‘This is the coolest, down to earth, family man that you could ever hope to meet. Nothing like you see on television. His work ethic is amazing. He’s never going to have anyone waiting for him. They’re filming at 7:00am; he is ready at 6:30am. He gets his own coffee. This is a guy who is a millionaire, has several television shows, several restaurants around the world, has his own spices brand but he still makes his own coffee and gets his own stuff. He serves himself, nobody serves him.’
That’s Gordon James Ramsay OBE; or at least the way he was described to Tourism Guyana; the world-renowned culinary artist, Award winning television host and Guyana’s most recent high-levelcelebrity.
Ramsay and the National Geographic team of the Uncharted series visited Guyana this year for a special episode on the 592 and very few people got the chance to meet the Britton.
An even shorter list was the people who he worked with, and on the forefront of that list was local master-chef, and pioneer of the Backyard CafE, Delven Adams.
Adams, whose brainchild has been making waves across both the Eastern and Western Hemisphere has the uniquely set ambience that his Backyard CafE, where persons can enjoy a truly Guyanese meal, a Guyanese way.
As the name suggests, the cafE is situated in his backyard in West Ruimveldt and has seen a steady influx of international high profile guests looking to indulge in a part of Guyanese culture.
The Guyanese chef, who has had a long career in the culinary business was flabbergasted to be working with who deems ‘a really cool guy.’
‘While we were filming, he would give me tips, ‘do this, say this’. When you saw us out there (at big market) that was the first time I met him. I was supposed to meet him three days prior but there was a delay in his flight but it happened the way I wanted it spontaneous.’
‘All of that you see there, and I might be giving away some secrets but all that you see there is a character. He is a funny, loving guy. He sits with everyone, has his coffee and he talks with everyone. When he was doing the Amazonian hash-browns, he was two minutes late for the fish catching shoot and the guys were still packing up but he was still upset that he was two minutes late, even though they weren’t ready.’
But how did It begin, where did it start and how did this giant in the food world come to know of the South America’s greatest hidden gem?
According to Delven, the initial call came during a rough time for him as he was in the process of burying his father and dealing with his business in February 2019. Prior to the death, he had scheduled a tour of the National Geographic team to come down for a week to experience the country. However, with this new twist, the Backyard CafE mastermind was on the verge of cancelling the initial tour from National Geographic, already explaining to the Guyana Tourism Authority the situation. It was on his way back home that the ball really got rolling.
‘I’m walking in the gate and phone rang, and I saw this guy’s video feed on the screen, I’m like ‘I’ve never seen this face before. So I answer the phone.’ He tells me who he is and he will call back.
When I checked this Guy out, I said ‘Woah, this guy is a Hollywood Producer, what does he want with me?’
‘So, the guy calls back, he explains that he’s worked with [the late] Anthony Bourdain and a few other celebrity chefs and he’s interested in doing a show with me. I said let’s do it. Let’s get the ball moving.’
The Producer would call to discuss potential ideas, projects, what it was he was expected to do and even some insight into Guyanese culture and cuisine. However, none of it mentioned who he would be working with, something that puzzled Delven.
And while he asked multiple times, the producer was less than forthcoming; that is until one afternoon in November 2019.
‘On one of my Sunday calls from the Producer, he says to me, ‘Listen Delven, I have very important call that you need to take.
You know there are a bunch of people in the room and a person was talking,’The Producer came back on and said ‘yeah, you got that?’ I’m like, [In a puzzled voice] ‘yes, all I got was a guy speaking with a sexy voice, is he the person I’m working with? He says ‘are you ok with this?’ and I’m like, brother, you still haven’t told me anything. He was like, you were just on the phone with Gordon Ramsay! I said, ‘No way! Gordon Ramsay was just on the phone there!?’
He said that the producers requested a list of items needed for various dishes and the reasons associated with these dishes and why they felt the need to be highlighted.
Delven’s biggest takeaway from the whole visit was not that Backyard CafE was featured, but rather, Guyana and its indigenous culture was placed on a pedestal, thanks chiefly in part to the late Ian Craddock and a few other tourism-based persons.
‘When they asked me what dish I want to do, I told them, Pepperpot. Yes, we had cook-up rice, we had curry and all of these dishes, but check the real history on all these other foods, they came from somewhere else and everybody has a spin to these things.
The team came down, did the market tour, learnt the ingredients and learnt the history of Cassava and all these things they were like, this is awesome.’