Gordon Ramsay: Uncharted travels to Guyana this week, which means that NatGeo viewers get to meet Chef Delven Adams. Delven is the culinary genius behind Guyana’s Backyard Cafe in Georgetown, and serves as Gordon Ramsay’s local expert in tonight’s episode.
But before you tune in, I had the chance to talk to Delven about his experience filming Gordon Ramsay: Uncharted, what he learned from working with Gordon (and the other way around!), and a little bit more about his restaurant. Get to know him in our interview before watching him in action at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT tonight on NatGeo.
Brittany Frederick: What was it about Gordon Ramsay: Uncharted that got you interested originally?
Delven Adams: The prospect of showcasing Guyanese cuisine to the world, which is the vision we started out the Backyard Cafe with, and the opportunity of working [with] Gordon Ramsay, of course! I was so excited to work with someone I’ve watched on television for years.
BF: What is the most important thing that people watching this episode need to know about the culinary scene in Guyana?
DA: It’s diverse and growing, but we aren’t there yet when it comes to food on the international scene. The diversity comes through our multicultural make-up. Our culinary scene is influenced by the six ethnic groups in Guyana, coming from Africa, India, Portugal, China, our Amerindians – Native people – and Europeans.
BF: So how was it to collaborate with Gordon Ramsay? How would you say he fared in learning your culture and cuisine?
DA: It was an amazing learning experience to be able to work with Gordon Ramsay. He learned the importance of Cassava and Cassareep to Guyanese, especially to the Amerindians: where and how it came about, and why it is such an important ingredient to our Indigenous people. Gordon did good at learning our culture and cuisine, but we would have loved for him to spend more time learning the many other different things we do with our ingredients, because there is so much variety.
BF: Tell me more about the dishes that you cooked in this Uncharted episode. Why did you choose them to represent Guyana on a plate?
DA: I cooked metemgee, sautéed bora (Chinese long beans) and roasted garlic fish (tambaqui), and Gordon made pepperpot and roasted piranha. Pepperpot is the national dish which came from our indigenous peoples; they call it tuma. It is a must have dish during Christmas time! It is made with cassareep, which is made from the cassava juice by boiling it to get rid of the cyanide in it. it is a thick and dark liquid. Metemgee is also a favorite for most Guyanese; it is a combination of two cultures: African and Amerindian.
BF: The concept of your restaurant, Backyard Cafe, is fabulous. It’s literally in a backyard. How did you come up with this idea and in general, just tell me more about your place.
DA: I’m a foodie and enjoy entertaining, so I’d host friends who would return home to visit and would want me to cook all the things they’ve been craving. Later, a friend suggested that I turn this into a business, and the idea further blossomed when I was introduced to the Warung concept, where the front yard is used instead of the backyard for a restaurant. With the help of my family and friends, the Backyard Café was born.
BF: Is there anything you learned from working with Gordon on Uncharted that you’re going to take back to your kitchen?
DA: I was definitely impressed by Gordon’s spicy cassareep wings and Amazonian hash brown (which we call boil and fry in Guyana). I loved how he presented it too. I also admired his respect for people’s time and never had people waiting on him. He is very down to earth.
BF: Are there other chefs aside from Gordon Ramsay that you’re a fan of? Who inspires you?
DA: I love and admire Anthony Bourdain, Wolfgang Puck, Bobby Flay and Nancy Silverton.
Gordon Ramsay: Uncharted airs Sundays at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT on National Geographic.