Andy: Hello and welcome to pardon my fork. This is Andy and I've got a very special guest on the line. Mark Conway. He is a chef. He is TV host a radio host. He's got a show coming out on spoony radio called the family meal. Mark. How are you doing?
Mark: I'm doing great. How are you doing?
Andy: Fantastic. Man. Thanks so much for calling in. I really appreciate it. Especially considering how busy your weekend has been.
Mark: It's definitely been a little crazy.
Andy: What were you doing, my friend?
Mark: I was at the Mohegan Sun Wine and Food Festival up in Connecticut. And we were running around there with Spoony Radio, setting up interviews, meeting people, shaking hands, trying some incredible food from basically the who's who list of Food Network chefs.
Andy: I've been seeing the photos on Facebook and it just looks like the most incredible spread, and of course you've taken photos with all kinds of people. Food Network stars, top chefs, I was shocked at how big this event was.
Mark: It was interesting to be there because while you're there inside the Mohegan Sun casino and hotel and because of who was there you would have swore you're in LA or New York or Boston.
Andy: Isn't it amazing how food draws people together in that way. Not just as a family union but as just a community thing. You've got all these people that are essentially celebrity chefs and they're coming to this place where you wouldn't expect them all to be. But it's this merger of great food, great wine. Just a really good time. And when food is involved, and obviously media is involved, because we're all part of this new food media movement, that's where you congregate.
Mark: It is, and it was funny to see them there. You think about them on all these shows and things like that, that they do. And once they get there, they seek each other out. The camaraderie, the brother and sister type atmosphere is there. They are stopping and talking and hugs and everything else. And you know, it's funny you you see them on TV and think, well, they see each other every week. And that's really not the case because they'll take an entire season in a couple of days and they may not see each other again for months.
Andy: Right! And how does it feel now being part of that food media movement?
Mark: It definitely feels surreal. The perfect way to put it is what you said, that it's a food media movement it's changing so quickly like when you go to these events you know, 5-10 years ago you're seeing you know the local newspaper writer, or maybe somebody who freelances for USA Today maybe one of the food magazines and local news, now you've got dozens of food bloggers online personalities you've got TV, the radio, that it's a ton of people following just because they're so excited about what food does and what these the, you know all these chefs and celebrities that are doing cooking things now just what their day to day life is like to hear the stories I have.
Andy: It's absolutely true. And speaking of day to day, ordinary lives. I want to dive into that a little bit. You know, a lot of people know who you are. They know you from your work on kitchen ambush. But I want to know the real Mark Conway. How did you get your start?
Mark: It was funny. I mean, I grew up as a kid, my uncle owned a restaurant in Jacksonville, Florida. And one of my first jobs was washing dishes there with a pure blooded, Sicilian named Antonio. And I swear the the dishwasher was boiling. Because he would just shove my arms and his bubbly water and tell me that it would, it would fix my skin. Basically, he was going to make sure that I had chef skin early, early on. And you know, from there, I didn't stay in food after that for a long time. I came through and did a lot of things with sales and production and promotions and things like that. And for health issues. I really dove headfirst into food and health and well being and that just it just spun me on a new direction and it took everything that I had learned throughout my career early on and apply that to food. So it gave me a different perspective on getting people to understand the food. You know, instead of just having a restaurant background and knowing how to cook and knowing how to run a kitchen I'd had so
much media and sales and promotion and development training that I just parlayed those two together, and
I was cooking at a restaurant in Williamsburg. And local magazine wanted to come in and do an interview and have me write a dish and or a recipe for them. And that interview went well. And then I wind it up on a local show called the Hampton road show and cook the dish, you know, live on air there, and it's just, it kind of took off from there.
Andy: That's really fascinating. So you didn't start out as a cook, but somewhere down the road you ended up getting back into it. Are you a trained chef or self taught?
Mark: Mostly self trained through a lot of restaurants in the back of restaurants and and independent just trying to learn the process and
I think I enjoyed that opportunity to learn from other people.
And also learn just by getting burned. Getting cut, try new things I think it gives gives you a closeness to the food.
Andy: I can't agree with you any more than I already do. I'm looking at the burn marks and the cut marks on my hands and arms. You're not truly a food person. Unless you've got those oven. burn marks on your forearms. You know what I mean?
Mark: Oh, yeah, the tiger stripes. Yeah, it's exactly that,
between the oven and the salamander. You get plenty of tiger stripes.
Andy: Yeah, for sure. Well, and then at a certain point, you made your switch over into media. Were you still working at the restaurant at the time? Or did you quit cooking to pursue media full time?
Mark: It really kind of melded on its own. And I started developing cooking events for you know, I've done the the local food Wine Festival north of Boston. I started developing that I worked
on local event as a culinary chair for taste to Hampton Roads and it just spent, you know, I started finding myself spending more and more time developing these outlets for local chefs and local products to kind of showcase themselves because that's the lifeblood of the community is what these local restaurants do. And I found myself doing that more and more and and then I started a I met a fantastic couple definitely Sutton whale out the time. Now she's married, but she was developing a media company called montage that was going to be kind of a lifestyle magazine online and it started out just to be an online website and she she wanted me to cook some recipes that she could video and put on the website and just sound like something fun to do. And that went really well to the point where they got the opportunity to produce a show that was on local cable access and it just started off in one market.
