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'Cook With Brooks' tells whole story of Arkansas food
Posted 03 Jan 2017
"Cook With Brooks" – a new weekly, documentary-style educational program dedicated to telling the whole story of food in Arkansas – will premiere on the Arkansas Educational Television Network Saturday, Jan. 7, at 5 p.m. Chef Steven Brooks of Bella Vista hosts the series that places an emphasis on local farmers, restaurants, chefs and other interesting stories about Arkansas food – showing us where it's from, how to make it and who shares it.
With more than 10 years of experience as an executive chef for various Arkansas restaurants and country clubs, Brooks has mastered the art of cooking. In his current executive chef position, he works on a daily basis with farms across Arkansas and connects them with the restaurants that want local, sustainable food. He is passionate about representing farmers, chefs and restaurants – and giving their stories a voice.
'I am all about local, because eating and buying locally means that your dollar stays in your community and lets the chefs, farmers and families in our state show off what they can do,' Brooks said. 'We are proud of what we are doing and to be a part of AETN.
'Through this program, we are capturing the stories that make up a vital part of Arkansas's No. 1 industry, agriculture, and we're also getting into the kitchen with these locally grown ingredients and making delicious dishes.'
Episodes featured in the first season of 'Cook With Brooks' include:
- 'Growing Community Through Soil,' which begins with a visit to Tri Cycle Farms, a community garden on two acres of land in the heart of Fayetteville. Founder Don Bennett discusses his passion for growing community through soil, creating food awareness, combating community hunger, educating the community and empowering those around him to make a difference. The episode concludes at Greenhouse Grille in Fayetteville as local chefs come together to help raise money for Tri Cycle Farms at the Ozark Beer Dinner.
- 'Brewing Change,' looks at the first and only cider brewer in Arkansas, 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.
- 'Roots Run Deep,' takes a trip to the Vanzant Fruit Farms in Lowell, Arkansas. Steve Vanzant shares the history of this family fruit farm that has been in operation since 1949. He explains how the farm keeps 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.
- 'From Farm to Oven,' starts with a visit to Wood Stone Craft Pizza in Fayetteville, Arkansas, to talk with owner and chef Jerrmy Gawthrop. He cooks up a pork chop and belly with braised kale and butternut squash puree with goat cheese that highlights seven different local ingredients. Brooks sits down with Clayton Suttle, Wood Stone Craft Pizza co-owner, to learn more about the business and the farm-to-table movement in Northwest Arkansas.
- 'Country Pumpkins,' makes a visit to McGarrah Farms in Pea Ridge, Arkansas, to learn how pumpkins can bring a lot of kids to the country. Brooks joins Dennis 'Farmer' McGarrah for a hayride and trip to the pumpkin patch. The pumpkin pie pumpkins lead Brooks to the kitchen to make a dessert the whole family will enjoy.
- 'Going a Different Whey,' takes a trip to the farm to learn about White River Creamery in Elkins, Arkansas. This family worked together after moving from the Los Angeles area to start a dairy farm and a new way of life. Together, they are now making some of the best cheese in Northwest Arkansas. Brooks goes back to the kitchen to create a chicken slider recipe using their Triple Pepper Halloumi Cheese and other local ingredients.
- 'Art and Soul (Food)' tours Crystal Bridge's Eleven restaurant in Bentonville, Arkansas. In the kitchen, Chef William Lyle creates a quick Coq au Vin while explaining where the food comes from and how he is inspired by the art around him. Brooks shares the meal with food and beverage director Case Dighero, who elaborates on the term 'High South Cuisine.'
'Cook With Brooks' airs Saturdays at 5 p.m. on AETN. Episodes and recipes are also available at aetn.org/cookwithbrooks.
'Cook With Brooks' is produced by Bod High Productions and presented by AETN. Brooks also hosted 'Cooking Today' on KNWA, and the program was awarded the Arkansas Broadcasters' Association's 2014 Outstanding Production of the Year.
The Arkansas Educational Television Network is Arkansas's statewide public television network that enhances lives by providing lifelong learning opportunities for people from all walks of life. AETN delivers local, award-winning productions and classic, trusted PBS programs aimed at sharing Arkansas and the world with viewers. AETN depends on the generosity of Arkansans and the State of Arkansas to continue offering quality programming. Additional information is available at aetn.org. AETN is broadcast on KETS (Little Rock), KEMV (Mountain View), KETG (Arkadelphia), KAFT (Fayetteville), KTEJ (Jonesboro) and KETZ (El Dorado).