspots to learn about different cooking methods and cultures. The latest season of the show follows the celebrity chef as he visits Portugal, Croatia, Mexico, Texas, Maine, Puerto Rico, Iceland, the Smoky Mountains, Michigan, and Finland.

Returning viewers will be immediately at home with the structure of “Uncharted” Season 3. As before, Ramsay teams up with each locale’s chefs, wildlife experts, and others to source various ingredients, learn about local cooking practices, and participate in high-stakes adventuring, which range from hunting rattlesnakes in Texas to scaling the slippery coastal slopes of Portugal.

“Season 3 took me a lot of places I’ve never been before. I loved my time in Portugal and Puerto Rico and enjoyed learning about all the different cultures that make up the Great Smoky mountains,” Ramsay told IndieWire in an email interview. “I said it before but I absolutely fell in love with mole. It’s such an incredible experience to see [it] made. On the other hand, man, I tasted a lot of weird things this season. Top of mind has to be tar in Finland. I don’t think that will be making an appearance on any American menu anytime soon.”

The biggest change in “Uncharted” Season 3 is the return of the end-of-episode cooking competition, a Season 1 fixture downplayed in the show’s sophomore outing. That said, Ramsay’s “Uncharted” persona is still much kinder and humbler than the aggressive and obscenity-laden version of the celebrity chef that became famous thanks to shows like “Hell’s Kitchen.” Ramsay is frequently schooled by the locals he meets throughout “Uncharted” and takes critiques of his attempts to cook their dishes in stride, despite losing a few good-natured bets with the chefs he competes with in the process. Other than that, “Uncharted” Season 3 will be familiar viewing for returning fans — comfort food, if you will. It could also be the perfect antidote for Ramsay diehards stuck indoors for the last year and hungry for a new globetrotting adventure.

Like everything else, Ramsay’s work on “Uncharted” Season 3 was impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. Series showrunner Jon Kroll told reporters last year that the “Uncharted” team was often at the mercy of local airport officials due to the constantly changing rules and regulations regarding the pandemic. The coronavirus isn’t a talking point throughout Season 3 but there are subtle signs that the pandemic impacted the show in certain ways; Ramsay still mingles with the locals he meets, but there are noticeably fewer crowds and trips to bustling marketplaces compared to prior seasons.

“This entire season was produced during the pandemic and I have to give a lot of kudos to the team who had to write the book on how to shoot this show in a pandemic,” Ramsay said. “Before I hit the ground, I know the team had to deal with ever-changing policies that would let a show like ours shoot. I think the only difference was seeing our crew all in masks and a smaller number of contributors to mitigate any risks. Our COVID protocols throughout the shoot were really strong.”

“Uncharted” is still part cooking show, part adventure series, and Ramsay participates in all sorts of wild activities throughout Season 3. Ramsay noted that scaling cliffs in Portugal and diving into Iceland’s frosty waters amounted to some of his most memorable experiences from the show’s latest season.

“Most dangerous was cliffside in Portugal. Being that close to the raging ocean while hanging on to the slippery cliffs for some percebes really raised my adrenaline to 11,” Ramsay said. “Luckily, we have such a great team in place where safety is their number one priority. I didn’t get hurt, but with my size 15 feet, you never know if I’ll slip from a mountain or cliff… (A) wild moment was me keeping it together in Iceland after capturing those beautiful scallops. Viewers won’t be able to see that the frigid water actually broke through my wetsuit seal and I was really cold. But I powered through and the first taste of that scallop was incredible and worth any small shiver.”

“Gordon Ramsay: Uncharted” Season 3 premieres on National Geographic on Monday, May 31 at 9 ET.

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