And I cook it was a multi segment show lifestyle show and I started cooking doing the cooking segment for every episode. And that went for three seasons and it bounced the the markets were picking it up and it was all over the place. I mean, I remember getting a phone call that Fresno California picked it up and I was just floored and I think at that point it was like, This is what I need to do. This is fun. This is exciting. You know, it's I got to pick up local ingredients or somebody makes something local here a farm here and share that with the people that I was going to be in front of. I don't think I ever looked back from there. I can see why you ended up getting paired up with kitchen ambush at a certain point and you were with them for about 18 months. Did that just kind of expand your outlook on what it was you were doing it I did. It was a lot of fun. The three of us really kind of all had our part to play and were able to take the abilities each one of us had and put together this concept
We started out just shooting local restaurants in the area we live in, and kind of bringing what they're doing with food and hitting them with a mystery local ingredients to come, you know, to, to make a brand new dish on air. And it just became this fantastic journey of getting somebody who may not be able to afford big ticket marketing and putting them out over the internet, putting them out for people to watch anyway, anybody that has a cell phone could watch it. We went to World Food championships in 2017. And that even, you know, introduced us to more people and we started doing more live streaming or things like that. So it just it's years to kind of be what we've talked about a little bit is food media is evolving rapidly. I mean, it is happening faster than probably any other media concept. I think out there do we did talk about that off air a little bit and it is a really interesting thing that's happening right now. You know, just the other day I was talking
Going to someone that actually has a culinary arts degree, but cooking Well, it's something that they're very passionate about their their true passion is journalism. And so they're trying to figure out how to marry the two and become like you said, a food blogger or well a personality like you're becoming we talked just a little bit about how kind of bizarre falling into that industry is. But that really is the only way to do it's not like you can go to school to become a food blogger or a food journalist, you know, it's something that you just need to find a passion for and fall into. Would you say that's correct? I think so. Now, I think the the schools are starting to catch on to it. So they're starting to just now start building curriculum about that, but really, and truly To me, it's like being a chef or a cook, you know, it's about doing it. It's about just getting out there and deciding, okay, I'm going to do this because you could go and get a culinary degree and it's, it's not going to necessarily prepare you for
400 cover night service, right? It's just the bumps, you're going to go through learning the thing. And so when it comes to the, the food media and journalism aspect of all of this, it's it's literally dive, headfirst, I sat in a open forum, kind of a town hall meeting that Facebook had, they only did about 30 of these across the country. And I was fortunate enough to sit in one they said, you know, by 2020, 80%
of content on any social media platform is going to be video, half of the well more than half I'd say 75% of the cell phones that are being made right now have cameras of the high enough quality that there are video being taken from these cameras that are being put into movies so you can see this is where everything's going everything is about being able to be on the move, be mobile, but watch not necessarily even read as much anymore. It's a lot of watching. Yeah, that's true. the live stream is something that is really
taking the world by storm, it's the true reality TV and it is because so much of what we see and and even some of the live streaming like what Facebook Lives. You can even do edited video and loaded into Facebook a certain way and it'll appear that it's a live video. So everybody's looking to that. And you see that when you watch TV, you see edited for live broadcasts are edited for content and things like that. But people think that chopped that whole competition takes place in about 30 minutes. You know, and everybody looks at you know, a lot of people consider that to be kind of a live TV but if you go from round one to the desert round, and when on chopped. It's about 16 hours for that one episode.
Yeah, I had a conversation with Josh Cooper about this. He was on I think it was season eight of master chef and he talked about that one of his biggest gripes was when they actually tasted his plate, get it already been sitting there for like two and a half hours and that happens and I remember talking to and listening to some of the top judges like Jeffrey Zakarian Yeah, we had a great time.
