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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!

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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.

 

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We did it!

Watching Cook with Brooks with Don BennettLast night was so rewarding just to stand next to Don Bennett, the founder of Tri Cycle Farms and see his expression. It is a 30 minute show, but felt like 10 minutes. I guess that is good because it means it was entertaining, but it went so fast.  I found myself to be emotional and so happy I wanted to cry, but kept myself together.  Unless you have worked in TV, I don’t think people understand how much work one episode takes. A lot, but once you see it on the air, it is all worth it.

This episode started with an trip to Wood Stone Craft Pizza for an episode you will see soon. While there shooting, Jerrmy Gawthrop, who is an owner of that restaurant and Greenhouse Grille, told us of an event he was doing for his birthday. His idea of a great present was to create an event that brought people together, but benefited a local community garden, Tri Cycle Farms. At the time, we didn’t really know what the farm was all about, but learned a lot from talking to Don that night. The seed was planted to grow the idea of what to do for an episode.

We made it out to Tri Cycle Farms following that dinner to learn more about what they do and the story behind the farm. A Northwest Arkansas magazine, Edible Ozarkansas, wrote an amazing article last year on them, so please read more HERE. If you really want to experience and learn more about Tri Cycle Farms, go out to there farm anytime. You can usually find Don out and about doing something in the fields or bringing fresh ingredients to a local kitchen.

We hope you enjoyed our first episode. Please give us feedback. We would love to hear from you.

Episode 2, we visit the first and only Cidery in Arkansas. “Brewing Change,” looks at Black Apple Crossing, in downtown Springdale. Brooks discusses the important role the brewery is playing in the revitalization of downtown Springdale, as well as the history of apples and chickens in the area. In the kitchen, Brooks makes Cider Pork Tacos inspired by the Princess Peach cider and the Taqueria across the street. Check it out next Saturday!

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Two weeks to go

In two weeks, we will get eyes from all across Arkansas. We are excited for the first episode of COOK WITH BROOKS to air on Saturday, January 7, at 5 p.m.! Please join us for an informal WATCH PARTY at Brick Street Brews in downtown Rogers, Arkansas. We can’t wait for everyone to see the first episode featuring Tri Cycle Farms and the Ozark Beer Dinner at the Greenhouse Grille.  We are looking forward to this opportunity to celebrate and see a few local chefs on the ‘Big Screen’. JOIN US! We will have some nibbles prepared by Chef Brooks, ice cold beverages served up by Brick Street Brews and door prizes! Kids welcome!

This is pretty exciting for us because that was our goal from the beginning. We wanted to be statewide, own the show, and be on a network we were proud of. Check, check, check! This was a risk for us to take. Michelle quit her full-time in shopper marketing to focus on the show. She created this blog, and helped shoot and edited 7 shows with no pay. Her husband, Jeremy and her, took a lot of time from paid work with Bod High Productions, to focus on this dream. Chef Brooks took time away from his family and work to host this great show. It is the most fulling thing any of us have done and look forward to what this next year brings. More farms, local business, meals, and celebrations to experience.

Over the next year, we will keep you up-to-date with what is going on with our show on this blog and on our Facebook page. But because of our contract with AETN, you will also find all this information and more on their platforms as well. Our arrangement with AETN is new to them and us both, since we are the first show to be on their network, but be produced outside the network. We are both swimming in new waters. and we are all learning everyday what that means. But one thing we do know is that all the new information about upcoming shows will be shared through their AETN engage blog and Facebook page first. Doesn’t mean you won’t find it here, but you can also find out what we are up to through them.

Please continue to follow us on all platforms and look forward to this upcoming year! Already have the next two episodes shot, now on to editing and making the magic.

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Chef Talk – Thank you and ready to party!

What a ride this has been. Said with the biggest smile! So...I am just a kid from Alabama that moved to Arkansas and the world has been opened to me! 

I am so proud of the Cook with Brooks team. Jeremy Duckworth and Michelle Hammarstrom have been a blessing in my life. Jeremy and I did 282 episodes of 'Cooking Today' on KNWA in 2014 and 2015. He made me believe that we could accomplish anything. Michelle keeps us focused on the goals we have which is simply to tell the stories of Arkansas food. It is a story worth telling.

Now it is really happening and you guys are going to see what we have been working so hard on. Our promo is running on AETN everyday (super awesome). The press release went out last week and we were on the cover of the Harrison newspaper. We are getting close, but are still planning on doing more up to when our show premieres on January 7th.  This month, we have more new episodes to film. Can't wait to get out to Paul Chapracki farm to see all he provides to Native Nectar who has its fingers on a lot of local products through juicing.

First, we would like to thank AETN for making us part of their amazing team. DeWayne L. Wilbur for listening to us and giving us a chance. The Senior Producer, Casey Sanders has been nothing but helpful, understanding and welcoming.  The Promotions Manager, Tiffany Head, was vital on sending out our press release that spread the word around this great state.  Look forward to working more with Julie Thomas, Katie Culpepper, Larmon Vanwinkle and Jess Setzler to make our print and on-line presents shine. They are providing support and helping us learn the ropes of public television on a daily basis, so my team wants to thank you very much. 

Secondly, we want to thank the folks who came on as underwriters to Season 1 of our show.  You have a team behind this show who is really excited and can't wait to make you proud. Thank you all for your support.

Tankersley Food Service, LLC - This is the company I have my day job with and they are thrilled to play a major roll in the show.

Metro Appliances and More - This company supported me back on my old show too and so happy to have them on board again.

Rick McLeod Agency - Farmers Insurance and Financial Services is a big part of the community in downtown Rogers and happy they remembered their roots of helping farmers.

Richter Solar Energy - We are a big supporter of making the earth a cleaner planet.  So happy to have Flint Richter getting some exposure around the state.

