The concept of Trading Dishes was born two years ago in May of 2013 while Chef Steven was on his descent from Mt. Everest Base Camp in Nepal. At the roof of the world, jagged glaciers and breathtaking Himalayan Mountains surrounded him. These glaciers however, are now melting into newly formed lakes and rivers. Unfortunately, it wasn’t only the melting ice and snow that had the chef’s heart and eyes in disbelief.
Throughout the chef’s three-month stay in Nepal he developed concerns about the locals’ nutrition. He began to realize a concerning culinary activity that the Nepalese, and others around the world, are actively engaged in - eating the same basic dish for morning, noon and night. This reoccurring dish in Nepal is known as Dal Bhat; a simple meal consisting of massive amounts of steamed white rice, all-you-can-eat vegetable curry and a large bowl of lentil soup. This bewildered Chef Steven. He couldn’t believe the locals were missing out on trying dishes from around the world, considering the abundance of nutritional ingredients available from the local market and growing fresh from their own home gardens. Curiously, Chef Steven approached a native who explained to him that even though new produce was being grown on the locals’ lands, they were uncertain of how to incorporate these new ingredients into their cuisine.
On his last night in Nepal he requested to cook a meal for the family he was staying with; using only ingredients that were growing around their home. They agreed gratefully. Once Chef Steven had collected the produce from their garden he started on his famous homemade spaghetti with a roasted bell pepper marinara sauce. The family watched in awe; including one of the young boys who was an aspiring chef. Chef Steven’s faith was quickly restored after witnessing the family’s eagerness to learn new dishes and improve their livelihoods. This day was inspiring, eye-opening, and a pivotal moment in the development of Trading Dishes. Later in the evening villagers, backpackers, and guests from around the world gathered together to dine on the chefs creation. Chef Steven couldn’t help but to feel an overwhelming sense of gratitude. He now saw Dal Bhat as a challenge and set out to to make a difference in the lives of not only these people but of people all across the globe. His solution; to educate the masses with food for thought.
With Chef Steven’s return to the USA, he educated himself on the effects of climate change and food sustainability around the world. His discovery left him with the desire to inform others on how to overcome these challenges and to better their lives. The concept for Trading Dishes followed shortly after. Chef Steven envisioned a television series that invited the viewer to travel with him to some of the world’s most exotic locations: locations where climate change had deeply affected the well-being of its inhabitants. Trading Dishes allows the viewer to step inside a local’s home and join with Chef Steven as they develop new dishes.