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Chef Talk: Berry Delicious Family Recipe

Chef Talk: Berry Delicious Family Recipe

Well, we are a little behind on posting after a little vacation, but back to summarize our thoughts on the last episode and the end of Season 1.

Randy Arnold at Arnold Family Farm

The Arnold Family Farm was so fun to visit. Of course we went out looking for strawberries, but we also learned about their general store and also their chicken egg operation. The chickens is how it all started for Randy at this location and he has never looked back. As his father, Fred told us, that is all Randy ever wanted to do even if he didn’t suggest that life for him.

Hard at work

Randy logging information in the chicken house after we gathered a few eggs for show.

Randy gets up earlier that I can imagine everyday and takes care of business. You would truly have to love what you are doing, to do that every morning. But he does without complaint. His parents have supported him all along the way because he is such a good son. Fred even claims he never had to spank him, but once. It was always after a visit to the grandparents that would make Randy act up, which I can totally relate with my kid.

While out picking, we got to learn about what they have been doing to educate kids about farming and where their food comes from. What started as a half-day field trip for a few Crawford County kindergarten students six years ago, has become an outdoor classroom experience for more than 1,000 children and parents. Check out this video the Farm Bureau had put together a few weeks before we were there. So happy they grabbed some great footage from.  Thank you again for providing that footage!

After going through the process of growing strawberries and then picking these strawberries, I went back to the kitchen to make a homemade pie, crust and all. This is a Brooks family secret I’m sharing with you. Our recipe for pie crust is so good, man, it’s going to make this strawberry pie just plain delicious.

Because of the additional general store footage and farm, we had to cut a lot from this episode. We didn’t even get to show you how to make the Whip Cream topping. We shot it of course, so we will create a little video to show you how to finish of this delicious, refreshing dish as soon as we can. Look for it here and on Social Media.

Whip Cream Recipe

WHAT’S NEXT: We are in the process of working out details for Season 2, so don’t have anymore info to share about future episodes. What we do know is that it has been fun and there are a lot of stories out there to tell. More stories that episodes, but we will do our best to get out there and capture what is happening as well as give you ideas on what to do with that produce. Until then, support your local farmers markets and let know what you are doing with the Arkansas Grown Produce.

Thanks again for your support and keep watching each week!

Wide view of Fayetteville Roots Festival

Chef Talk: Roots in Music and Food

When I came to Arkansas in 2000, I was stunned by the beauty of The Natural State.  Northwest Arkansas is a great place to get your Ozark legs! There are so many great things going on here: a growing community filled with transplants from all over that work to support the retails giants; world wide trucking and rail company; the world poultry leader; and lots of educated palates. It helps make the region of the “Ozarks” unique.

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In this episode of “Cook with Brooks,” we enjoyed some fun at the Fayetteville Roots Festival. They had some of the most talented chefs in this area of the country, collaborate for the VIP kick-off party at Garner Farm. It was a night full of music and food. Twelve chefs were paired up to make six delicious dishes that everyone could enjoy. People were sitting at beautiful white tables, standing around and listening to some amazing music. We were so lucky to be apart of it and see what our local food community can do when they come together.


Then they come to the historic Fayetteville square to compete in the Chef Cook-off, for cash and prizes, and to support locally-sourced food! And, with the help of some great sponsors, give 100s of pounds of food to the chefs’ favorite charities. Jason Paul and Matt Scott won with this dish below giving their winnings to Tri Cycle Farms, one of our favorite farms we featured on Episode 1.

Winning dish for the Chef Cook-off

I am lucky to be one of the judges of this group of heavy hitters!

judges for the Chef Cook-off

I will also make a trip around the Fayetteville Farmers Market to get supplies for my dish: lamb chops and a neat pear-herb medley!

CWB 110_final dish

Thanks to the great crowd and support of this event as we are working to feed the hungry! IT’S WHAT CHEFS DO!

MORE TO THE STORY: Other great resources in the great state of Arkansas!

4 Days at the Fayetteville Roots Festival

Black Apple Crossing outside

Chef Talk: Episode 2 is in the world

Before we get started, first let me say what an honor it was to premiere “Cook With Brooks” on AETN this last weekend! What a kick to see our show on the television. Thank y’all for watching with us and helping make it possible. I hope you enjoyed it! And now that we’re rolling, we’ve got lots of great places, dishes and more on the way!


There’s something pretty amazing brewing in Springdale, Arkansas! Hopefully you caught this week’s episode of “Cook With Brooks”. Some of our crew went down and watched it with a cider and taco in hand. Wish I could have been there, but so glad they got to do that. It makes our job rewarding when we can see the faces of the folks we are showing off. If you missed it, check it out now. You can watch me as I made a visit to the first and only cidery in The Natural State: Black Apple Crossing in historic downtown Springdale. I learned about the cidery, the history of chicken and apples in the area, and how this business is helping to revitalize the city after years of neglect. Black Apple Crossing has transformed an old office building and hatchery that once housed George’s Chicken and Hatchery. It’s a great mix of history and innovation that are giving downtown Springdale a whole new flavor.