When I was with him a couple of years ago at the New England Food Festival, he was talking about how they're instructed, you can't judge it necessarily on temp because it's going to sit there for all the TV stuff. It's so crazy that we sit here and we call that reality TV when it's about the furthest thing from reality that you can see I don't know you know Hell's Kitchen as far as the food actually going out might be the closest thing to reality TV we have although you know the personalities of course are pumped up and and Gordon Ramsay has his persona in full effect, you know, but as far as like, real time watching the food go out. That might be the closest thing we have besides what some of these independent media outlets are doing, like yourself. It is and it's you know, and that's the nature of food you like you think about people go and sit at a restaurant, you know, you'll order the food it could take 20 minutes to come out. If it's a high end restaurant that's making food from scratch into order. They can take that
30 minutes or more to come out. So there's a significant amount of time and some less than stellar video of watching somebody stir a pot for 20 minutes or something simmers down to the consistency. You want it to be a nobody wants to watch that on TV. It's true. So that's why reality TV is reality made for the instant gratification public. Ooh, that is a good way of putting it. That's almost like a little, a little mantra for people to know and try to avoid it really is, you know, even with when, when I was with K, one of the things we struggled with was how long some of the shows ran. Because we were trying to bring every knife cut every fall of the fork every whatever it was, but the general public I mean, the rule of thumb is minutes you know, they're going to watch minutes of something they're not going to watch 45 minutes of an entire cooking process. And and I think that's where a lot of people think that
They can't cook is because when you watch a cooking demo or one hour show, people are preparing these master for meals and 18 minutes. They don't realize that actually what's happened is there's about 12 people behind the scenes actually cooking the dish. And they've edited out, edited out the majority of the actual cooking process they've just left in the sizzle. And that might be the reason why food blogging in food journalism as a whole has a big place and really is only now getting ramped up because all of those background things you know they can be edited out in this way as well. But you get something that's much more genuine when you have someone that knows food but doesn't necessarily know how to I don't know let's say top spin it for mainstream media if you know what I mean. Yep, absolutely. And it's you know, you talk to a lot of chefs and really now restaurants are even struggling because of the the
prominence of food media restaurants are struggling when they hire a chef. They need to have this chef that can be out front. They need to have a chef has a big personality. They need to have a chef. They can talk to the public and go on TV and restaurants are struggling. Because not every chef is wired that way. And not every chef wants to be that way either. No, they just want to cook really good food. Not everybody is Bobby Flay. Mm hmm. So
the majority of your best chefs out there, the last thing they want to do is necessarily be in the dining room, much less on TV. And it's interesting how you have found your place on the TV or in front of a microphone. You know, you're undoubtedly a good cook. We've all seen the way you cook, but being able to bring that personality forward and recognizing how rare that is. I think that that's a really good lesson in not just self awareness, but being genuine to yourself.
Seeing, seeing a need and filling a need, you know what I mean? Absolutely. And that's it's like when you're, you're going to go into the food world and everybody wants to know what your focus is. Everybody wants to know what your platform is. There's all kinds of word for it. Your culinary viewpoint, as we've heard 1000 times on on next Food Network Star. If you're going to go into food journalism and food media, you have to know what your focus is. How is it the right you know, when you're taking a shot? Are you do you focus on Cuban food or Mexican food or Japanese or fusion or all these specific types of food media is the same way you know what are you best at? Are you best telling a story and pictures are you best telling a story and words those are the things instead of trying to necessarily fit a mold that you think someone else does? Well it's definitely knowing yourself enough or being around people that will coach you honestly that tell you where your keys are. Because I remember when some of the first things I ever did I look back at them now. And I'm like, Oh my God. I so
it just it takes a little while for you to get your legs under you yeah there's a certain amount of gaining the sea legs when you're doing something like that and you know especially your time it at k i think that that probably lent a lot to what you're doing now with spoony Talk to us a little bit about what's going on with spoony because not everybody knows about them yet, but I'm sure they will become a big name very quickly. Absolutely. I'm really excited about Sony. It was funny when Patrick Mosher as a chef and a friend of mine and he reached out to me months ago about you know, it's it's funny how Facebook connects people together that you may never have come in contact with ever. But months and months and months ago, I got a message from him that they were going to start this radio station and it was going to be all about food 24 hours a day. It was basically going to be Food Network over streaming radio. And I thought that was interesting because I'm like, well, somebody's got to be doing this. There's already got to be a 24
For our day food radio station I mean we have multiple TV stations doing it and we went looking and there's nothing there so they created this and it was originally going on on the dash radio network which is what's installed in Chevrolet's and other car manufacturers that's like a Sirius and XM and all that kind of thing well as we got closer and closer to me working on putting my show together there they signed a deal with I heart media so now spoony this moody radio station when that is now heard on I heart media as well and you're talking about 100 and between all these places we have it it's there's 140 million plus subscribers wow that we you know that can listen to these this programming and it's great because from a versatility standpoint, the station is going to cover all kinds of different things are related to food everything from food sport to, you know, Patrick show food biz pro where he really talks about the nuts and bolts
running a restaurant and being in the food world that way My show is going to be more like a talk show where we just talked to people about like, what you would have around the dinner table, you know how to food experience and and shape your life or bring someone together you know, influence you and we'll we'll have other people on that will have their shows that we'll talk about recipes and talk about health. It's funny to see this come to life because more and more people are getting excited about another avenue to hear a variety of food content. It's so interesting that the audio aspect is really lending itself now because and I was talking about this couple episodes ago, I think I was talking to Andrew Jones about this how just visceral food is and when you talk about food and when you hear the sounds and when you see what the plate looks like it it almost lends itself to the taste and the smell you're able to conjure what that tastes like and
What that smells like, you know, if you have a frame of reference, obviously not everyone does. But I think by and large, most people I'm going to go on a limb and say 75% of people have that frame of reference that they can draw from and being able to hear it and and hear someone talk about it. It elicits that response you know we hear someone talking about food and it makes us salivate. We hear someone talking about something that they're cooking and we feel like we can almost smell it because those memories of this the sights and the smells and the sounds it's all very ingrained in us it's tied into our brains and so I do think that what you guys are doing over at spoony and quite frankly, what we're doing here pardon my forte is eliciting that in people while they listen. It is and if it's funny, because I was talking to a couple of people about it at the Mohegan show and they're like we'll have a radio show about
food. I don't I don't know that that's how that's gonna work. And that's a real thing about every day you get up and you have all these conversations throughout the day. You know, they used to years ago, they used to refer to it as water. Cooler talk course. Nobody knows what that is anymore. It seems like it's frying pan talk. Yeah, now it's Friday. So now they're, they're all having these discussions about what they ate last night, what restaurant they went to. So in the grand scheme, this is something that's been going on forever. We're just now putting it on a platform that you can hear. So it's everybody's been talking about food as long as they've been talking, right? Oh, my gosh, you you just hit the nail on the head. I mean, we always talk about what it is that we're cooking, what it is that we're eating, if we're proud of cooking something if it tasted good, we can't wait to tell our friends about it. And this is part of that movement. I mean, the media that's bringing that conversation to people. It elicits all of those emotions. Mm hmm. Absolutely. And I we all get it. We've all been there. Welcome.
