This Was The Adventure That Challenged Melissa King The Most On Tasting Wild - Exclusive

Melissa King might be more creative outside the kitchen than inside. Perhaps that's why the "Top Chef" champion doesn't have a restaurant. She's worked in enough Michelin-starred places to know what that's about — at Luce, The Ritz Carlton Dining Room, and Campton Place, for example, according to her website. Since winning "Top Chef," however, the chef's world has gotten significantly more unorthodox.

On any given day, you can find King cooking for Met Gala attendees, visiting the set of "Sesame Street," hanging out with Michael B. Jordan, jetting over to Maine and foraging for mushrooms to celebrate a birthday, or — as she does in her new show "Tasting Wild" — traveling from volcano to snow-covered mountain in search of culinary inspiration through extreme outdoor experiences. 

"It's been really fun to be able to express my range as a chef," King reflected in a recent exclusive interview with Tasting Table. "As a chef that doesn't have a restaurant, which is a conscious decision, I find so much meaning in all these other avenues of creating and as an entrepreneur."

Natural exploration looks good on King. As she travels from The Oregon High Desert to the glaciers of Snoqualmie National Forest in Washington to an active volcano of Mauna Loa, Hawaii — her culinary senses explode. 

"A lot of [the show] was recognizing that I define inspiration in nature and the power behind nature and how it can push you to be more creative with what you're seeing [and] what you're tasting," King told Tasting Table. "I found that I was creating things that I had not thought to do before and that was new to me. [It was] a great experience." And sometimes — King admits — slightly terrifying.

The Tasting Wild episode that scared Melissa King

If you've seen the first episode of "Tasting Wild," you know which experience King wasn't entirely prepared for. If not, it was scaling a rock face in Oregon with National Geographic photographer Irene Yee. Facing that cliff? That was the hardest thing King said she did across all five episodes. "I don't like heights," she admitted to Tasting Table. Actually, in the episode, King even tells Yee before they embark on a climb, "I can be a little bit terrified of heights." 

The mountain climbing, in particular, turned out to be awe-inspiring for King. "The beauty of each episode or the experience was pushing myself a little bit out of my comfort zone and also seeing how far I could take it and realize that I could survive the experience and that I could find a lot of uplifting moments from it all," she attested. "I've never outdoor rock climbed. I only [had] indoor climbed. I was testing myself in that way. When I made it to the top, I remember feeling so empowered and felt uplifted from it all."

What does King make at the end of her climbing adventure? Desert dumplings, but you'll have to tune into the episode for more details! 

Melissa King's adventures on Nat Geo's "Tasting Wild," are currently streaming on Hulu.