Springdale Farmers Market - James McGuire came on from the goodness in his heart and his love of AETN. We are so grateful that we are able to highlight them for all the state to see.

We also want to give special thanks to......
–  Bansley Berkshire Ridge Farm - Carol and Sean Bansley for your personal donation and support.
–  Hanna Family Ranch - Will and Walton for the use of your beautiful kitchen that they so graciously let us use.
–  Simple Machines - Sean and Ally Morrison have been so helpful on getting our website up and functioning the way we need it to. We are still working on it, but appreciate all they do.

Without the support of all of you, we would not be here. Thank you for seeing the value in what we are doing and the value of Public Television. For more details on who they are and how to find them, view our underwriters page.

Save the date

We will also be having a Premiere Launch Party on January 7th to launch our show! We will be inviting anyone who loves farms, the seed-to-fork movement and Public Television. Overalls will be welcome. Instead of a Barn Raising, will be doing a "Show Raising" to help build up this show into what it needs to be. Details to come very soon. We have a lot of ideas for the party and will announce the full details on the 15th.

So excited and proud to part of the thriving Arkansas Food scene. We look forward to the future with AETN and sharing some great stories with all of you! We have some awesome recipes to share with you as well. Meet you in the kitchen.

Chef

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Final touches

After a year of hard work, we are finally sending over our first seven episodes to AETN by the end of this month. This week we are trying to finalize the spots for our underwriters. James McGuire with the Springdale Farmers Market has approved his spot and is officially on board with Cook with Brooks. We are so happy to have them and are forever grateful for their belief in what we are trying to do. It has been really nice to get to know James a little more and hear all he has been doing for the Springdale farming community for the last 16 years. He has gone from being a hobby farmer with too much food to eat, to a vital part of the farmers market community in Springdale. Thanks again and I’m happy to have your spot for all of Arkansas to see.

Learn more about their farmers market by checking out their website.

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It is go time

What have we been up to...well a lot! We officially signed at the end of September with AETN/PBS. Now we are finishing up editing our first seven shows of Cook with Brooks. All this while also trying to get support from local underwriters. It has not been easy, but we are proud of what we are doing and know the stories are good. We know that telling the stories of the state’s No. 1 industry, agriculture, is crucial to Arkansas’s economy. More than 44,000 farms spread across 13.8 million acres annually contribute more than $20 billion to the Natural State. That’s nearly one quarter of the state’s economic activity. We are capturing those stories of this important industry, while also getting in the kitchen with those local ingredients and making a delicious dish.  For this first season, we are focusing on northwest Arkansas, but hope to get out and see more of Arkansas in Season 2. So many stories to tell, it can be overwhelming.

Don Bennett with Tri Cycle Farms

Stories on farmers like, Don Bennett with Tri Cycle Farms will open your eyes to the hunger issues in Arkansas and how it is all around us.
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Stories like Farmer Steve Vanzant of Vanzant Fruit Farm, will make you laugh, but also make you realize how much this area has changed with the apple industry.

Dennis McGarrah of McGarrah Farms in Pearidge, Arkansas.

And Dennis 'Farmer' McGarrah of McGarrah Farms was such much fun to watch in action as the Santa Claus of October.

Black Apple Crossing with Leo Orpin.

We have also learned about some local products produced with local ingredients, which was interesting too. Black Apple Crossing let us into their 'kitchen' to see how they make cider as the First Cidery in Arkansas. With each stop, Chef Brooks picked up ingredients and went back to the kitchen to make some magic.

As we are editing, we are laughing out loud. We know that once people see these characters and learn more about them, they will understand why a show like this is important. Their are a lot of great magazines and stories on-line, but for me, there is nothing like a story captured in video. The jokes and random conversations are the magic of the moment. That is the craft we are bringing to the table.

Please make sure to watch our season premiere on AETN/PBS this coming January 7th at 5pm. Until then, please consider becoming an underwriter for this locally produced show that is receiving no funding from AETN. You can buy your media locally directly from us in Northwest Arkansas and get 15,000 to 33,000 eyes on your spot 4 times a month. Your spot will be embedded in the episode forever unlike most commercial spots. Considering AETN is still rerunning cooking shows from 6 years ago, that could be for years to come. Help us tell the good story of food and be champions with us on the most trustworthy institute seven years running.

 

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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!

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2016 Fayetteville Roots Festival on the books

Chef Patrick Lane of Arsagas Depot and Chef Michael Robertshaw of the Pressroom.

Chef Patrick Lane of Arsagas Depot and Chef Michael Robertshaw of the Pressroom take some time to talk with us at the VIP kick off event.

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One of our biggest fans!

Ingredients for Chef Brooks Demo.

Ingredients for our demo straight from the Fayetteville Farmers Market.

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Delicious Lamb Chop with apple, onions and squash surprise. Now onto judging the Chef Cook Off. All in a days work.

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winner

And the winner is Chef Matt Scott of Bordino's and Jason Paul of the Heirloom with an amazing and beautiful Eggs Benedict.

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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!!!

Brooks

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Quick Salmon Blueberry Chutney

Here we are a couple months later since my last post. Where have we been? Well, we have been busy working away trying to get this show on the air. We have officially heard back from a station, but need to figure out the details before we can announce anything. In the meantime, we are going to do some fun, quick videos for you to enjoy. Some will be recipes. Some will be seasonal, local recipes. Some will be local food celebrations. Whatever we share, it will be related to the story of food. All our videos live on our YouTube Channel and Facebook page. Take a look around and see what we are up to. Please subscribe because there are more videos to come you way to brighten your day!

Check out our newest recipe now! It is a task Salmon Filet with blueberry Chutney.

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