Tunnels of Salem on Robert Irvine’s Kitchen Expedition

Chris Dowgin and Robert Irvine Kitchen Expition in front of Custom House in Salem talking about tunnels in town

Back in 2017, we filmed an episode for a new TV show called Kitchen Expedition¬†for the Travel Channel. It was to air on April 1st 20018 and the joke was it was not to air till April 30th, 2020…

Salem state University TunnelThe Discovery Channel had bought back the Travel Channel and brought the TV show, which they had the go-ahead from the Scrips executive to film the whole season, into the nether realms of forgotten never aired projects. So they traveled the world to film the locations spices were cultivated and then where the spice made empires through its sale, to have the show never be seen. I even tried to get a copy of the pieces I was filmed in from my cousin Brian Patrick Flynn who works for Scrips for the Home and Garden Channel through his father, no go. Scurrying about trying to get tunnel locations opened, at the last minute, during the Christmas/ New Year season when nobody had returned to work yet, was all to go to waste. Until last week…

The show was picked up by The Food Network and aired on Thursday, April 30th at 10:00 pm. The first episode was on chocolate and truffles. Then the second episode was on Salt and Cinnamon where they traveled to the Mayan Empire where salt built armies and Senegal where the Ghana Empire dominated the trade. There in Senegal, they went to a salt flat where salt was still harvested traditionally.  The second half of the show went to Sir Lanka where the Portuguese, Dutch, and British conquered the island to secure the profits of Cinnamon. Then they traveled to Salem MA where I met Robert and walked him through the tunnels in town where the spice was smuggled duty-free.  While in the tunnel under Rockafellas I gave them the history of the tunnels that cinnamon and other commodities were smuggled through that created the wealth that shaped our country and its politics. Through the election of John Quincy Adams and William Harrison to the foundations of our three national banks before the Federal Reserve and more. The episode finished with us getting a drink at Opus Underground which was an underground train station that linked the 8 tunnel systems together through town built by George Peabody (founder of JP Morgan & Co.) for his Eastern Railroad tunnel. The first train tunnel built in America.

Oldest train tunnel in America

The show is cool in the fact that it films the crew in each episode, besides mine… It was good to see Pee Paw who worked the sound for the crew in the episode for chocolate and truffles along with the rest of the motley crew.

They did get to keep scenes at Derby Wharf, the Custom House, and the Witch House in the episode as well, but Dave’s part from Salem Spice was left out. Maybe they will use him for a later spice episode. Also additional scenes of walking through the tunnels next to Opus Underground which led to the secret train station that George Peabody (founder of JP Morgan & Co. Bank) built for his Eastern Railroad (Boston & Maine) to smuggle goods to Boston was left out. Still, they kept a good 5 minutes of what took them 3 days to film in Salem and two years to air.

To find out more about me, Chris Dowgin, and the tunnels of Salem and how they shaped the foundation of our country through its millionaires that smuggled through these tunnels, the inventions created here, the failed secession plot during the 1812 War, the people who controlled our National banks, and how they rose presidents up and brought them down read Salem Secret Underground: The History of the Tunnels and Sub Rosa.