Podcast Episode 66: True Beef in Austin
Director David Barrow discusses two of his documentary films -- Farm City-State and True Beef -- that focus on the food scene in Austin, Texas.
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In this episode of the Find Dining Podcast, director David Barrow discusses two of his documentary films: Farm City-State and True Beef. We discuss urban farming and the demise of the Home Economics class.
- Visit the Farm City-State website
- Visit the True Beef website
- Johnson's Backyard Garden is the largest CSA in Austin
- The Boggy Creek Farm was a pioneer in Austin urban farming
- Wheatsville Food Co-op is an Austin grocery store that features local produce
- Urban Roots is an urban farm for Austin youth
- Ten Acre Organics and Agua Dulce are aquaponics farms
- Cooking with Connally is a high school culinary education program
Food for Thought:
- Q: How many different lean cuts of beef are in a cow?
- A: 29.
Out of the Frying Pan Picks:
- Best Beef Dish: Burnt Ends at Franklin Barbecue
- Where to Buy Beef: Bastrop Cattle Company and Central Market
- Favorite Documentary about Food: A Place at the Table
Seth: This is Episode Number 66 of the Find Dining Podcast. Welcome to Austin. Hello and welcome to the Find Dining Podcast. I'm your host. My name is Seth Resler. And this is the podcast for foodies who love travel and travelers who love foods.
Here's how it works, every week, we talk to somebody new about their local culinary scene, some sort of expert, whether it's a chef or event organizer or as is the case today, a documentary filmmaker who's making films about food.
Right off the top, I want to ask for a couple of things, first, head over to iTunes, subscribe to this podcast in iTunes and while you're there, leave a review that helps other people discover the show. Also, we are now getting all of these episodes up on YouTube, so you can check out our YouTube channel and you can subscribe right there, listen to them. And then, you know, while you're at work, you're doing whatever it is you do, just pop up an extra tab in your browser and open up and episode to this podcast and listen in and share that with other people over social media, over Facebook, over Twitter, that helps us out quite a bit.
Let’s turn to our filmmaker, it is David Barrow who we've actually spoken to before. You and I talked about 10 months ago, David, so it's good to have you back on the show.
Interviewee: No, thank you so much, Seth. I really appreciate. And I got to tell you, we traveled to Rhode Island last year and your podcast came in quite handy all the way from Texas to Rhode Island.
Seth: Oh, good. That's great to hear. So last time we talk to you, you were working on a film called Farm City-State, set out to answer the question, Can Austin Feed Itself, and you are in fact in Austin, Texas.
Interviewee: Yes, sir.
Seth: So we're going to get an update on that. We're going to find out where that project is. You've also got a new project that you're working on, a new film called True Beef from Pasture to Plate which I think is really interesting. So we're going to talk to you a little bit about that.
Before we get into all that stuff though, I know you've got a trivia question for me. So what is it?
Interviewee: All right. Are you ready?
Seth: I'm ready.
Interviewee: How many different lean beef cuts are in one cow?
Seth: How many different lean beef cuts are in one cow?
Interviewee: Kind of makes you hungry, doesn't it?
Seth: It does kind of make me hungry, but I have no idea. I assume a lot of meat comes off of a single cow.
Interviewee: Oh, yes.
Seth: You could probably feed a family for quite a while off one cow. I don't know. We're going to come back to that.
Interviewee: Sounds great.
Seth: See if we can figure that out. While we're thinking about that, let’s talk about Farm City-State. Let’s talk about this film that you were working on last time we talk to you. It was about 10 months ago. First of all, tell me what the project is. Give me sort of the overview.
Interviewee: Well, Farm City-State ask the question, what if an entire city can feed itself. And whenever I moved to Austin, a little over three years ago, I noticed something quite different here. There's a huge strong community of local food advocates here. It's so strong here. You have people from all different walks of life that supported and it was growing immensely. And in the time that we did the movie, you know, there was maybe 10 or a dozen restaurants sourcing locally and now there's 4 or 5 dozen. The Farmers Markets went from 4 to 13 in the time that I've been here. And so these are just examples that I of that growth.
