A few months back, while having dinner at a seaside restaurant in the Athenian suburb of Vouliagmeni, I was stunned to find myself gazing over my plate at acclaimed culinary figures and TV personalities Gordon Ramsay, Gino D’Acampo and Fred Sirieix, having what looked like a great time. When Gordon got up to thank the chef, I remember feeling confused. The short-tempered Ramsay (known for making comments like “This lamb is so undercooked it’s following Mary to school”) didn’t swear at the chef ferociously, but merely thanked him with a big smile and an open heart.
The new series following ITV’s food and travel show “Gordon, Gino and Fred’s Road Trip” offers foodie viewers a refreshing change of scenery as it departs from the often-featured UK and US-based settings and heads into the heartwarming landscapes of Greece.
In spite of the season’s relative brevity, “Gordon Gino and Fred Go Greek” leaves a memorable trail of fun moments and valuable insights in its wake. It sets off as an island-hopping tour of the popular sun-soaked isles of Crete, Mykonos and Santorini.
From there, the show moves north, exposing some lesser-known wellsprings of delicious heritage across the country’s mainland. The traveling chefs finally reach Meteora in Central Greece, where they join local nuns in their daily beekeeping and other mouth-watering foraging activities. It is there, among the monasteries perched atop the towers of rock that adorn the mystical landscape that the three friends conclude their culinary odyssey, the last episode of which was aired on Monday.
Greece is home to one of the world’s five Blue Zones (the places with the most centenarians on the planet); the longevity of the people of Ikaria is considered to have a lot to do with the local diet, which has been revered for its health and simplicity and yet rarely ever stands in the public spotlight so often occupied by more flamboyant cuisines. Superstar chef Gordon Ramsay recognizes this when he announces that “Greece never gets the look-in that France has or the Italians”. “Honestly,” he adds, “I think Greek cuisine is better than Italian cuisine.”