About the dish, we added a restaurant. That was fantastic. I mean, it's, it's funny, I sit at a dinner table with you know, I'm huge. One of my biggest things that I'm a proponent for is the family dinner table still sitting down and having dinner with your family cooking a dish. It doesn't have to be magnanimous, it doesn't have to be something chopped worthy. It just, it needs to be food that you cook together. And you sit around the table and you put technology away and just have dinner. I wrote a blog not long ago, that was just about the importance of the dinner table. But what happens there is just everybody gets around and talks and they talk about what they like and what they had and what they're going to make. And oh my god, I tried this and it didn't work or I didn't have this ingredient. So I tried this and I couldn't believe it actually work. That's food talk. It's about a conversation through what you're cooking. Yep, absolutely. And it's a lot of fun. You know, that's where you get a lot of this enjoyment and you you realize that being able to converse about something that usually is so visual, you know, Instagram is loaded with food pictures, but
I would venture to say that we probably talk more about food than we actually look at it. I 100% agree. And actually that brings me back around to the show that you're doing called family meal. And I love that title. And I love the concept of what you're doing. Do you have feelings towards if a person wanted to get into the food blogging, food media food journalism circle, how important is it to not only have a blog and maybe an Instagram but also something on an audio platform like a podcast?
I think it's huge because your audiences are going to be all over the place you're going to have some people that would love to hear your content because of your unique spin on it that is more visual than auditory and you're going to have others that are just kind of want both and you're going to have some that one video and someone written word, the more you can immerse and make yourself and your message available into the food media platform.
the better off you are do you feel like there's a shotgun blast effect that needs to be done or should people be focusing on a few specific ones
I think that if you have a shotgun blast and and that's something that people get really wary of. And that's because in marketing it's a terrible idea but if and less shotgun and more precision to say I'm going to work on these five platforms I'm going to where I'm going to do a blog because that's search engine optimization. One on One is having a blog. So I'm going to work on a blog, but that blog is going to be the information I use for my podcast. And my podcast is going to be the audio from the video that I'm doing so you can get all of this done as one thing like if I go and shoot a cooking show, I'll have video I'll have audio and I'll have the information I can write down from the show that gives me a podcast a video and a blog do
One thing I yeah. Okay, so you're kind of taking, it's not a shotgun blast approach. But it's like a three prong approach, right, you'll find where the majority, and that gives you analytics that you can go back and use and the side where you're getting the most traction. So maybe you find two of them give you more traction. So at some point as those to get bigger, you can wean off of the other. But in reality, if you are maximizing the time that you have, and you're using every bit of everything that gets done, good example, I was talking to a major company that produces a food related item and they were talking about they spend $150,000 to go to this one show, one of these big food shows between the time the equipment, the gear, the personnel, and they're just not seeing the return on investment. And I said, Okay, well, what are you doing? Well, we set up at the show, we put this big set and we do cook demos. I said, Well, that's great.
