Cooking Local Dishes for Local Master Chefs!
Written by T Gordon Stanley. Created by Paul Schicke & T Gordon Stanley.
Logline: An All-American chef, naïve in foreign cooking techniques, has to master a local dish from a Master Chef before throwing a dinner party for local gourmands where he may succeed or fail to impress.
Picture this: Throngs of Latino, Asian and other immigrants press forward at a US border crossing, anxious to enter our country.
But one man stands above them all – and he’s heading in the opposite direction. With a leather bag slung over his shoulder, he wades through the crowd - his youthful yet raw face, a steely gaze, echoes his steadfast determination.
They part for him. No one dares stand in the way of the
Part Indiana Jones, part James Beard, he’s an all-American chef with a passion to explore America’s culinary classics. Venturing on a visionary and very opinionated quest, he delves into an unknown world full of unexpected encounters while in search of authentic cuisine.
He loves American cooking. That's what he knows best. America is a literal melting pot and ALL American foods – save acorn flatbread and fire roasted turkey – were culturally imported with the immigrants who make up this nation at some point in history.
His mission is to uncover the defining signature dishes that influenced current American cuisine under the tutelage of local Master Chefs – whether it’s the village abuelita in Mexico or a grand local maestro ristoratrice in Sicily.
He wants to understand how these obscure foods and recipes ended up as the comfort foods on the gingham table cloths of mid-America. His curiosity to learn is intense. And he will travel to the ends of the earth to find out how and why they got there.
With his self-depreciating, and at times, biting commentary, and through his ventures and encounters with the locals, he opens up the secrets of these great foods. He will risk his stomach, his mind, and at times, his health, to learn authenticity.
His goal is to bring back a fresh perspective to viewers who will forever look at their daily meals they eat differently.
Grand Prize Winner
The magic is in the encounter with the local gourmand who teaches the Gringo Chef the century’s old recipes. This could be the wizen old man in Lanzhou, China who teaches him how to make handmade noodles and beef – the predecessor of American-style chow mein.
Through these culinary gurus, he will learn about the history, culture, terrain and access to ingredients that influenced these dishes.
The Gringo Chef dives in. He is no passive observer, enjoying a drink while the Master Chef slaves away. He’s a hands-on guy. He will roll up his sleeves and learn from the masters in the true Culinary Academy of Local Cooking.
They will teach him by taking him to forage, hunt or shop for raw ingredients before heading back to their kitchens to re-create these delicious concoctions.
He must pass the test by cooking the local dishes for the most scathing group of critics – the native foodies and the master chef his or herself.
His ego will be laid on the line.
Can he make the soup that’s the soul of a nation, borscht, for a farm family in a dacha along the Volga in Russia? Nyet!
Will he be able to sauté his way into the complex chocolate and chili flavors of heavenly mole negro for a group of academics in Oaxaca? ¡Impossible!
Will he remember which ingredients are used? In what quantity? Will he undercook or burn the dish, turning it into inedible slop where he may be chased from the village?
With each challenge, he will either succeed or fail.
Either way, The Gringo Chef’s determination to understand, learn and master is indefeatable.