Seth: Wow. So you've seen the movement explode that fast?
Interviewee: Yes, exactly.
Seth: What do you think is causing then?
Interviewee: I think there are several different things that caused it, it's public education is one thing that's causing it. People are actually dedicating time towards sourcing, cooking and sharing their local food. And then finally, Austin is booming in population.
Seth: And what's driving that population? Is it tech that's going on there? Is it just – I know it's just a cool – it's one of my favorite cities. It's a cool city to live in.
Interviewee: There's always been a great music industry here and I think that with the growing tech industry and then steady employment. Texas has been known to always have steady employment and Austin is a city that offers more employment and a standard that many other Texas cities can't.
Seth: And I know you've got UT Austin there. Do people come in to go to UT Austin and do they stay?
Interviewee: Oh, yeah. I think that was one of the big sayings is that, you know, UT Austin has maybe 48,000, 49,000 undergrads and these people, they moved here and they go to school here and then they end up loving it because of the entertainment, because of the arts, because of the job security, because of the dining, because of the less expensive standard of living that it takes to live here than maybe, you know, New York, Chicago, LA or anything like that. And so they end up staying and they love it and then they just build the community even further.
Seth: So that explains why the population is going up, but does the population going up in turn cause more people to locally source their food?
Interviewee: I would hope that it's education.
Interviewee: People are seeking out good healthy organic sustainable food.
Seth: Talk to me a little bit about the film and tell me a little bit about who Brent Johnson is.
Interviewee: Right. So Brent Johnson is one of the stars of the film. He is the owner of Johnson’s Backyard Garden which is the largest CSA and the largest farm here in Austin, Texas. He literally is the best example of someone who started in his backyard on a quarter of acre and now, he has almost 200 acres in two different farms in East Austin. They provide food to, you know, big names like Whole Foods, Wheatsville Co-op, H-E-B which is a huge supermarket chain here in Texas all the way down to the community co-ops such as Rosewood Community Market and In.gredients which is a grocery store here in East Austin to having their CSA to being, you know, 12 to 13 to 14 farmers markets.
Seth: Okay. And so the film follows him around for a bit or…?
Interviewee: Yeah. One of the sections follows him, sees his growth why he's become successful and then, you know, shows where he learned this from. I mean, he learned from one of the oldest urban farms here in the nation which is Boggy Creek Farm. Carol Ann and Larry Butler started Boggy Creek back in 1992. And even though that seems fairly recent, they've taught everybody in this area and he really gives props to them for everything that they've done.
Seth: So, as you followed people through this documentary, what were some of the challenges that they faced? I mean, what are the challenges in a city feeding itself?
Interviewee: Well, obviously, distribution is going to be a great challenge. You got to be able to get this food out there and the least expensive way and the least environmental impactful way as well. So the farmers markets are always a good choice, but that doesn't get as many people. But if you get local food at grocery stores, you're talking about these Mecca’s where a lot of people can go and a large amounts of food can be distributed fairly easily. And most people want to go shop to grocery store because they can buy their toilet paper next to their broccoli, next to their carrots, next to their toiletries, next to, you know, some cheese or whatever they want and that's super important.
Seth: So does that mean the challenge for local growers and local food producers is getting their products into these grocery stores or is it about convincing people not to go to the grocery stores in the first place?
Interviewee: That is a really good question. Obviously, the majority of our public’s going to want to go to grocery stores. So if a farmer can grow enough food in a, you know, in a long enough period of time where the grocery store can actually source from them because, you know, they're going to need 80 bunches of kale not 5
Interviewee: They're going to need 100 pounds of tomatoes or potatoes not 10. So if a farmer can keep up with that demand, it's fairly easy to get into a grocery store and then people will buy it.
Seth: Is it? I mean, meaning that, you know, well, Safeway or Costco or Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s, they are open to working with local small farmers?
