Francis Lam

Francis Lam describes an emotional meal with the Hualapai tribe.

on Aug 15, 2012

“So, can the chefs really cook?” That’s the question I’ve been asked the most, which isn’t surprising. Everyone likes to take a peek behind the curtain, I think, and people want to know if they’re being duped by the fantasy world of television.

Well, I’ll be honest. As a cook who’s felt the psyche-crumbling pressure of a ticket rail filling up with orders and a pan taking too long to heat up, I wasn’t just impressed with these chefs—I was blown away by their ability to complete, let alone rock out, the challenges. And this episode is a great example of that: the chefs had to make dishes on the fly, trying to impress people welcoming them to the edge of the Grand Canyon, with ingredients some of them have never seen before, while watching their grills—their only source of heat—fill up with rain water. In the desert. How do you not feel like the gods are laughing at you when that happens?

I mean, how they didn’t stop, drop, and roll up in the fetal position is kind of beyond me. To make delicious food under that kind of stress is damn near superhuman. 

But that wasn’t even the best part of the adventure.