CWB-102_ChefandLeoWe talk with owner Leo Orpin about the dream behind this place, the juice they use to produce the product and how the cider is made. From the Ozarks, to Michigan and Washington state, there are some great U.S. products involved and a fascinating process behind it all!

And, of course, it wouldn’t be an episode of “Cook With Brooks” without something mouthwatering you can whip up at home. Watch how I get inspired by the cider and the local Mexican joint, Taquería Don Güero, across the road from Black Apple Crossing.

To learn more about this great Arkansas business, READ THIS article by Edible Ozarkansas. They wrote it back in November 2015, but still full of great details you will love to know. It goes into more depth about the history of apples in Benton and Washington counties, the history of how cider came to be and gives you a sneak peek at all other two founders,  Trey Holt and John Handley. Leo was more than happy to talk and get in front of the camera for us, but Trey and John were not too excited to about that idea.  We understand, but here is your chance to see their faces too.

UP NEXT: Next Saturday, January 28th, on Cook with Brooks, we take a trip to the Vanzant Fruit Farms in Lowell, Arkansas. As we walk through an orchard of Black Apples, we learn more about the history of apples in the area with Steve Vanzant, as well as the history of his own family fruit farm that has been in operation since 1949. He explains how the farm has adapted over the years to changing demands and has learned how to keep a constant supply of fruit by growing several varieties of apples, peaches and grapes. Then he takes Brooks to their market on Highway 264 to get ingredients for a honey mustard chicken and apple dish.  

Watch next Saturday to learn more about a local orchard and how to make a delicious dish using their ingredients.


Chef Talk - Feeling blessed

Chef Talk – Feeling blessed

Wow………It has been such a busy time. What a great time to be a chef in the food industry! Really, it has all taken on new meaning for me. See, I have been so fortunate with what I do that I have been able to travel all over . Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Tennessee in the early part of my career opening units and learning how to manage. I have worked in some trend setting gourmet grocery stores. Moved to Arkansas and just like my mother said, “your gonna find exactly what you have been looking for”. And she was right!!!!

I have worked in clubs. Had my own restaurant with my friend Case. Soul Restaurant was the best learning experience that I have had. Now working for a Foodservice company has just changed my whole outlook. Getting the chance to bring all these great farms to the eyes, ears and hands of the best chefs in Arkansas and Oklahoma has been very liberating and has made my focus on education. I was able to do that with having a daily cooking show, ‘Cooking Today’ for two years, with over 280 episodes. Now with the opening of Brightwater, Center for the Study of Food, and getting a chance to share all that has been given to me with my students! It is a real BLESSING!!!!!! And now a show statewide on AETN…WOW!!

My perspective has had a total change. I look at restaurants, all aspects, causal, fine dining and fast food different. Maybe because I get to go into the back door of so many kitchens each week. Maybe because I have seen so many chefs take on a greater caring about the ingredients they serve. Whatever the reason for the change, makes me smile with delight!

I am a living example that you can do anything you set your mind to. And if you believe, all things are possible! To all the people that have had Faith in me and Believed in me like, my sweet momma Sharon. My late father George. Chefs Scott Berg, Paul DeMartino, Case Dighero. My wife Mandy and my kid, Noah. My friend and producer Jeremy Duckworth! All of my family and friends. I am so grateful. Without your Love and Support I would not be here in this place on the road! I will not let you down!

Chef Talk

Chef Talk

Man…it has been one hot summer stretch! It has been so busy with the daily activities. Restaurants and kitchens all over Arkansas and Oklahoma. I had some fun times with my wife, Mandy and son, Noah, always the best! Making plans for the future. It has all been great!!

So we roll into the Fall with great excitement and anticipation for some new beginnings. Cook with Brooks, presented by Bod High Productions will be working with Arkansas Education Television Network(AETN) to bring our show to all of Arkansas! We are so proud to bring the story of the great food, farms and people around us to the television statewide! We look forward to an announcement with all of the details very soon!

Please come out to the Fayetteville Roots Festival this weekend on the historic Fayetteville Square! I will be right in the middle of the action! You can watch me film a segment for the show and I’ll be one of the judges for the annual Chef Cook Off with some of the heavy hitter chefs we have in Northwest Arkansas. Names like Jason Paul, Micheal Robertshaw, John Upton, Chrissy Sanderson, Justus Moll, Bill Lyle, William McCormick and Matt Scott make me proud to be one of the judges for the competition! My mouth is watering just writing this and thinking of getting a dish from these chefs. Please come out and support this great event! We want to feed as many hungry folks in our own community as we can. What else would bring this group of food leaders together!!

I am so proud to be a chef! Man, I get paid to do something that I love so much! All of you that support me. I thank you from the bottom of my heart! God has provided some great people around me to help make this dream come true. We can’t wait to bring to you some more great stories and delicious food!!!