Interviewee: Yes, that is starting to change. Whole Foods is actually going back to where they were whenever they started and they are sourcing more and more from local farms. And then H-E-B which is, you know, one of the largest retailers or groceries in the State of Texas, you know, they're starting to source locally. And then the next point is making sure that the general public knows what is local and what is not so that they can source what is local.
Seth: Which is essentially marketing.
Seth: And PR and awareness.
Seth: So how are you seeing people do that?
Interviewee: There are specific signs, a lot of grocery stores, specifically Wheatsville, you know, they do the same where they put signs up and it would be like, these carrots, and then they will put the mileage away from where the farm is. So they'll say, 4.7 miles, for instance, for, you know, a couple of farms here in Austin from the Wheatsville location. And then they might have conventional carrots from California or Mexico or wherever and then they will say, of course, 4,000 miles or 2,000 miles.
Seth: Right. Now, that's great that these grocery stores are doing this. Why are they doing it and what do they get out of it? What is the advantage to them?
Interviewee: Well, there's greater demand for local food in the Austin area now and so people will actually go to their grocery stores and ask for it because the farmer’s market is not open at 9:00 PM.
Interviewee: But if someone goes to the grocery store at 9:00 PM, they still want local cuisine. All they have to do is ask.
Seth: So this literally is the case of people voting with their dollars.
Interviewee: Exactly. It is definitely a financial, political and huge statement that people are going to make.
Seth: Got you. So in the course of making this film, Farm City-State, and I don't want to give away the ending whether Austin can feed itself or not, but can Austin feed itself?
Interviewee: You're just going to have to watch the film.
Seth: It's not like a cliff hanger, is it? It's not like it's – you're not setting up for the sequel, are you?
Interviewee: There's no sequel on this one.
Interviewee: It's no cliff hanger, but it answers questions to the best of our ability at this moment.
Seth: Got you. What was the most surprising thing that you learned in the course of making this film?
Interviewee: The most surprising thing was the family that we followed for 30 days. They were tasked with sourcing locally for 30 days and hearing their daughters basically go, “Oh, my gosh, there's real food production in Austin. We didn't know that there's these urban farms growing food. We didn't know that it was less expensive to actually buy the seasonal produce from these places.” They didn't know that they could have so much fun and learn where their food comes from, how a chicken grows and what a rabbit is like without these urban farms. So the education, the nutritional and then there's just the social aspect, these kids, they just loved it. And so that was really awesome and surprising.
Seth: So talk to me a little bit about urban farms because I hear that phrase turn around a lot but I'm not very sure exactly what it means. What is an urban farm mean?
Interviewee: Well, an urban farm, which is funny because we just redefined and then Austin, Texas recently by the City of Council…
Seth: So there's an actual political definition of what an urban farm is?
Interviewee: Yes. We just did an urban farm ordinance update here in Austin, some for the good, some for the bad, but the definition of an urban farm is anything above 1 acre and below 5 acres that grows food for public consumption and production.
Seth: Meaning, not just your own backyard garden that you grow stuff for yourself.
Seth: Okay. So anybody who's growing food that they then sell…
Interviewee: At a farm stand or the farmers market or any other outlet.
Seth: How many urban farms are there in Austin?
Interviewee: Well, there's a core four, House Bar Farm, Springdale Farm, Rain Lily Farm and Boggy Creek Farm. But there are small ones popping up all over the place, one of them Urban Roots which is actually a really nifty place where high school kids go out and they learn commerce, they learn farming, they learn the social skills and they're growing food. And then the money that they raise from selling their produce at the farmers market goes towards their college education and other future endeavors. So that's one.
And then there's the Ten Acre Organics which is an all hydroponic farm. There's the Urban Patchwork Neighborhood Farms which is literally a series of people’s yards put together to grow for a CSA. There's the Agua Dulce farms which is another aquaponics. And then there's other smaller ones popping up all over the fact, Green Gate farms which is featured in the film as well, Tecolote Farm. They're becoming really, really popular here in Austin, Texas.
Seth: What is an aquaponics farm?
Interviewee: Water and fish helping to grow plants.
Seth: Oh, that's cool.