But what percentage of the population of this country can see any of this and out of future, it's a fraction of the populace the you want to reach will ever see this massive set you put together will ever see the demo that you did. So since you're already there, you've already put a beautiful set. You've already doing this great demo. Why don't you video it? Just throw video cameras up from different angles. Get yourself the raw footage. How many weeks of the year do you think you could take from three camera angles shooting two days worth of video, you have video now for the rest of the year. Wow. That's
you're going to have traction and content for a year off of that one event. Then it works that same way with an individual you know, that is all right. What can I do that maximizes everything I'm doing. If I'm going to sit down with me. I need a chef many from Food Network and do this interview I'm going to make and it's for my radio show. I'm going to make sure it gets video because when it gets videoed, I know
Now video content of that. And if you were to put it on my social media channels to drive people to my radio show, then I can write a blog about my experience interviewing chef. Many a Food Network. And all of that comes from one thing that I did, but I just maximize every bit of it. I really like that man. That's really, really good advice. And I know that we are really talking kind of the nuts and bolts of the background of the food journalism. And the reason why I'm doing that is because I had someone reached out to me and asked me specifically about becoming a food journalist, and it was just so opportune that I was having you on. I knew that this would be the perfect topic to talk to you about and I really appreciate you doing this deep dive into it. Absolutely. I loved it. It's just like, I love seeing new cooks and chefs come along. I love to see new people get into this because everybody has such a unique perspective. All of us can learn something from each person. Oh, man, that is so true. All right now that you've said you
unique perspectives were at the middle of the show. Let's switch gears a little bit. You are a chef. You have a background in restaurants. Let's talk about the food. My friend. What is it that you like to cook? What does your style Mexican street food, Mexican street food, just straight up, that's where you land. I love it. That's where I it's where I go to. I love the boldness, the flavors, they almost complex simplicity. To me, it's it's food that can reach anybody I mean, you can look in tacos are probably one of the most popular foods in this country. And you'll find them at five star restaurants. And you'll have an experience like I had when I was in Miami where I didn't know if I was even supposed to be in that area. I was in this little tiny hole of a triangle built on the side of another building and had some of the best tacos I've ever had in my life. And so I am all about bold, bright next and inspired flavors, but I like to apply
Apply it to other things and it's so cool what you can do. And one of the biggest things I've known for is is mixing fruits and peppers. So it's a lot of what I'll do is you'll see the I'll do something with an orange habanero glaze or a strawberry AAA or a blueberry jalapeno one of them because what people don't realize is the capsaicin and these peppers is so good for you. But most people can't handle it on their palate. But if you mix peppers and cook peppers with fruit, the natural sugars and the fruit really balance out the capsaicin. So instead of just getting just killed by the heat in these peppers, you blend these two together you get this beautiful flavor that's so new and so bright and you don't have to do much more past the simplicity of what these foods were created to be you know what you just reminded me of and I had completely forgotten about this till just now does the name Russell Sawyer ring a bell that's my buddy yeah yeah, my are great friends.
He helped you with a demo cook that you guys did at the World Food championships. And he was talking about your your blueberry. Was it a blueberry home opinion or blueberry habanero sauce that you made? Yeah, it was a blueberry jalapeno chutney. Yeah. So we randomly had a call in show over at my regular show, booze, booze and BBQ and he called in because I had posted on social media that we were going live. And he talked about his experience cooking with you and how much fun he had and how that chutney that you made was just insanely delicious. And it's so funny now hearing you say that because I again I completely forgot about that. But it's so true. That marriage of the sweetness the fruit and the heat, it goes so well. We have a barbecue restaurant here in the little town that I live in and they're cooking amazing food. I'm going to have them on the show. It's a little bit hard getting them together because obviously they're firing up. The smokers are like three
30 in the morning and so in afternoon they're not super excited about talking to a radio program for an hour but they have this Sweet Peach barbecue sauce and when I was talking to the owner I said man you have got to do like a peach habanero for me please because that have an arrow with the the citrusy flavor that has because maybe you'll not agree with me it Tell me tell me where I'm landing on this. But jalapenos. They have kind of this earthy grassy tone to them where the harmony arrows they almost have a citrusy sweet flavor before that he hits Absolutely. That's why I love pairing oranges with having arrows and holy crap. I mean when you do it. Not only does it give food just as beautiful color but man those those have been arrows. The heat they have is so much smoother than you'd expect. I think even whether it's jalapenos habanero Serrano's. When you're cooking them with fruit you get more of a
creeping heat, and less than a punch in the mouth in a flavorful heat, yes. Yeah, it's not that hot for the sake of hot that you see so many people do these challenges of we're going to just try to eat something that's so hot. It melts inside your mouth. I have like I can. I love hot food. I love spicy food. But I wanted to have a reason, you know, let there be flavor behind it. Not just I just burned by my taste buds. I don't taste anything. It's a macho thing. I wanted to be heat for the sake of flavor. Exactly. I had someone tell me one time that pain is not a flavor. And I remember saying back to him, you're eating the wrong stuff. Man. If you think that spicy is only pain, then you're eating the wrong thing. whoever it is that's cooking that for you. You've got to go a different direction. Yeah, there's no food there. There's no flavor there. I mean, it's it just.
It's heartbreaking because people shy away from peppers. Oh, I can't eat that. It's got peppers. I was at a
We walked around and covered a chocolate, the art of chocolate up there while we were in Connecticut. And the one person had an answer. Oh, chilly chocolate cupcake. The other one had a Chipotle, a chocolate dipped bacon. And there were people are like, Oh, I can't touch that. No, you just have this, this stigma around peppers, that all of it just going to burn you up, give you Harper and all these things. It's not if you use them and enjoy them for what they are. My God, they can give you an amazing amount of flavor. That is very true. And again, like we were talking about the different flavors of the peppers, they can lend themselves in different ways. And now we're talking about it. I'm sitting here thinking, maybe I'm going the wrong direction, talking about a peach habanero, because an earthy flavor, like a Serrano might pair pretty well with that stone fruit, but I don't know I'll just have to experiment with it. And then and then get back to them. If someone came to you with tomatoes, peaches, molasses, brown sugar, and they said go ahead and spice this up for me.
