When Gordon Ramsay: Uncharted recently ventured to Croatia, the NatGeo reality series gave viewers an inside look at a culinary landscape that they probably haven’t seen. Guiding Chef Ramsay (and the audience) was local expert David Skoko, who spoke to Nerdophiles about appearing on the show and what he hopes everyone took away from his episode.
Nerdophiles: What motivated you to appear on Gordon Ramsay: Uncharted?
David Skoko: In his show Uncharted, Gordon presents where I actually live and do here in Istria. I try to get the most out of what my environment has to offer. No need for anyone or anything to adjust to me. I will adapt to the nature that surrounds me, be grateful for what it offers me and present it in the best light.
NP: How would you describe the Croatian culinary world?
DS: Our culinary scene in rural parts of Croatia is still based on simple local cuisine and local ingredients, [which] makes me very happy and proud of [it]. While in urban areas we have a big influence of trendy cuisines, which fortunately seems to be transient, like all trends. That’s why I stay in the countryside.
NP: Do you have favorite local ingredients to work with?
DS: I love preparing local fish and all the seafood the net brings to the boat. When presenting and cooking, I pay the most attention to those less valuable species or parts of fish that do not have any market value. It is a challenge and a moral need for me. I love Istrian monosort olive oils, which are also a unique spice.
NP: What’s been the biggest challenge for you in your career?
DS: My biggest and most rewarding challenge was to get out of the safety of my own kitchen and learn how to pass on my accumulated knowledge to young chefs who were inspired by my work.
NP: We saw in Gordon Ramsay: Uncharted what Gordon Ramsay was able to learn from you. What did you learn from being on the show?
DS: I learned that we have a right to be proud of what we have and how we live.
NP: Is there anything you want the viewing audience to have taken away from your episode?
DS: I would like the viewers to remember that there is still this personal, human contact with local ingredients and original food from its source to our table and the table of our guests here in Istria and Croatia. Food that still has its own recognizability and is not completely corrupted by global gastro trends and influence.
NP: Who are some of your favorite chefs? Is there anyone who particularly inspires you?
DS: I really appreciate and love Ana Roš from Kobarid (Hiža Franko restaurant) as a top chef and promoter of micro-local gastronomy. I admire and get inspired by every chef who appreciates the ingredient the most and its journey to our dishes.
Gordon Ramsay: Uncharted airs Sundays at 9:00 p.m. ET/PT on NatGeo. If you missed the Croatia episode or any of season 2, you can stream installments on Disney+.