Interviewee: Yes, very cool.
Interviewee: And so basically, water gets pumped into a tank where fish live, eat, breathe and breed and, of course, whenever they feed the water with their waste, that then gets pumped into where plants are and the nitrogen from the waste and the water from the fish tank did feeds herbs, greens, et cetera. And it's a closed loop system. There's fairly low amounts of pollution. It doesn't take a great amount of water because it's circulating all the time. It is one of the most sustainable ways of growing food.
Seth: And what kind of food does a farm like that produce? I mean, are we talking seaweed and kelp and things like that? Are we talking…?
Interviewee: Everything from the cilantro on your tacos to the chard that you're going to cook for dinner tonight with that pork roast maybe.
Seth: Wow. Very cool. All right. So when we talked 10 months ago, you, I think, were just starting the editing process of the film.
Seth: So, that's now complete and you're now getting ready to start showing it, right?
Interviewee: Right. So, we finished in late August and we've had a couple of private screenings for, you know, the people involved, some of our investors and then some other filmmakers here in Austin that gave great advice to, you know, make it a better picture. And, you know, now we're ready for our public showings. It will start going to small film festivals in January and then it's going to travel around the states in late 2014.
Seth: So we think this fall, people will be able to see it in theaters?
Interviewee: Oh, yes, or even libraries, there's going to be some schools that are going to be on the tour. It's a really exciting time to be able to share this all over the nation.
Seth: All right. And we'll post the trailer up on the Taste Trekker’s website so that people can check it out and people can see it. I have a question with a film like this, just starting to show it to people, how do you make sure that you're not just preaching to the converted? How do you get it out to other people who may not, you know, necessarily be into the local farm movement or may not know anything about it at all?
Interviewee: Exactly. So, first off, that is one of the things about getting it into schools because if you showed at theaters, you know, your online campaigns, your, you know, local gardening club or your local urban farming club or something like that, you know, they're going to get their peers to come out and, of course, you're going to be preaching to the choir.
Interviewer: Now, we love those people, right, because they're just going to make it stronger and then their word of mouths will be able to spread it. But if we get the movie in the schools and then we do other gorilla marketing campaigns like flyers, showed to churches in lower income neighborhoods all around the nation, showed in community centers that are supported by, you know, leaders of their respective communities. If we get it to those people, hopefully we'll have a wider breadth and more educational piece for all levels of our socioeconomic status here in the United States.
Seth: So let’s say I am a teacher or I am a church leader or even a chef, you know, somebody who works in the restaurant food industry, food producer who hears about this documentary, goes, ”Oh, this sounds cool, I want to show it, I want to get involved.” Is there something that they can do to help bring it to their city, bring it to their town?
Interviewee: Email me at FarmCityState@Gmail.com. They can do…
Seth: All right.
Interviewee: Or really, all they have to do is check out the website and if you notice that we are in your area in the United States, contact us. And if we can send a DVD or if we can send one of our representatives that we have in cities all over the nation, we'll try to get it to you as quickly as possible.
Seth: All right. Well, congratulations on finishing the film. I'm really excited to see you get it out there. We're going to come back in just a second. We're going to talk about your new project which is True Beef from Pasture to Plate and we're also going to get an answer to your trivia question. So that's coming up.
Okay. Before we talk to David about his film True Beef, I do have one small favor to ask which is that if you enjoyed listening to this podcast, please do me a favor, tell somebody about it. Just spread the word, just let them know, “Hey, there's this great podcast. You can find it over at TasteTrekkers.com/podcast. I love it and you should listen.” Send an email. Tell somebody on Facebook. Let them know over Twitter, all right?
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All right. So please spread the word. Thanks so much.
This is the Find Dining Podcast and we are talking to David Barrow. He's the filmmaker behind Farm City-State which sets out to answer the question, can Austin feed itself. And he's got a new project called True Beef, from Pasture to Plate. And we're going to talk about that project in just a second here. But first, you had a trivia question for me. Give it to me one more time.
Interviewee: How many different cuts of lean beef are in a cow?