Would you go with I go to chipotle chipotle as Oh yeah. Oh yeah. All day you look at you know when you eat that kind of stuff together and I would also throw in there granny smith apples
the natural pectin and a granny smith apple is a great additive, but that little bit of tartness, that sweet tartness at a granny smith app, you'll find will will be this beautiful bridge gap between the fruit in the pepper
but I would totally go with the Chipotle a because you're going to get that smokiness you get that Earth is and I'll tell you one of the reasons that it works in a balance that I use it for is turkey burgers are this thing that everybody hates, you know, they all want to eat it because it's different and it's catchy and it's healthy and that kind of thing. But the two problems the turkey burgers has no flavor and it's dry. I wrote a recipe years ago that I've been using for turkey burgers ever since. Inside my turkey burger. I dice up some why message later, granny smith apples
Chipotle as you put those two things, of course is your salt and pepper inside your turkey burger. You'll notice a few things happen. You know, one of the things is you get all that smokiness out of a that you get out of a normal burger. You'll now get this in your turkey burger because the Chipotle as the sweetness from the Apple is going to help balance out the Chipotle a and then the moisture from the apple keeps your turkey burger moist the whole time and it's you just see that there's all these different vices and ways to use peppers in your food to take something like a turkey product and make it actually tastes flavorful like a beef product would. And I mean it's crazy to think what these peppers can do if you use them the right way. That is fantastic advice. Man. You are dropping just food for thought. knowledge for life. My friend. You are killing it today.
Thank you, man. I love to talk about this business and this industry and this family that food is so this is a blast. I always go a little too.
And maybe with my turkey burgers, I was mixing a little bit ground pork, like a 7525 or some bacon if I'm trying to bring a little bit that smokiness although I cook so much stuff over an open fire these days that smokiness is not something that is lacking in my food typically right yeah exactly but I do try to bring it because I do feel like just like you were saying with the AAA or with an adobo sauce or something like that that smokiness is being brought out at fire roasted pepper you know something like that that Kevin sandwich of BBQ beat always talks about the my art response that he's always looking for with his food. And that's that char baby. You got to get a little bit of smoke and char in your food. And I assume with you being a proponent of Mexican food or Latin food, you feel the same way I assume. Yeah, absolutely. You know, you really got to there's so many ways you can do.
It now you know, getting a little smoke flavor and I'm not a huge liquid smoke guy. I really like smoke because you know there was a fire but I think that there's so many things by getting different foods that can give you that smoky flavor. Like there's a lot of people Billy. Billy small batch bacon, his pork pork belly he does so much and with his smoking and everything else he doesn't there that when you open that wrapper is pork belly you're just inundated with smell smoke. It's beautiful. It's clean. It's not over done but it's so there and so if you cut up a little of that pork belly and use that in a in a dish you can impart that same smokiness to the dish Mm hmm. I'm gonna have to give that a try. Now I don't think I've tried his bacon. We use flavors. Bacon from JC Fluker. Jake Christopher rubs he started making his own bacon and it is just off the hook but I'm going to have to try and some of the bacon you're talking about to me. Oh yeah.
Be realistic Mark like there's always room for bacon bacon like jelly. There's always room. Yeah, and I used bacon and about every application think I want to use its fat anything. it renders that bacon itself. I put bacon.
I played with bacon so much, you know, making lattice work out of it. So you can make tortilla shells, you know, so you can have your have your taco inside a crunchy bacon shell
all the way to to I remember years and years ago, a good chef friend of mine, Edward story was at a restaurant called Bartow and he was fiddling around trying to get a really good bacon ice cream
and he was cooking bacon and then he cut up the bacon and put it in the ice cream and it just it wasn't doing it and wasn't in part in it. So what we ended up doing in the in the the mix for the ice cream is we just put the rendered bacon fat there's no better way to impart they can flavor it was amazing. Not only is it was an amazing of the ice cream and I could I could get through
A tablespoon of that it was so rich but we started using it to throw a dash of that onto a state. So as that state came right off the grill, you hit it with a dash or you know, a little tablespoon of that bacon ice cream there was so much wrong that it could only be right that is crazy. I've never heard of such a thing yeah I love to play with food and mess around with things that maybe you shouldn't try but let's try it anyway see what happens and that was one of them that just worked
that's fascinating I'm gonna have to try that now I want to see how that would pair with a game like like a buffalo or we just had antelope steaks here not too long ago I'm trying to find some more antelope it had a very rich grassy I don't want to call it gave me but there was a little bit of a gaming is there it made me think like a butter poaching would go really well. But now you've got me thinking about that bacon ice cream. Oh, it's so good.
Good man you you will be really happy you did you were talking about Buffalo and stuff like that i i love venison always have and, you know one of my favorite burgers to make is a 5050 burger with ground venison and ground Mexican Teresa, boo Ha. And that and now you know, put those to you. Good. 5050 salt, pepper. That is probably one of my favorite burgers I've ever come up with. And I'd mix a little, little rubella black pepper mix goat cheese. And one of my new things that I've started making that I can't I'm eating by the jar full now is maple. Steve jalapenos. Oh yes. I saw a recipe for that. I haven't had a chance to meet him yet. Yeah, I put that out a while back because I've just been eating them by the the mason jar full. I'm up to make it about 20. Going through about 20 jalapenos in a jar. Maple syrup. And that will last me maybe two and a half days.
