Gordon Ramsay is easily one of my all-time favorite celebrity chefs. So when I found out he had recently visited the Great Smoky Mountains – my home turf – as part of his latest show, “Gordon Ramsay: Uncharted”, I couldn’t wait to tune in.
First things first, “Uncharted” is unlike any of Ramsay’s other cooking shows. Instead of being filmed primarily in a kitchen with prepped ingredients, this show goes straight to the source. Each episode features a different location. At each stop along the way, Ramsay meets local chefs, butchers, foragers and fishers. They teach him not only how to cook like a local but also how to actually source the food. In “Uncharted” we get to see Ramsay as we’ve never seen before as he hikes, climbs and dives his way around remote parts of the world in search of the freshest ingredients.
Over the past few seasons of “Uncharted” we’ve watched as Ramsey visits exotic locations in Peru, New Zealand, Hawaii, South Africa, Tasmania, India and Guyana just to name a few. And in season three, episode six (S3E6) we finally get to see Ramsay explore our neck of the woods – The Great Smoky Mountains.
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Where was this episode filmed? Was Gordon Ramsay in Asheville?
Editor’s Note: The following section contains spoilers. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.
This episode, which originally aired July 4, 2021, was largely filmed on the North Carolina side of the Smokies near Asheville. This is essentially where the Smokies blend into the Blue Ridge Mountains. The episode starts off with a dramatic scene as we watch Ramsay rappel off the side of a waterfall where he meets fellow Chef William Dissen. Dissen is an award-winning chef and owner of The Market Place in Asheville.
Dissen challenges Ramsey to a cookoff while the pair show off their fly fishing skills (or lack thereof) in a lake at the base of a giant waterfall. If Ramsay proves to be the winner, Dissen agrees to hand over the keys to his Jeep. If Dissen wins, Ramsay agrees to fly him and his family out to London first class. And just like that, the scene is set and our journey begins.
Local experts, chefs and dishes featured on the Great Smoky Mountains episode
Ramsay makes a few pitstops as he prepares for the big cookoff. He kayaks with hand paddles down river rapids to catch crayfish (also known as crawfish) in homemade traps with Chef Keith. He also forages for mushrooms with expert forager, Alan Muskat.
And then comes my personal favorite segment – watching Ramsay learn how to make moonshine the old-fashioned way from the owner of Howling Moon Distillery, Cody Bradford, and his father, Derrick. Howling Moon Distillery is based in Asheville, NC. If Howling Moon Distillery sounds familiar – there’s a reason. This isn’t their television debut. They were also featured in an episode of “Ride with Norman Reedus” back in 2016 on AMC. That’s a distillery with an impressive knack for public relations if I’ve ever seen one.
Ramsay has a swig of 100-proof shine – otherwise known in these parts as white lightnin’. Seconds later he does a spit fake and exclaims “I feel like a flamethrower!” He does however take a shine (moonshine joke) to the apple pie-flavored variety.
Next, he meets up with Matt Helms from The Chop Shop Butchery (also located in Asheville, NC) who teaches Ramsey how to make livermush. Side note – I grew up on the Tennessee side of the Smokies and have to admit I’ve never heard of livermush. I’m guessing it’s mostly a North Carolina thing. Livermush is compromised of pork shoulder, liver and pigs feet. The ingredients are combined with cornmeal to create a patty-like texture before it’s slapped on a fluffy breakfast biscuit.
Ramsay’s final stop was the Cherokee Indian Reservation inside the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. He then meets up with Malea who teaches him how to make Hominy – a traditional Cherokee Indian dish.
The final cookoff menu items
At the end of the episode, Ramsay and Dissen meet back up to prepare two southern dishes for the experts and guests who appeared throughout the course of the episode. The guests serve as the final judges in this friendly cooking competition. Gordon’s final menu included:
- Livermush on a “scone” (aka a crispy biscuit) with pickled onions and fried quails egg
- Hand foraged mushrooms
- Hominy with smoked ham
- Crayfish finished with apple pie moonshine
Dissen’s final menu included:
- Sunburst rainbow trout
- Griddle cakes
- Crayfish with sour corn and country ham relish
- Wild mushrooms with gratin
Ultimately, Dissen, the local favorite, wins the competition. That’ll teach ya not to make our fluffy Southern biscuits crispy Ramsay … don’t say you weren’t warned about that. But we love you anyway.
Where to watch Gordon Ramsay Uncharted: The Great Smoky Mountains
You can watch a free behind-the-scenes clip from Gordon Ramsay’s “Unchartered: The Great Smoky Mountains” in the embedded video below courtesy of Gordon Ramsay himself.
The full episode is available now on Hulu (with live TV add-on) and Disney+. You may also be able to catch the occasional rerun on National Geographic. Check your local listings.
Did you catch The Great Smoky Mountains episode of “Uncharted”? What did you think? Let us know in the comments below.