Seth: How many different cuts of lean beef are in a cow?
Interviewee: Sure thing.
Seth: I'm going to guess, it's less than 20. Is that right?
Interviewee: You're cold.
Seth: I'm cold. It's more than 20?
Interviewee: It's more than 20.
Seth: A lot more than 20?
Interviewee: Then I would give it away.
Seth: All right. All right. 22.
Interviewee: No, that is incorrect.
Seth: All right. Well, how many cuts are there?
Interviewee: 29 lean cuts of beef.
Seth: 29 lean cuts of beef. What are we talking about here when we say lean cuts of beef?
Interviewee: Let’s see here. You can have lean ground beef, you can have round tip roast, round steak, shape cuts, sirloin tips, chuck shoulders, top loins, flank steaks, tri-tips, tenderloin roast, T-bone steaks.
Seth: And are we including things like beef tongue in there as well or…?
Interviewee: No, no, no, no.
Seth: So this is just sort of the muscle meat on the body of the cow?
Seth: So, how does one learn about all this? I mean, you know, as much as I've been doing this podcast and talking to people, we're primarily talking to people who cooked. But there is this connection, the people who, for example, the butchers who raise and have to learn how to cut.
Seth: What did you find out about doing all this in the process of making your film?
Interviewee: Well, this is what's interesting is because there's such a wealth of knowledge out there and because chefs are starting to seek out where their food comes from, that's what the project is all about. There's a high school here in Texas that their culinary kids are going from pasture to plate. They're learning how to raise cattle, how to process cattle, how to butcher cattle and then how to cook in all different manners.
I think we're really going to start seeing this all around the nation with our high schools, our culinary schools that are on the college level and then even on the home level. But for beef specifically, almost every state has a beef council. And the Texas Beef Council was one of the ones that is helping our culinary school, Connally, to learn all about beef.
Seth: So this is fascinating. So the new film, True Beef, focuses on these high school students. First of all, the idea that culinary arts are being taught in high school is very interesting to me. That seems like a very young age and something that you don't see very – I mean, you know, we had home ec when I was growing up, you know, and there's a little bit of sewing and I don't actually remember much cooking involved. So is this common to have a culinary arts program in high school?
Interviewee: Well, you're correct, where we used to have home ec and then we’d lost home ec and when you think about it, shop class and all this other real tangible skills that we used to learn in high school, those were lost but they're coming back.
Seth: And they were lost primarily, the budget cuts, is that what happened?
Interviewee: Exactly. Budget cuts and, you know, our government decided to teach more book smarts for a couple of decades and then send people to college.
Seth: It's very rare that I need to calculate the volume of the sphere. But balancing my check book, it's something that I could use quite often and I felt like I actually never learned that in school.
Interviewee: I completely agree with you, Seth. I think we should learn more stuff like that. So, we're getting these tangible skills come back like the culinary arts, like the agricultural arts. There's schools all across the nation that are teaching people how to show a steer, how to raise a pig, how to work with chickens and other livestock. And so, this one culinary school, it's the very first culinary school in the State of Texas and one of the very few in the United States, that the culinary students are going to get an MBA. That's a Masters of Beef Advocacy and that's a pasture to plate process.
Seth: Oh, that's very cool. Now, this is a school that is dedicated to the culinary arts or is this a program within a normal high school?
Interviewee: It's a program within an existing high school. The regular high school has everything from English to Science to Spanish courses to French courses to cheerleading and football and everything else that a normal high school has. It just has a culinary arts program with a massive culinary arts kitchen that you would see in any restaurant.
Seth: Wow. Okay. And have you already started filming with these kids or this is something that you are setting up and preparing to do?
Interviewee: We started filming in September when the school year started and we end-filming in May when the school year stops.
Seth: So what are you finding as you work with these high school kids?
