How to explore UP’s Keweenaw Peninsula like Michelin-starred chef Gordon Ramsay
A recent installment of National Geographic’s “Uncharted” culinary adventure travel series had its host, celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay, exploring the Upper Peninsula in search of real Yooper cuisine: woodcock hunting, baking pies and even dive among the wrecks in search of freshwater cod.
Inspired by the travels of Ramsay’s UP, our friends at the Keweenaw Convention & Visitors Bureau have compiled a fun guide on how to explore the Keweenaw like a Michelin-starred chef, focusing on regional cuisine, local hunting and food research. , and other activities Ramsay did while trying to earn his Yooper stripes. Mark these places and activities for a taste of the UP style, travel-spectacle.
Refuel at Suomi Home Bakery & Restaurant: In fall 2019, Ramsay was spotted dining at this iconic Houghton restaurant while he and his crew were in town to film the episode “Uncharted.” Suomi is a must-see local stop for its Finnish cuisine, especially the pannukakku, a baked cream pancake served with a traditional red raspberry sauce. Follow Ramsay’s lead and come in for breakfast or lunch.
Copper Harbor ATV: In the opening scenes of the episode “Uncharted”, Ramsay is shown riding the legendary mountain biking trails of Copper Harbor. Do like Ramsay and explore over 90 miles of area singletrack, or sign up for a guided tour at an outfitter like Keweenaw Adventure Co.
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Visit the Delaware mine: Mining has played a central role in the history of this region, and many of the former mining sites are now open for tours and exploration. Viewers of the episode “Uncharted” got a glimpse of some local mine ruins in a scene where Ramsay eats dough baked with a shovel over a campfire; see ruins for yourself through Delaware copper mine tours, which runs from mid-May to mid-October.
Find local flavors at Jamsen: During filming, Ramsay and his crew stopped by this beloved Copper Harbor waterfront fish market and bakery for coffee and freshly baked goodies. For a real Keweenaw taste, grab some smoked fish or a homemade donut with wild blueberry frosting.
Fodder for chaga: As Ramsay finds out in the episode, the Keweenaw Peninsula is prime habitat for the elusive chaga mushroom, a super delicacy that grows on the area’s birch and trembling aspen. Try your hand at foraging for food on public lands, or go the easier route and find a variety of farmed mushrooms and forages at local farmer’s markets throughout the year.
Explore a wreck: In perhaps the episode’s most gripping scenes, Ramsay dives underwater in a wreck to hunt monkfish, a type of bottom-dwelling freshwater cod. Experienced divers should visit the Keweenaw Underwater Preserve to explore a variety of wrecks dating back to the 1800s.
Taste jam made by monks: One of the area’s most delicious culinary destinations is The Jampot in Eagle Harbor, a bakery that houses the legendary blueberry jam and other goodies made by the monks across the street at the Abbey by Poorrock. Unlike Ramsay, however, the monks probably won’t ask you to help them with manual labor in exchange for some of that jam.
Try the smoked fish sausage: In one of the episode’s closing scenes, Ramsay learns how to make smoked trout sausage, another regional dish, with Cap’n Ron of Matson’s Fisheries in Munising. On the Keweenaw Peninsula, you can find smoked fish sausages at the Peterson Fish Market in Hancock, among fresh fish hauled from Lake Superior.
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