Kiran Jethwa on location in Fearless Chef

Kiran Jethwa travels to danger zones to harvest rare ingredients in Fearless Chef.

While some of us wouldn’t mind getting a break from the kitchen, Kiran Jethwa would do anything just to get into one. Even if it means swimming with the sharks to harvest rare aquatic ingredients or dangling by a rope in the Nepalese Himalayas just to get his hands on the best honey.

His gastronomical adventure has taken him to places men fear to go like the sun-scorched Danakil Depression in Northern Ethiopia. He’s faced sub-zero temperatures while drilling for lotus root and giant carp in the frozen lakes of China, succumbed to malaria once or twice while scouting for wild boars in jungles of Borneo, Southeast Asia.

And here we thought the most dangerous thing about cooking is getting scalded by a hot pan or having your finger caught in a knife’s pathway. Such trivial fears.

Kiran’s dares make up Fearless Chef, a new pumped up show to premier on 19 January at 20:05 on Nat Geo (DStv Channel 182) that follows this award-winning Kenyan chef as he goes to danger zones in different countries in search of hard-to-obtain ingredients.

Daunting as it is, Kiran feels proud of being the only Kenyan to feature on Nat Geo. “It proves that anyone can go anywhere and do anything if only they focus of quality.”

Kiran’s excitement about Fearless Chef is uncontained. “I never imagined that I could visit some of these places. For instance, visiting Bangladeshi mangrove swamps of Sunderbans. I am loving the whole experience as I discover all these new places, getting to meet new people and discovering new dishes and ingredients.”

From these gastronomical adventures, he collects recipes and unique ingredients and sometimes exotic antiques like traditional masks that he’d like to bring back home with him.

For a man with such a wild culinary resume, you’d think that one of his greatest challenges would be coming head to head with a shark while navigating deep waters. But no. Kiran’s greatest challenge is managing his time. “I’m doing so many things at once and sometimes, it’s hard to balance all these chores out.”

Nonetheless, his dedication and passion for food is what makes him the fearless chef he is. But as a host, how hard is it to impress a guest like Kiran? What happens when he is served a meal that is not cooked to his standards?

“It depends on where I am. Obviously when I’m invited to somebody’s house, I never complain about the food. But when I go to a restaurant for a meal that I am paying for, I expect good service and good food,” says Kiran.

It is this good service that has made his Nairobi-based restaurant Seven Seafood and Grill, a favourite destination for foodies in the city. I’m curious on how he manages to run his restaurant while travelling the world. Kiran says, “I have a very strong team made up of all Kenyans who are dedicated to the business even in my absence.”

Kiran wraps it up by offering a cooking tip to novice chefs (I would assume most of us fall in this category). “You should train adequately, put in the extra hours until you master how to prepare the most delicious dishes.”

As you wait for Fearless Chef's premier on Nat Geo, head over to DStv Foodies Community to sample the mouth-watering cooking shows and recipes from Gordon Ramsay and Siba's Table.