The Chiricahua Apache are very reserved and quiet, by nature. At times I felt that perhaps we had intruded in on their very close-knit community. Of course, they assured us, that we were absolutely welcome! During the filming, there were many moments of deep silence and contemplation between them all. Their facial expressions were full of emotion and thought. Their minds seemed heavy with stories of their past, traditions and respect for their culture and community. It was an honor to meet the Grandmother of the Chiricahua – a woman who must have witnessed so many monumental events in their long and troubled history.
Despite the glorious sunshine against stunning backdrops of the Sacramento Mountains and gorgeous prairies, it was really chilly. Temperatures plummeted even further during the night, but that didn’t stop me standing outside to admire one of the the most incredible full moons I have ever seen. It looked so large and close and was surrounded by a cloudless sky bursting with twinkling stars. The moon lit up my dramatic surrounding landscapes the way a spotlight would on a theatrical stage. For me, that was one of the most magnificent moments of this shoot.
The chefs rode into the show on saddle-less horses – the look and feel of their arrival was dreamy. It felt like we were about to film a John Wayne movie. One of the Chircahua guides proudly showed me his highly engineered cross-bow made in-part from Titanium. The technology and design involved in this beautiful piece of machinery was impressive – how far they had come from the traditional wooden bows and arrows, which the chefs used during the native challenge. I take my hat off to the the chefs, particularly Michael, who eventually mastered the art of archery. As a result of winning the native challenge, he chose to hunt Turkey, which he did very effectively – his hunt on this episode was impressive. The dishes he subsequently prepared were unbelievably good – perhaps because they were familiar dishes to me, prepared to exceptional standards as always. His dishes were certainly my favorite of the episode!
Now back in London, I’m kicking myself that I didn’t buy some traditional moccasins from the Chiricahua. The women of the tribe even measured me up for a pair because I had been admiring theirs. I decided not to purchase them in the end because the leather was only available in their very light natural colors and I felt that I wouldn’t be able to wear them much in London – we tend to wear dark dreary colors here, perhaps to blend in with the weather! How wrong I was – the latest fashions here are all about Moccasins! Oh well, at the very least, I got to see the beautiful traditional clothes of the Chiricahua first hand and when I see people wearing adaptations of their style here – it will remind me a this wonderful episode!