The never-ending adventures of a travel writer in Vietnam, Cambodia, New Zealand and throughout the Asia-Pacific region.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

My role in Gordon Ramsey's new show “Gordon’s Great Escape: Vietnam”

Aboard the wooden fishing boat in Phan Thiet Harbor

While I was in the USA for a short holiday, the producer of Celebrity Chef Gordon Ramsay’s  new travel show, “Gordon’s Great Escape” called me. They said that they’d been reading my (this blog) and hoped that I could help them with some suggestions for the show. My role in pre-production for the episode would eventually include consulting remotely for various scenes around the country, as well as some location scouting and talent scouting in Phan Thiet.

The first season of Gordon’s Great Escape took place in India (in England, apparently a season can span just a few episodes). This second season would include Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam and Malaysia. The series is sort of a travel/adventure program, that pits Gordon in physically challenging activities and otherwise manly exotic action… (giggle). While the series brings Gordon to fairly standard localities in each country, I was impressed by the uniqueness and rigorousness of some of the situations they wanted to throw poor Gordon into.

Conical Boats are commonly used by fishermen in Phan Thiet for a variety of fishing activities.

They wanted to include a fishing scene so I naturally convinced them to come to Phan Thiet—one of the country’s most famous cities for seafood (and fish sauce). I met the producer and director of the series here in Phan Thiet for their pre-production and on-site research, one month prior to the actual filming. A friend and I went out with the small crew on some boats for a practice film-shoot. It was quite an experience. I was a lobsterman as a kid in the USA (Matinicus Island, Maine), but I’d never been out to sea in one of the local boats here in Phan Thiet. I’ll just say that most of us, including myself, got very sea-sick. My Vietnamese friend, who was sort of auditioning as the local translator (and grew up fishing in Mui Ne), barfed his brains out. After the fishing trip we arrived at the boat captains house for a late-night dinner comprising what we had caught. The first rain of the season fell during dinner, which I take as good luck, though I’m told that dinner scenario won’t actually be re-created for the final show.  
Gordon Ramsay returned this week to Phan Thiet and could be seen riding around in a jeep (the green ones that take tourists to the sand dunes), with a camera crew in the back. After 3 days he moved on to one of several other locations where they’ll be filming in Vietnam.


Adam Bray said...

Update on Gordon and the show: It was reported in the media that Gordon departed Vietnam early due to his mother's heart attack. It's true that his mom suffered a mild heart attack and he went back to the UK (rather than going on to New Zealand) to be with her (she's doing well from what I hear by the way). However he had completed filming when he left. The show will air as planned. They did cut out the central Vietnam parts though (Hue/Hoi An) and will be focusing on Saigon, Mekong, Mui Ne, Hanoi & the north.

Unknown said...

Does anyone know when the Ramsey Vietnam episode will air? I would appreciate the help.

Adam Bray said...

Afraid I don't, but its a UK show, so probably whenever the next batch of new UK series/travel shows premier, it will be among them.

Unknown said...

It is on air Monday 16th May. Chanel 4, you can see on YOUTUBE or 40D channel
N D LE from UK

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