THE MIND OF A CHEF: Season Two
Airs Saturdays, July 5 - 26, 2014 from 10 a.m. - 12 p.m. on KPBS TV
THE MIND OF A CHEF combines travel, cooking, history, science, and humor into an unforgettable journey. In the first eight episodes of season two, chef Sean Brock of McCrady’s and Husk spotlights southern cooking with heritage varieties of rice, beans and grains. In the second half of the season, chef April Bloomfield of The Spotted Pig follows up with an innovative, refreshingly straightforward take on food.
"Southerners" airs Saturday, July 5 at 10 a.m. - It's Sean's mission in life to expose to the world the regional varieties of Southern cuisine and to erase the misconception that southern cuisine is all the same. In this episode, he explores a few of the unique regional cuisines in the South. Chef Steven Satterfield from Georgia cooks okra and grits. Chef John Currence makes tamales - that's right ... tamales. Chef Ed Lee cooks a dish using the Kentucky holy trinity: bourbon, sorghum and country ham. Tennessee pastry chef Lisa Donavan makes a buttermilk pie. Sean and fellow South Carolinians, the Lee Brothers, make deviled crab, before visiting Fishnet's Seafood outside of Charleston to enjoy their more wholesome version: "Jesus crabs."
"Seeds" airs Saturday, July 5 at 10:30 a.m. - It all began when Sean Brock went looking for Jimmy red corn. That simple journey turned into a lifetime of searching, archiving and reviving lost crops of the South. His partners in crime are legendary owner and operator of Anson Mills, Glen Roberts, and University of South Carolina professor David Shields - a trifecta of seed nerds hell-bent on preserving Southern food heritage.
In this episode, Sean travels to Anson Mills to hand-quern Jimmy red corn, discover fire threshing and cook hominy. David Shields visits Sean's R&D lab to experiment with seeds and to tell the story of the Bradford watermelon, a near-extinct fruit with a delicious and deadly history. Sean travels to Blackberry Farm in Tennessee to talk to master gardener John Coyenkdall about heirloom seeds. Finally, food scientist Harold McGee talks about the magic of combining corn and lye.
"Rice" airs Saturday, July 5, 2014 at 11 a.m. - This episode is all about rice and its essential role in Southern cuisine. Sean visits Anson Mills, where Glenn Roberts is blazing a trail to reintroduce the world to the Carolina Rice Kitchen. Carolina Gold rice was once the primary crop in South Carolina and sought-after worldwide. With animation and archival images, a timeline highlights how the Civil War, as well as changes in the agricultural economy, caused Carolina Gold to all but disappear. Glenn is the reason for its resurrection and Sean is its biggest champion.
In the fields at Anson Mills, Sean and Glen prepare an Appalachian classic, pilaf. In Louisiana, chef Donald Link makes jambalaya. And in Nashville, Sean makes Hoppin' John fritters. All of these dishes link to a trip to Senegal where chef Fati Ly makes the pilau from which all of these rice dishes derive.
"Louisiana" airs Saturday, July 5 at 11:30 a.m. - This episode focuses on the heavy influence of Louisiana cuisine on Sean. Historian and food writer John T. Edge of the Southern Food Alliance takes Sean to his “favorite place on Earth,” Middendorf’s Restaurant, where cooks shave thin slices of catfish into the fryer to create a catfish chip. In the kitchen, Sean makes jambalaya and his version of the catfish chip. Chef Donald Link of Louisiana takes Sean frogging, then cooks up a frog dish.
"Preserve" airs Saturday, July 12 at 10 a.m. - Sean often describes how his family ate growing up this way: "If we were eating, we were eating food from the garden or the basement - it's a way of life." In this episode, Sean shows us what it means to be eating from the basement by exploring the preservation techniques that are critical components of southern culture: drying, salt curing, canning, fermentation, and jamming.
"Roots" airs Saturday, July 12 at 10:30 a.m. - Many chefs have their first exposure to cooking at a young age. For Sean Brock, who was born and raised in rural Virginia, it was the experience of his family growing their own food that left a deep impression. In this episode, Sean explores his roots, prepares a typical Appalachian dinner and a Korean meal with his mom and chef Ed Lee, cooks chicken dumplings, throws down with fellow Appalachian chef Scott Linden at Blackberry Farms, and makes hoe cakes ... farmer-style.
"Low Country BBQ" airs Saturday, July 12 at 11 a.m. - In this episode, Sean highlights both the people and food of the low country by preparing an epic outdoor feast on his friend's farm. Legendary pit-master Rodney Scott spends the day roasting a whole pig, Steven Satterfield makes Savannah red rice, and to finish off the feast, Sean prepares frogmore stew made from the bounty of the Charleston bay.
