Chef William Dissen Reveals What It Was Like Working With Gordon Ramsay - Exclusive

Chef William Dissen may be the owner and executive chef of three restaurants, a member of the U.S. State Department's American Chef Corps, and a member of the Blue Ribbon Task Force for the Monterey Bay Aquarium's Seafood Watch, but he's a pretty laid-back, calm kind of guy. Chef Gordon Ramsay, on the other hand, may be best known for his tirades on shows like "Hell's Kitchen," where he isn't afraid of taking aspiring chefs to task.

Dissen recently got the chance to spend several days with Ramsay while filming an episode for "Gordon Ramsay: Uncharted" and, as it turns out, Ramsay isn't just a master chef, he is actually a kind and considerate gent himself. When Mashed caught up with Dissen to talk about his experience cooking with Ramsay, he could not have had more praise for the man.

"He's got this act that he's this larger than life personality when you watch the shows like 'Hell's Kitchen,' but the guy was one of the nicer people I've ever met, very down to earth, very considerate. He took a lot of time — even though he is this vast celebrity — to hang out and just get to know me, which was wonderful," Dissen said.

Best of all for the Appalachia native, Ramsay took the time to get to know the region. "Appalachia really gets kind of a rap for being backwoods and dueling banjos country, but it really has an amazing food culture and history and heritage here. And I think that's something that Chef Ramsay saw when he was here," Dissen said. "He said the heirloom ingredients and the heritage cooking is on par with places like Tuscany, Italy, which to me was a pretty astounding comment."

William Dissen would love to cook with Gordon Ramsay again

Asked whether or not cooking with chef Gordon Ramsay was an experience Dissen would hope to repeat, he said: "Oh, for sure. Yeah. It was an amazing opportunity. He's got a number of Michelin stars, he's a super famous chef, and his food knowledge is vast. So having the chance to kind of soak up some of that was really, really fun."

After filming his episode of "Uncharted," in which the Dissen beat Ramsay in a head-to-head cooking challenge, he said: "I think one of the big takeaways from the show for me was having Gordon come out and say you're one of the best chefs in the country, one of the most sustainable chefs on the planet. I'm not one to necessarily tell my own accolades, but that was something that really blew me away. And I think, for me, it was kind of a pat on the back for myself and my colleagues at our restaurants — all the hard work and really what we're doing in terms of local sourcing."

Of equal importance to cooking with Ramsay was the chance for Dissen to showcase the culinary heritage of North Carolina and the greater Appalachian region — a swath of America with a unique and diverse range of foods, like heirloom beans, mountain trout, wild ramps, oyster mushrooms, and beyond. "This part of Appalachia is considered one of the most biodiverse places on the planet, with flora and fauna and types of animals and reptiles that you only find in this region, so it really is a special place," Dissen said.

Follow William Dissen's latest dishes at @chefbillyd. You can watch new episodes of "Gordon Ramsay: Uncharted" on Sundays on National Geographic.