Then I will tell you this syrup. I'll eat the jalapenos on everything. Yeah. Another chef friend of mine, Jason Colton. He came over and he was crying and tears for me trying to go jalapeno for jalapeno with me. But now he's hooked on it. And he's making it all the time and eating all the time. But that maple syrup once you've eaten the jalapenos, two things that maple syrup so amazing for is an immigrant. And the second thing oh my god, it's amazing. The second thing is pouring over pulled pork,
Oh my god, it's ridiculous how good that is. You end up with jalapeno port candy that you won't stop eating.
This is what I'm talking about. Son. My mouth is watering just talking to you about this stuff. I am astonished that I've never tried that before, but it is definitely something that I'm going to have to try now. Oh yeah. You'll love it. You'll love every piece of that when I did that with some
pulled pork I did a poll was it was a or a citrus orange to pull a rub pork and that's how I did my pulled pork and I cooked it down with a bunch of troll ladies and oranges and I use granny smith apple. That is my secret. I use an aerosol it's a bad secrets everybody knows but I use granny smith apples and everything. If I'm cooking onions, I'm cooking up granny smith apples with it. They cook about the same but man do they amp up the flavor. So when I did that pulled pork and I put the maple jalapeno syrup on the pulled pork and I put some of the jalapenos on there and they came out of that and then I made a slaw out of shaved heirloom carrots, shaved granny smith apples and cabbage and then I toss that in a vinaigrette made from the maple help you know that's wild Dude, you're blowing my mind right now we have to post a link to that recipe. So I'm gonna have to go back on your Facebook timeline and find that recipe and throw it up here because I'm telling you I need to make those ASAP
We make our own Escobar a quite a bit here in my house. Nice right? I love Love, love the spicy Mexican carrots that it's just a thing for me I feel like pickling of the carrots really brings out the sweetness of the carrots and so you're just you're taking it to the next level I know that I'm going to make a big batch of that and it is just gonna well it's not gonna last anytime in my household at all. Not it goes fast and I started again in the way I do my cut my carrots is a way that I I got stuck on a food truck one day I was trying to help this guy up in Boston open his food chart for the first time when he called me the one of the other things I've done is I've done restaurant consultation where I go in and fix restaurants that are struggling and this guy calls me I think from the way our conversations when I thought he'd been on the road multiple times so I go out with them on the truck to kind of see what a day is like for him to try to figure out where is Mrs. Where I found this is the first time he's ever hold truck out. There is not a thing
Set up in this truck to run production and you're going to put a food truck out in Boston. You better be ready to hump. That's my list. So I get out there. I like all right, I need knives something we have to set up this sandwich station. And he didn't have anything. The only thing I had was a potato peeler. So I started you started shaving celery and carrots with a potato peeler. And still now To this day, that's how I do for my pickled carrots is I shave a carrot down with a potato peeler because it makes the best ribbons and because of how thin that makes it they pickle beautifully. Huh? Oh, and consistent to Yeah, absolutely consistent. And then when they they start to break down a little bit. And that pickling liquid they but they still hold up as ribbons. There's the mouth feels great. Easy to bite through. So it's one of those learn something by necessity days. That's super funny, man. That's super funny. I got it. You're talking about all the stuff that I have to try now. Like that's the hardest part of doing the show by the way.
Is after I talked to people about what it is that they do or what their favorite recipe is. I have to go and try it. And I'm so bad about taking photos and videos of what I'm cooking.
But I need to, I need to start doing more of it. Because I remember the photos that you posted of those Maple jalapenos that you did
my mouth again, my mouth just started watering. Just hearing about it. It was just so astonishing to see what you were able to do. I do have to ask. We're getting near the end of the show, but I have to ask what some of your favorite dishes are. But I'm going to take it a little different direction. First of all, I want to know what your favorite taco is. Oh, good question. Because man, there are so many.
My favorite taco has to be a taco stuff but coffee. Really? Oh god. Yeah, man. It's so good. A little.com fee little just simple.com fi little dice done in love.
When they add the diced apples in there, and just a light vinegar at man, you cannot go wrong with that taco. Wow. I'm gonna have to make that and then send the recipe over to duck char. Because those guys are going to die for that. And I'll tell you if I and I need to make it again. I need to make it because I want to put when I do the duck on fee, I didn't want to take the shredded duck and steep it with the jalapenos in the maple syrup. And throw that on there with a nice, you know, Granny Smith. Apple onion slaw, dude, what? Yeah, that's, that's where I'm going with with tacos. Wow. Okay. All right. That's we're off to a good start here. We're off to a good start
now. Non non taco favorite thing to cook hit me with it.