Interviewee: We're finding about how the fact that a lot of these high school kids are taking the culinary arts program because they can't afford to eat lunch. We're finding out that, you know, that they work outside of school, that they have 11 brothers and sisters and it's tough to even make it to school or have the right shoes because your brother had to wear them to go to work. We're learning that, you know, they have just as many problems as any of us adults. But they absolutely love cooking. They have a passion for it and there's something magical about seeing them, you know, pull out a crown roast or do Beef Wellington. I saw them do Beef Wellington the other day and they pulled it out marvelously.
Seth: Now, how has their economic status impact their ability to prepare food? Does that make it harder? I mean, are they cooking things in class that they wouldn't be able to because they wouldn't be able to afford the ingredients or that they learn how to stretch their dollar further?
Interviewee: They actually learn how to stretch their dollar further. And then we found out after a dinner with all the parents, that culinary kids cook for their older parents and a couple of guests including myself, that the parents were so happy that, you know, two, three months into this program, their kids are getting to learn to cook. And so the parents who both work jobs usually, they get to come home and their kids are starting to cook dinner.
Interviewee: You know, yes…
Seth: The parents are thrilled.
Interviewee: The parents are thrilled but they're also being able to taste things that they've never had before and it's amazing. You know, you put a vegetable on a plate, you put a carbohydrate on a plate, you put a fruit on a plate and, you know, that's well rounded and then you add just a small cut of beef or any other cut of meat and, you know, that's a great dinner. And so the kids are learning that, you know, you don't need a 12-ounce steak, but at a 3.5-ounce steak or serving, that will work. And you can make that 12-ounce steak fit three or four people in their family.
Seth: So let’s talk about the importance of beef to the State of Texas.
Interviewee: Texas as a state is the largest producer of beef in the United States. There are tens of thousands of cattle ranchers here in the State of Texas. The list goes on and on about how important beef is to our agricultural industry. I mean, it's in the billions of dollars for agricultural gain and commodity in the State of Texas. I think that there are over a dozen types of cattle that are grown for beef production in the State of Texas.
Seth: Wow. Okay. So, the answer is very important and yet one of the statistics that struck me when I was reading through your Indiegogo page for this project is the fact that 75% of farmers and ranchers in Texas are over the age of 59.
Interviewee: Yes. There is a large percentage of farmers and ranchers that are getting up their age and about to retire and maybe this is one of the reasons why schools are starting agricultural programs in their school so that we can replenish this workforce. The largest number of farmers and ranchers actually is over 70 years old. There are 57,711 farmers and ranchers that are over 70 in the State of Texas.
Seth: Wow. So what does this mean, I mean, are we headed for a crisis in 10, 20 years if we aren't able to replenish this labor force?
Interviewee: Yeah. But I consider that a job opportunity.
Seth: Sure. But in America, we have placed a lot of emphasis on people going to college, people becoming doctors and lawyers and Wall Street accountants and heading over to Silicon Valley. And the average image I think of farmers when it comes to mind is, you know, the guy in the overalls, you know, and the straw hat. What does this all mean?
Interviewee: That's a really good question, Seth. We have to change that chain of thought. Our farmers and ranchers aren't the people in overalls and straw hat or anything like that. They are people utilizing technology to push their industry forward. They are people who are teaching their kids family values, morals, work ethic. They are people that are going, “Hey, listen, maybe I shouldn't grow one type of breed because it doesn't do well in drought,” and Texas which, you know, has just suffered one of the worst droughts in its history. They decided to raise another breed of cattle that are more resistant to that drought. So, you know, they do just as much research as any other doctor, lawyer, dentist, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. They are smart people that just work with the environment, not a ganster.
Seth: Right. So you're following these high school kids from pasture to plate, as you say, what's the most interesting thing you've learned in the process of making this film?
Interviewee: So far, there's two things that have really struck me. One of them is that these kids ask some of the most amazing questions. We go and visit a couple of these ranches and they get a tour. You know, they may see how a cow was weighed or weaned or anything like that and they ask questions like, what happens whenever you feed it later in the day, what happens when finished on grain or, you know, it's completely pasture-fed. These kids are more intuitive than I think I was or any of my friends were whenever I was their age.
