Beat This Bobby Flay: Inka Chef is my idea for the ultimate adventure cooking competition!

One of the things that was most impressive about our Inka Trail trek was the quality of the food that we were served and the primitive conditions that it was prepared in.  This off the beaten path gourmet experience led me to come up with the idea for a cooking show that would showcase just how incredible the chefs of the Inka Trail are and how difficult the circumstances that they work under can be.  The whole concept is intended to be a venue to not only showcase the Inka Trail and the incredible talent that the chefs their posses, but also to educate Americans about the life and living conditions of the Quechua people.

The Challenge
The chefs must complete a five day Inka Trail Trek in the same conditions that the chefs who regularly work on the Inka Trail and will be judged on the food that they prepare for their celebrity judge trekkers at every stop.  The chef who receives the highest scores at the end of the trip, wins the Inka Chef Challenge.  

Here is a picture of Chef Leo’s kitchen.  From this station, he created gourmet food for us through our Inka Trail trek.

The Conditions
Each chef must carry a full porter pack, limited by Peruvian law to 25 kilograms, throughout the days hike.  The chef must complete the hike early enough ahead of the celebrity judges so that the meals can be prepared in a timely manner after their trekking.  The chef must use only the kitchen equipment that is usually used by Inka Trail chefs.  

Chefs on the Inka Trail have to carry their fair share of the load as part of the porter team as well. 

Chef Leo did not have the luxury of having running water near his cook station.  At some stops, there was water a few feet away, at others, chefs and their assistants had to walk quite a ways to fill their water vessels and bring them back to the kitchen area.

The Food
Chefs will be able to bring three special ingredients with them.  All food must be transported by the team to each camp site.  There is little or no refrigeration throughout the trip and weight has to be a consideration.  In addition to the three indredients that each chef brings, they will have one hour to shop for everything that they need to complete their meals at the Main Market in Cusco, Peru the day before the trek begins.  

This Peruvian “Sushi” dish was served by Chef Leo towards the end of our trip.  His ability to transform simple veggies and potatoes into a dish that we would not soon forget was a big part of what made our trip to Machu Picchu so amazing.

The Judging
Chefs will be judged at each meal that they prepare.  They will be judged on taste, creativity and quality.  In addition, chefs must ensure that Lunch is ready no later then 20 minutes after their trekkers arrive at camp, Happy Hour is no later than 30 minutes after the trekkers finish their day and dinner is no more than 2 hours after the trekkers have finished their day.  The chefs will receive a total score for all of their meals and the chef with the most points at the end of the trek will be the Inka Chef Champion!  

Leo’s fried rice was easily one of my favorite dishes.  Simple and tasty fuel to get me over the Inka Trail to Machu Picchu. 


Dear Food Network,
Please make this show a reality.  This would be not only a great experience for the chefs and judges, but also an amazing showcase of how people with very little can produce great things.  The talent that we saw from Chef Leo was exceptional and it would be awesome to see how his talents compare to celebrity chefs if you put the celebrity chefs into his environment.  I do not seek any financial compensation for this idea, but would like to have some small recognition when you make it happen.  I would gladly accept a position as a celebrity trekker judge as well if you were so gracious as to offer one.  I am happy to help get the ball rolling from the logistic side. 

Published by Mati Bishop

A Realtor with Keller Williams Yellowstone Properties. Agent Number 89757. Supervising broker Chris Fraser #37931 Publisher of MontanaBugle.com

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