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Where's the Beef? Our trip to Nebraska 6/18/2011


SIMZ Productions' Blog

June 18, 2011

Where’s the Beef?

Filed under: Uncategorized — simzproductions @ 5:41 pm Edit This

New York Strip by Charles Hartz

Do you remember that ad line from the 80s TV commercial where the old lady said, “Where’s the Beef?” I can’t remember what it was advertising, but it must have been the Beef Council of America or something (I just made that up). Or was it a fast food chain? (Since I drafted this blog on my phone, I have since looked up “Where’s the Beef” on Wikipedia. It was Wendy’s.)

Either way, it’s memorable, as our most recent work trip to Lincoln, Nebraska will be.

Nebraska is know as the “beef state” and these people know their beef. And no, I don’t think these cows are like the “happy cows” promoting milk out here in California with their green rolling hills and blue cloud-spotted skies. I hear it gets negative 20 degrees in Nebraska (with wind chill) in the winter and you can’t really do anything outside your house for up to three weeks at a time.

Charles Hartz in front of barn

Our trip to Nebraska was to film a dozen cooking demonstrations with three local chefs that were integrating two “ingredients” into their meals – Smart Chicken and Certified Piedmontese. The company that is marketing these foods is trying to transition them from being a standard product or commodity, working to make their chicken and beef a more sought after, upscale ingredient that top chefs (and “foodies” at home) seek out for their kitchens.

Beef Pasta with Certified Piedmontese

The first day was spent at Dish, a restaurant run by Chef/Owner Travis Green in downtown Lincoln. We had an extremely tight space to work in, so shooting with two cameras proved challenging, but we did pull it off thank to set dressing and primping provided by Sally and Mike Hillis, who are co-producing the videos along with Christie Consulting. We had to reset our lighting a few times as he transitioned from stove top or grill to his prep boards.

We then had the opportunity to drive 20 minutes out into the country to the Peed Family residence. The Peeds own Sandhills Publishing, the company that promotes Smart Chicken and Certified Piedmontese. We set up in the property “barn” which was a beautiful event center set on sprawling green lawn with views of soft wind-blown trees. It was a stellar setting for both our kitchen recipes as well as out on the grill, where chef Charles Hartz of the Sand Hills Golf Club led us through some fabulous recipes.

Our third and final day, we traveled an hour to Omaha, where we sped through five great recipes with chef Paul Kulik at The Boiler Room Restaurantin downtown.

A labor of love - Chicken Confit by Paul Kulik

It was a sprawling brick building constructed in the late 1800s and was impeccably cleaned and cared for. Paul and his sous chef pumped out some great food in record time so that we could get them back to prep for their 5:30 PM dinner.

The recipes prepped are fast-paced and we don’t have the time in production to make them full-fledged cooking shows. We shoot with two cameras, with the main camera static as a wide shot and the second camera getting the tight, intricate shots. Once the recipe is complete, James adds on his Letus adapter and lenses to ensure that the finished plate shots have great depth of field. He’s convinced (and has convinced me) that there’s no other way to shoot food.

My stomach probably growled more on this shoot than ever before! So much great food. I know that I’m going to keep my eyes open for Smart Chicken in my local grocery stores. I hate to admit but I’ve never actually cooked a steak on my own…so I plan on heading over to Corti Brothers in Sacramento, where I hear they carry Certified Piedmontese. Learn more about the health benefits by visiting their websites, and videos of some great recipes will be posted soon!

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