Let's see. Not
more than anything. I love just experimenting with burgers and just the burger. The whole burger as a platform is probably one of the most fun
You really can't screw up things to do because you could decide, man, I really like Italian food and take all the elements from Amazon. Yeah. and turn it into a burger and just have fun. So, yeah, burgers all the way playing with burgers. I love that. I love that. That's a good point about the lasagna. Because when you said that, at first, I was thinking to myself, you know, we could fry up like, spaghetti into patties and then put a burger on that but yeah, no, Alyssa is a great way to go, huh? Yeah, it's, it's so versatile of what you can do with a burger. You know, just playing with them. Like little for me. It's it's, it's not just playing with the meat mix, or what proteins are going to use play with all of it. Yeah, I started making that I don't really I'm not a huge catch up band. And so I started making something that I jokingly called campaign yo and it's it's basically tomatoes, apples, jalapenos all cooked down into my version of a catch up
and holy crap, it's good. It's simple. Just got a handful of ingredients. So you just let those ingredients do what they do and cook
And a lot of times I'll use the scraps where I'm apples or whatever it is. And, and some brown sugar, salt, pepper and just let it soak down. So now you can start building with the things you put around the burger. And so yeah, I would say burgers is that that non taco thing. Well then sauce that you make is that just literally tomatoes, onions, apples, salt and pepper. I mean you're are you adding much else to it,
Paul, but load all he knows. A lot of times, I'll add some, you know, the brown sugar, a little lime juice now just squeeze alive in there. And it's it's literally one of the things I look in the fridge and see what I've got. I put grapes in it before I'll just look in the fridge and see what I have. So you're just kind of looking for that flavor profile you're looking for sweet spicy tomato we and then whatever can kind of bring those flavors out. That's what you're looking for. Yeah, just what you know it's have fun. And it's funny because when I make Pico I haven't made a Pico with tomatoes and you
years when I make Kiko now it's. One of my favorite things to make Kiko with is a combination of black and green grapes instead of tomatoes. Hmm, what about tomatoes? Oh, I will eat tomatoes. As long as the day goes. I love to make mashed sweet potatoes with tomatoes in it. I've never heard of that before. Yeah, it was I had them they were sitting on the counter staring at me and I wanted to make that was kind of make smash three potatoes. So I wrote it off the tomatoes when I wrote it off the cube sweet potatoes and blended them all together. Holy crap. Was it good? You're blowing my mind. Dude. You are blowing my mind. Okay, tell me that. Food is fun. No, I get it. Food is fun. But But you are taking combinations that I never would have thought of. This is this is why you are who you are. Because you have got this insight. This is really shocking. I'm going to get totally sidetracked. I have to ask you one more thing because we are part of the boost moves and BBQ network I have to ask.
What's your favorite barbecue item is
Oh man, it goes so deep. I'm such a pulled pork guy. I love pulled pork really just good juicy messy pulled pork. You are speaking my language and again coming back with the tacos pulled pork tacos are just a thing of beauty they are and I'll tell you if you get it going back to that Pico thing I love a good tool for taco on a corn tortilla has to be a corn tortilla but that all tacos have to be a corn tortilla but you take make Kiko for it and instead of using tomatoes, get a big ass pink papaya dice data and use that instead of a tomato on your next call for taco.
Ooh, ooh, ooh, you're making my toes tingle now, buddy.
Remember, every time I use onions, I use granny smith apples so that Pico has onions, granny smith apple.
pink papaya you know salt pepper oil gonna get all that but those things man it will elevate your Pico game brilliant dude brilliant I don't know you know Mark I know you we've talked several times I've met you once but I'm really starting to think that you might be a savant
that's a really that's a really nice word for man your brain works weird
it may work weird but brother I love it and I love talking to you and I cannot thank you enough for coming on the show remind everyone where they can find you and what you're doing my friend absolutely I'll tell you it's an absolute honor to be on your show and you can find me on Facebook Mark com where you can find spoony radio on Facebook it's spoony radio com you can also look us up on I heart media under spoony radio, and my show will be family meal. I love that man. I cannot wait for family meal together.
Come out we're going to make sure to blast that out on our social media as soon as you release and it's only onward and upward for you and for the spoony network I'm so excited to see where you guys take that and honestly I just can't wait to see how far you're able to take this whole ride because you truly are on the forefront of the food journalism and I appreciate that about you brother well Thank you man and I love everything you're doing and I think people like us people like you then and the others that are out there they're just doing really good things that are bringing families back to dinner tables 100% agree this is what food is all about is bringing the family back together and by the way when you're out there. Checking out mark and spoony and everything that they have going on. Make sure you stop by booth booth, BB Q. com slash pardon my fork. That's where you can find not just this episode, but all of the previous episodes plus photos, videos, links to everything that we've been talking
About and all of these episodes transcribed into an easy reading format. lso find us on facebook.com/pardonmyfork. We got lots of fun stuff going on over there. Cory Ann, my wife. She loves food puns. So we're always putting up random food puns whenever we can. Again, Mark Thanks so much and we will talk to you later my friend. Thank you, sir. Have a good day. And you guys thank you so much for tuning in. Thanks for telling a friend and we will see you next time.