Have you ever learned a recipe from someone in your family? Cooked up a storm with a friend? Shopped for ingredients at the market and then headed home to whip up a delicious dinner? Explored your cultural heritage through food?
Sometimes I feel like among us home cooks, cooking is a lost art. Even though we're bombarded with Food Network shows and food blogs (my own included), how many of us actually cook from scratch? How many of us follow family recipes or spend an afternoon with Grandma in the kitchen?
Well, I think I've found the antidote. Through my other online home, SuperForest, I was made aware of an amazing new show that showcases real food, cooked by real people in real kitchens! Really? Yes, really!
Real Food Real Kitchens highlights home cooks who have a passion for food and family.
Real Food Real Kitchens tells the intimate story of a person, their family, and their culture, and how food creates an emotional bond that connects them all together. It's not just another cooking show, but a lasting documentation of family traditions that are often lost.
I had a chance to connect with the show’s producer, Craig Chapman, to find out more about Real Food, Real Kitchens:
After the Harvest (ATH): What networks will air Real Food, Real Kitchens?
Craig Chapman (CC): I always imagined the show would probably fit in best on PBS, so I sent it out to many of the bigger PBS Stations around the country and Eight in Phoenix, AZ liked it. They will now be our representing PBS Station. They will also act as the distributor to PBS Stations around the country. I am so excited for it to begin airing. We are still working heavily on the show in post production right now.
ATH: How did you get involved?
CC: I have been living in NYC for the last 14 years working as a Production Coordinator and Manager for networks like MTV, VH1, Nickelodeon, People.com, and I also worked on several independent features. I was also an Editor at Seventeen Magazine and InTouch Weekly. I was between freelance jobs and had a couple weeks off before the next one was going to start and decided to use that time to create and develop several different TV show ideas. I had always wanted to produce my own show and make that leap forward. Real Food Real Kitchens was one of those shows I thought about for a long time and of all the shows I created in those two weeks, RFRK seemed to make the most sense. I love shows that tell the stories of different people from around the world and I think a great connection between people is food. I was sick of watching all of the celebrity cooking shows on TV so, about 6 months later, I saved up some money and shot a pilot in Brooklyn, NY.
ATH: What inspires you to do this?
CC: My inspiration for film and TV creation is that I have always been a creative person since I was young. I started publishing my first punk rock zine when I was 15, started a small record label and by the time I was 17 I toured the US with a band on my label. I was always a DIY kind of guy. I love the struggle, the energy and the passion. Working for larger companies was great because it taught me as I got older how and where to invest and spend money in creative projects and how to find the money to get them done. Not to mention everyone is impressed when you say you work for MTV. My inspiration now is when we go out on a shoot and I sit down with a guest on the show and really get to know a person on an intimate level that I would have probably never met in my lifetime. It really is amazing how food and the memories of food can bring up so much emotion inside of a person. It's proven to me that food isn't just something you have to eat to stay alive but something that is a part of life.
ATH: Do you have any signature dishes or family recipes of your own?
CC: This is a funny question! Everyone assumes that because I produce a cooking show that I am a big foodie and I am actually not. I have been a vegetarian for the past 25 years so most of what we shoot for the show is food I can't eat anyway. But the crew insures me that it is some amazing stuff! Imagine having a home cooked meal be a part of your day at work! My parents sort of threw in the towel when I told them as a child I no longer was going to eat meat and I had to teach myself to cook. These days you will find me eating lots of salads, soup, sandwiches, and lots of snacking. I eat probably 6 times a day, anything that is light and easy, I'm always in a rush. If I was to cook for a date, I would make a salad and pasta dish of some sort, simple and easy, and to drink, an Orangina.
For more information on Real Food Real Kitchens, you can check out their website, or visit their Facebook Page and become a fan!
I couldn’t think of a television show about food that fits After the Harvest more, so I really look forward to seeing this show – I hope it makes it to the PBS stations in Canada!
Thanks Craig for your time and energy – you are motivating me to get in the kitchen and make some real food!
*All photos courtesy of Real Food, Real Kitchens