"Senegal" airs Saturday, July 12 at 11:30 a.m. - The history of southern cuisine is incomplete without understanding how West Africa influenced the cultural heritage and ingredients of America. In this episode, Chef Sean Brock travels to Senegal to meet with friend, historian and fellow chef Fati Ly. Together they explore the markets of Dakar, cook traditional dishes such as Dakar pea fritters, and venture outside the capital to the farming region of Casamance. There, Sean and Fati explore the rice fields and indigenous crops that make up what's known as the "breadbasket of Senegal."
"London" airs Saturday, July 19 at 10 a.m. - In this episode, chef April Bloomfield travels to the city where her cooking career began; cooks walnut tagliatelle with chef Ruth Rogers of the renowned River Cafe; makes a rabbit pie with her pal Fergus Henderson; and heads to the pub for a pint and scotch eggs with her mentor Rowley Leigh.
"Sea/Salt" airs Saturday, July 19 at 10:30 a.m. - This episode focuses on April's love of the sea, which, as anyone who's had the pleasure of eating at her John Dory Oyster Bar knows, is deep and fully realized. April goes to Riverhead, New York, with her friend chef Anita Lo. The two chefs go clamming and make clam chowder. In the kitchen, April makes carte da musica with bottarga and chili and travels to Oregon to visit her favorite salt purveyor, Ben Jacobsen. Harold McGee breaks down salt.
"Curry" airs Saturday, July 19 at 11 a.m. - How did curry become so popular in England? When colonial occupiers returned to England, they brought back an appetite for fiery Indian cuisine. Ultimately, this craving resulted in the mass production of the pulverized spice blend known as curry powder. British curries caught on, with chicken tikka masala, which combines grilled, marinated chicken cubes with a hearty tomato-cream sauce, becoming England's national dish. In this episode, April explores the originals and her homeland's versions of this historic cuisine. Legendary cookbook author Madhur Jaffrey takes April to her favorite curry spot in New York City, then cooks. In London, April hangs with her chef friend Stevie Perle and makes and eats English and Pakistani curries. Harold McGee breaks down the magic of curry.
"Italian" airs Saturday, July 19 at 11:30 a.m. - April explores her deep love for Italian cuisine and its influence on her cooking. She visits Marcella Hazan and cooks a dish that reinvigorated her love of cooking. Chef Ruth Rogers makes walnut tagliatelle; in San Francisco chef Mike Tusk makes extruded pasta; and April makes her famous gnudi.
"British Classics" airs Saturday, July 26 at 10 a.m. - Bangers and mash, fish'n'chips, and pies and more pies ... these are some of the signature dishes of UK cuisine. In this episode, April and friends prepare their versions of the classics. April eats on the streets of London, and April and Fergus Henderson visit a classic London pie shop.
"Farmer" airs Saturday, July 26 at 10:30 a.m. - April travels four hours outside London to Cornwall to visit and cook with farmer and chef Tom Adams on his farm. Tom raises the cute, furry and delicious mangalitsa pigs. April and Tom butcher and cook the entire pig piece by piece — loin, shoulder, belly and head.
"Leftovers" airs Saturday, July 26 at 11 a.m. - This episode aims to prove that nasty bits have been given a bad rap and deserve to be on the kitchen table along with meatloaf and mashed potatoes. In the kitchen, April cooks faggots, bubble and squeak and pig parts; Fergus Henderson works his offal magic on kidneys.
"Restaurateur" airs Saturday, July 26 at 11:30 a.m. - Chef Bloomfield wrestles with the questions every aspiring new or expanding veteran chef has to confront: What does it take to open a new restaurant? What happens if you are fortunate enough to make it past year one? How do you stay relevant? Do you keep serving what made you famous? Do you branch out and try something totally new? These are questions for reflection as April and her business partner, Ken Friedman, explore the challenges of opening their first out-of-state venture in San Francisco: Tosca. April is inspired by a local morning bun, and she's busy in the kitchen testing and tasting dishes for her new menu.
Through his cuisine at Charleston's McCrady's and Husk, chef Sean Brock is perhaps the best-known spokesperson for both expanding and preserving the integrity of traditional Southern foodways. His cuisine shines the spotlight on the untold varieties of rice, beans and grains that once made America the envy of the world. Brock's obsessive and ever-growing collection of seeds and recipes, along with countless hours of research, help to ensure that these long-forgotten heritage varieties are resurrected. In short, Sean Brock is on the front line of restoring the South to its former culinary glory.