Interviewee: That's been one of the most amazing things. I'm so inspired by these kids and their ability to learn quickly. They are sponges.
Seth: So now I got to know, what happens when you feed the cow earlier in the day?
Interviewee: Well, that's one of the goals is that the farmers actually feed them early in the day so that during the hotter part of the day, the cow is not walking around, that the cow will actually sit in some shade and not work off all that hard earned beef.
Seth: All right. So what stage is this film in at this point? Where are you with this film?
Interviewee: We're in the middle of production.
Seth: I know that you've got an Indiegogo project going on right now. You're trying to raise $15,000. If people wanted, you know, help support the project, what will that money be used for?
Interviewee: A lot of that money will be used for the traveling of the students, the traveling of the film crew, licensing of certain archival footage, DVD duplication, marketing, educational demonstrations because some of these people that we have in the film such as Aaron Franklin who, you know, has the best barbecue in the nation right now. You know, we make sure that we are throwing some money back towards those places. We make sure that our professional mentors that are overseeing the film crew, that their time is compensated. And then, of course, just getting the bus to take all the kids around to these field trips, it costs money, Seth.
Seth: Right, I'm sure it does. I'm sure it does. So when do you hope to get this film out so that people can see it?
Interviewee: We hope to get this film out in late summer, early fall of 2014. In January, we'll actually do a dual responsibility where we'll continue filming but we already have started post production as well. All of our footage up to date is already organized, labeled and I'm going to do a paper edit over Christmas break. And then starting in fall, we have a small group of editors that are going to start putting everything together so that, you know, by April, May, we know exactly what we need to film to finish it up.
Seth: All right, good. So late next year. Again, we should hopefully be able to see this one, too.
Interviewee: But of course.
Seth: All right. Very cool.
Interviewee: One more thing. One of the important parts of this is that it's not just going to be a documentary but it's a digital video curriculum that is going to be placed in not only Texas culinary school and home ec classes all over the state, but there's already been other states that have contacted us to be able to use it as their curriculum because it's going to have a huge educational slant.
Seth: So, again, if I'm an educator and I'm interested in learning more about how maybe I can incorporate this into my school, just reach to you?
Interviewee: Yeah, but of course, you can go on the website which is TrueBeefTheFilm.com and you can get our contact information on that site. We also have a Facebook and a Twitter that you can locate in the Culinary Chef at Connally and myself to answer all those emails, tweets and Facebook posts.
Seth: All right. Sounds good. Are you ready to play a little game?
Interviewee: Let’s do it, Seth.
Seth: All right. This game is called Out of the Frying Pan. Here's how it works, I'm going to ask you for a series of rapid fire answers to my questions and just tell me the first thing that pops in your head. You ready?
Interviewee: Let’s do it.
Seth: All right. What is the best beef dish that you have eaten in the course of making this film?
Interviewee: Best beef dish that I have eaten in the course of making this film had to been the braised ribs. Those were amazing.
Seth: Where would those from?
Interviewee: The braised ribs were actually done by the culinary students and then Aaron Franklin’s Burnt Ends were at Franklin’s Barbecue which is his place on East 11th Street in Austin.
Seth: Nice. Are there any great places for people to buy beef?
Interviewee: There are several different places that you can buy some great cuts of beef. First off, you can go to Bastrop Cattle Company which has farmers market vendors and then you can order online. And then the other place is really Central Market or Whole Foods. You can go there and their butchers are highly trained and quite knowledgeable and they will be able to pride you with any cut you want for whatever sort of dish you want.
Seth: Nice. Tell me about one really interesting person you've met in the course of making this film.
Interviewee: One of the most interesting people that I have met is most likely one of the culinary students. His name is Datrionne and he has 11 brothers and sisters and he, not only wants to be a chef, but a mechanical engineer.
Seth: Wow. That's a variety of interest.
Interviewee: Yeah, he has a variety of measures but he knows how to cook and he's the leader of their ProStart team which is educational journey that do competitions not only in the city but in the state, but then nationally on how you cook dishes, how they're timed and how they taste.
