High Camp Taphouse featured on Fieri's show


Last updated 8/22/2023 at 9:57am

Photo provided

High Camp Taphouse staff and Friends with DDD poster signed by Guy Fieri.

High Camp Taphouse opened last summer. Since then, owners Nurbu and Pema Sherpa have steadily built a following of diners who love their Himalayan food and the welcoming atmosphere. Not only are their chairs, comfy couches, and bar stools often filled, High Camp also caught the attention of world-renowned chef and host of "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives," Guy Fieri.

When Pema Sherpa received the first email from the show, she thought it was spam and didn't respond. A few weeks later, when another email arrived, she opened it. "I don't watch TV and didn't realize what a big deal it was," she said laughing. The show often referred to as "Triple D," is one of the biggest shows on the Food Network with close to seven hundred episodes.

Being selected to be on "DDD" is no easy task. One important criterion is having an interesting backstory. A unique menu with food prepared from scratch and recipes that entice the producers and Fieri is a must. There are multiple interview rounds by producers that often cull out prospects before cameras arrive. After the Sherpas' were vetted by producers both over the phone and then with a visit, Fieri made the final decision.

Nurbu said Fieri was cracking jokes from the start of their time in the kitchen.

"He made cooking with him easy. It was a blessing that he came to High Camp, and for us to be part of the Triple D family," said Nurbu.

The episode aired August 18 with High Camp featured along with two other restaurants. It was obvious Fieri found Nurbu's recipes and food both mouth watering and beautiful on the plate.

"We heard from various sources that if Fieri eats more than one bite of your food, he really likes it," said Jim Lanzarotta, who's a Ten Friends board member and an ardent supporter of High Camp's amazing food and revolving craft beer on tap.

Lanzarotta has been a part of the Sherpas' humanitarian work in Nepal and their decision to join forces with the nonprofit, Ten Friends two months ago.

The High Camp DDD episode, which taped in April, was aired at a viewing party last Friday. Diners ate Nurbu's delicious food while watching him on screen bantering with Fieri and showing him how to prepare dishes from Pema's family recipes.

"When Nurbu came to America, he didn't know how to cook. In our culture boys get to play and only girls learn to cook. He had an interest in cooking because he loved good food," said Pema. "So, my mom and I taught him to cook. He took it to the next level and now he's the main cook."

Lanzarotta introduced Pema and Nurbu before airing the DDD episode. Behind where the couple stood was a new piece of art on the wall. The black canvas with red stencil has Fieri's image and the words "Guy Fieri ate here." It's the sign that identifies restaurants who've been featured on the show.

Along with preparing food with Fieri in the High Camp kitchen, Nurbu told Fieri about the couple's work helping marginalized people in Nepal. Nurbu and Pema set aside a percentage of their restaurant profits and all of their fundraising dollars to pay for school supplies, uniforms, and tuition for fifty-three children who are part of the Musuhar Caste in the village of Tilhi. The Sherpas' organization is called Elevate Nepal Initiative. Cultural divisions between classes of Nepalese people, contribute to the plight of these impoverished people who are isolated due to language barriers and traditions that leave whole communities with little chance for a better life. Elevate is working to break the cruel cycle of exclusion, which can improve health and well-being for Musuhar women and children. "We want these people to all be equal like us," said Nurbu during a short talk before the DDD was shown Friday.

The decision to join forces with Ten Friends was based on Nurbu's longstanding history with the organization. He was instrumental in the first trip to Nepal by Rand Runco. Ten Friends, started by Sisters teachers Rand Runco and Mark LaMont, has provided opportunities for Central Oregon students and adults to spend time in Nepal while supporting Ten Friends' work educating young women, bringing much-needed supplies, and providing libraries to remote villages. A Ten Friends group of students and adults just returned from Nepal.

"Nurbu and I have benefited from traveling the world and receiving an education," said Pema ."We believe offering a chance for an education for children in Nepal and throughout the world is one of the best ways to contribute. The reason we opened High Camp in Sisters was to offer a place with good food, good spirit, and a place for community engagement. We both came to the USA with $300 in our pockets and a dream to make our life here. We are blessed for the opportunities that have allowed us to give back."

Promoting connection is a big part of the Sherpas' mission.

"We don't have televisions blasting in the room," said Nurbu.

"We want families and friends to engage with each other. People are losing the benefits of reaching out and getting to know the person sitting next to them. We want our guests to focus on the food and each other so they can really enjoy it. Through our restaurant and giving to others, we hope to contribute to a more compassionate world. Many of our customers have become friends and sometimes help us in the restaurant. Some customers are surprised at how we're able to bring people together in a divided world," said Pema.

Pema says that when making food, how you're feeling can be absorbed by the food.

"Nurbu's energy transfers to the food and enhances the flavor that comes from his love and joy. It enhances the flavor and nutritional value of the food. We don't cook when we're grumpy." Still recovering from the busy night, she quipped, "I need to learn how to be grumpy more often."

Edna Parzybok and her family were at the viewing.

Photo provided

DDD crew said High Camp was the most fun place they had ever filmed.

"Food is a huge central part of our lives," she said. "We moved from Seattle and wanted to build community here. We were looking for some great Asian food. We came to High Camp when it had just opened. They made us feel part of their community right away. Nurbu and Pema were so kind and brought us into their fold. These are our people. We're happy more people will learn about High Camp. We tell everyone about it."

High Camp Taphouse will be listed as a location blessed with Fieri's millions of viewers. Flavortownusa.com is a good way to find locations like High Camp, and Bend's Broken Angel, which was featured on DDD in July.

High Camp Taphouse is located at 523 E. Highway 20. Visit their website, https://www.highcamptap

house.com, to watch High Camp Taphouse featured on "Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives" - look for episode #3711 on the Food Network.

To learn more about the Sherpas' humanitarian work and to donate visit https://ten



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