Gordon’s Great Escapes

Optomen for Channel 5, 2010

Celebrity superchef Gordon Ramsay travelled to Cambodia for the filming of Gordon’s Great Escapes, made by Optomen for Channel 5 in the UK. The first series of Gordon’s Great Escapes saw him travel around the Indian subcontinent and for this new series he visited Cambodia to discover the secrets of Khmer cuisine, plus Vietnam and Malaysia. Hanuman Films provided all production services for this shoot, including filming permissions, line producer, fixing services and general logistical support.

Chef Ramsay was on his best behaviour throughout the Cambodia shoot with barely a cuss or swear word caught on camera. The show started with Chef Ramsay learning how to prepare amoc, the closest recipe Cambodia has to a national dish, a mild baked fish curry made with fish, coconut, lemongrass and chilli. He also travelled to Prek Toal floating village to learn about prahoc, or fermented fish paste, an essential and pungent ingredient in many Cambodian dishes. Finally he learnt how to hunt for frogs using a traditional spear and headlamp and was shown a tasty recipe stuffed with char kreung, a lemongrass-infused paste.

Chef Ramsay’s adventures also took him into the depths of Kompong Thom province to hunt for hairy black tarantulas, one of the more exotic dishes found in Khmer cuisine before continuing to the wild east of Mondulkiri. In the hills of this remote area, he attended a local tribal Bunong wedding, witnessed a buffalo sacrifice and joined locals in traditional honey collecting. Hanuman also arranged for him and his team to stay overnight in tents in this most remote of villages.

The shoot finished with Chef Ramsay learning some new tricks from the culinary students at Friends Restaurant in Phnom Penh which he put to good use in a preparing a royal banquet about the RV Pandaw steamer. Working with locally-renowned chef Luu Meng, Chef Ramsay prepared a traditional menu of Khmer cuisine for celebrated guests including Prince Marie Ranariddh. Cambodia had a big impact on Chef Ramsay and he has contributed to sponsoring one of the Friends culinary students to study at a Ramsay restaurant in London.

Locations: Siem Reap, Temples of Angkor, Kompong Thom, Phnom Penh, Mondulkiri

Talent: Presenter Gordon Ramsay of Hell’s Kitchen and Masterchef fame