Seth: Let me ask you this, what is the most difficult challenge in making a documentary about food like you do?
Interviewee: Not eating all your subject matter.
Seth: Is there a challenge in making it look good that maybe you don't have with other subject matters?
Interviewee: Yeah, there's always going to be a challenge because, I mean, obviously, these kids are still learning and they may not plate like a professional chef yet, so making sure that the dishes don't run together or that the lighting is good. We really have to be on our game to make sure that the lighting looks good and that these kids, you know, are seen exactly how anybody else would see them whenever they walk in, with the energy, passion and love that they have.
Seth: Now, I know with food photography, there's an art to it and quite often, you know, the food that you're photographing is not necessarily in an edible state. Is that true with food film as well?
Interviewee: Well, definitely with things that are dealing with restaurants, we'll take a little bit extra care.
Interviewee: But we're a documentary in a run and gun organization so, you know, we try to catch it in best slice possible in that moment.
Seth: Got you.
Interviewee: And then, of course, we'll just have to make decision whether to incorporate it in your life.
Seth: Tell me, when you make a documentary film like this, how do you set out to do your research, I mean, where do you start?
Interviewee: I've started off asking the chef. He gave me all his research, his lesson plans, books, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. And then I went online. I went to the public library and then I hang out with a bunch of ranchers.
Seth: And this is what, weeks, months even before starting the film?
Interviewee: We started talking about this film in December of 2012 and we finally put it all together and put all the research and the outline for the film in August 2013, so about 7, 8 months.
Seth: Cool. Last question, do you have a favorite documentary about food or a documentary filmmaker that maybe you look up to who's influenced you?
Interviewee: Yeah, no doubt. There's lots of documentary filmmakers that I look up to, but specifically geared towards food, A Place at the Table was really amazing. Again, it takes away different subject matter than what we're doing, but it was beautifully shot. It was just an amazing emotional film for me. And, you know, that's made by the producers from Food, Inc. And then finally, you know, I’d have to say just all the online food videos that are coming out. They're just inspiring and they're really catching a moment in our nation’s history that people are starting to realize that these are artists as well.
Seth: Right. So do you have YouTube channels or YouTube producers that you go and look at?
Interviewee: No, but I do watch Mind of a Chef every once in a while on PBS.
Seth: Got you. Very cool. All right. So David Barrow, filmmaker who is the man behind two films, Farm City-State which sets out to answer the question, can Austin feed itself. And he's now working on the new project called True Beef from Pasture to Plate. Tell me, if people want to find either these films online or follow them on social media, how can they do that?
Interviewee: Well, for Farm City-State, you can go to FramCityState.com. You can also find us on Twitter at @FarmCityState. For True Beef, it is TrueBeefTheFilm.com. On Twitter, it's TrueBeefFilm and then both of those projects have Facebook pages with their respective names. And then we're going to start releasing some more online content for both of these movies after the holidays.
Seth: All right. So thank you very much for joining us again. It's great to have you.
Interviewee: Seth, thank you so much for everything and I look forward to listening to the rest of your podcast when I go to Rhode Island.
Seth: Nice. Okay. My name is Seth Resler. This is the Find Dining Podcast. A couple of show notes before we go, like I said, please head over to iTunes, subscribe this podcast there. While you're there, leave a review. Also, head over to YouTube. We've now got all these episodes up there as well. You can subscribe to our YouTube channel. You can also share our YouTube videos and our podcasts with other people over social media. We, of course, are on Twitter @TasteTrekkers. We are also on Facebook. Pinterest as well. We are now posting photos from different restaurants and numerous different cities and you can find a ton of photos from the 2013 Taste Trekkers Food Tourism Conference up on Pinterest, so go check that out.
And also, head over to the Taste Trekkers website, TasteTrekkers.com, go to /podcast and you can find links to many of the things that we mentioned in this episode. And finally, if you want to be a guest on the show, just shoot us an email. Head over to the Contact Us form at TasteTrekkers.com and send us an email. We would love to have you on.
Thanks so much for listening.