Gordon's Great Escape: A Culinary Adventure Worth Watching
Amongst many of the literally hundreds of reality TV shows produced today, food and travel is one of the most successful. From street food to world class restaurants, well known figures like Anthony Bourdain travel around the globe to show us the world’s edible offerings. When he’s not getting pinned under ATVs, Anthony’s show is a good watch but strongly rivaled by an arguably better adventure food series, Gordon’s Great Escape by Gordon Ramsay.
Inspired by the 1963 classic film The Great Escape featuring Hollywood star and motorcycle racer Steve McQueen and his barbed wire jumping antics, how can Gordon follow suit? While Gordon’s stunts and competitive streak may be different from Steve’s , Gordon’s Great Escape took plenty of risks and is one of the best food travel shows produced to date.
Although not as heavily publicized in North America as his myriad of other successful productions (Master Chef Junior is a personal favorite), this food travelogue shows a decidedly different side of his personality and is a humble departure from the brash attitude he’s well known for.
Aside from dealing with many dilemmas overland travelers would relate to, the fact is nobody gets more down and dirty than Gordon in his pursuit of culinary knowledge. This seven part series started in 2010 and covers the foods of India in season one, then on to Cambodia, Vietnam, Malaysia and Thailand in season two. Gordon’s Great Escape is a must watch, not only for the meats and treats, but as a constant lesson in humility and some very basic rules of international travel we should all know before setting out.
Trying to learn what’s at the heart of a culture’s scrumptious secrets in only a few days at a time is no easy task. From racing water buffalo, to eating ant eggs or catching squid in the middle of the ocean on a floating wicker basket, Gordon proves he’s pretty much down for everything and not afraid to make a fool out of himself. Being respectful of locals, having a sense of humor and trying local lifestyles goes a long way towards quickly establishing the bonds we need to survive on the road and, in this case, glean a better understanding of the food itself. This would be true for other pursuits as well, such as business, photography or any other creative art.
Another important, but often overlooked aspect of adventure travel is to have a purpose for your trip. I’ve heard people say they’d rather be “free wheeling” or unrestricted by plans, but some structure is good for, if nothing else, holding on to your sanity. There will be plenty of “going with the flow” on any adventure, but having a reason to be somewhere, learn something or meet someone, has always made my travels more interesting...not to mention often safer and cheaper.
Much of what happens on the show is borderline unbelievable and does from time to time involve motorcycles antics, albeit without catching air over barbed wire. You would need to see it for yourself to understand why this is a short but uniquely impactful and entertaining series. Thankfully, Gordon’s Great Escape is not hard to find and can be found on Amazon for two dollars in clean SD, or even on YouTube in lower definition for free. Either route you choose, you’ll be sure to end up with some amazingly appealing food for both the eyes and stomach. The only question is, where to next?
If you’re in the mood for some armchair travel now that it’s getting cold, give it a watch and let us know what you think in the comments!