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- This time on "Tennessee Crossroads", we first get a taste of a Music City sweet treat. Then discover an outdoor community paint project. We'll chow down up in the Smokies at a breakfast camp, then travel west to the Mid-South Raptor Center. That's the lineup for this edition of "Tennessee Crossroads", everyone. I'm Joe Elmore. Thanks for joining us. When you hear the term Music City, chocolate probably isn't the first thing that comes to mind. Well, that might change after you see our first story. Miranda Cohen recently met a spirited young entrepreneur who makes decadent chocolate treats that look as good as they taste. - [Miranda] From a very early age, Ariel Mayberry had a mind for business and a taste for chocolate. It seems both have granted her the golden ticket. She is now the owner of Music City Chocolates & Confections. - Probably the best part about my job is telling people I'm a chocolatier. People just they're like, "Is that a real job?" And I'm like, "Yes, it absolutely is. "Somebody has to make your chocolate." - [Miranda] The road to her dream job wasn't easy or traditional, but the journey itself had a huge impact in molding her success. Mayberry was in business school when a talented pastry chef and mentor suggested that she stage, meaning get her culinary education by working for free while honing her craft. - When you first start as a stage you aren't trusted with much, right? Because you're just somebody off the street, basically. And so they're like, "Here, chop these strawberries." And you slowly graduate, okay, you get to do biscuits now, and now you get to do all the grunt work that the executive pastry chef doesn't wanna do, but you're just eating it up because you're just excited to be in the kitchen and getting an education. - [Miranda] The young and vivacious entrepreneur worked at fine dining restaurants, bakeries, and alongside James Beard Award-winning nominees at elegant hotels. Getting a hands-on education, and eventually earning enough money to buy her own chocolate business. - I just gathered up all the money I'd saved for the last three to four years working two jobs, and it worked, and I bought it and I've doubled everything. I've doubled production, I doubled sales. I've really doubled the press, I've doubled everything. So I'm really excited to see where it goes. - [Miranda] Even though chocolate can be temperamental, sensitive to the slightest changes in temperature and humidity, she knew it was her dark rich destiny. - I knew that chocolate is something I could do extremely well. I just understood it well. I understood the science of it, how to use it. And chocolate is so awesome in the way that you can manipulate it into sculptures if you want. It has strength about it. - [Miranda] By experimenting with exotic flavors, Music City Chocolates is creating bold combinations from around the globe like toasted honey, chili, banana, and much more. - Over the years, everybody's flavor palettes started developing, and the world opens up and people travel more now and taste different things. And chocolate is so unique in the fact that you can get those different flavor profiles from the organic ones, or you can go back to your childhood. - [Miranda] From decadent bonbons to chocolate guitars, Music City Chocolates & Confections specializes in unique shapes and lofty flavors, but Mayberry is always staying true to her Tennessee roots. - We try to incorporate like local honey. We try to do any local ingredients that I can find that I love that I grew up with. Local strawberries, anything I can find, just to help local farmers, local vendors, and lifting other small businesses up, highlighting Nashville in the process. We're an amazing place to be. - One of the most popular treats here at Music City Chocolates is the Nashville Bar. They had an artist make a mold that features the skyline of the city on every bar. And just like the unique city itself, the flavor profile is incredible. Behind every corner there is a little surprise. - The skyline of Nashville etched into milk chocolate with Pop Rocks in it. And it's so much fun because people are like, "Pop Rocks, what? I didn't know." They think it's flavored. It's unflavored Pop Rocks. It's purely for joy purposes only. It's just the crunch and it has the fizzle and the pop, and it's part of music in your mouth, Music City. Makes Sense. - [Miranda] It is plenty of fun, but Mayberry is also taking Music City Chocolates down a very sophisticated avenue. Thanks to her years of high-end culinary training, she has started specializing in chocolate pairings with wine and whiskey, spirited confections, and always with a local flare. - I love our boozy box. It has all the different liquors and wines and whiskeys that you're gonna find in Tennessee incorporated into the truffle. And it's just bringing home back into my product. I use a lot of Jack Daniels, I use whisper Creek. I use a lot of Pennington Distillery things. Two totally separate things can make a beautiful, beautiful pairing. So a lot of my flavors are kind of Nashville inspired or something that inspires me. And I just kinda make what I like, and voila. - [Miranda] Ariel Mayberry is living proof that hard work really does reap sweet rewards. She loves making delicious and beautiful chocolate creations, all handmade in Music City, packed with bold and creative flavors and the unmistakable taste of her hometown. - This has always been my home, so I just wanna show everybody what Nashville's about. And that's why it's Music City Chocolates, it's home. It's the poetic version of my home. - Thanks Miranda. It's a fact, Nashville has become a mural city. People love to look at 'em, take pictures of 'em and with them and they're inclusive and meant to spread beauty and sometimes a message to everyone. Well, Laura Faber recently met a local muralist who loves the chaos of a community paint project. - I think it's gonna be a lot of fun today. It's like a game of twister out here in the middle of the street, honestly. Can you believe this is how I make a living? - [Laura] On this day in the middle of an intersection in East Nashville, muralist Andee Rudloff has been commissioned to paint a heart on the street. - Chaos, chaos, chaos. There's this whole kind of movement called tactical urbanism where things get painted in the street, on the side of the street, and it creates space so that cars slow down. That outside-inside space becomes sort of fused. Now in this particular piece, we have the support of Urban Cowboy and Lockeland Table coming together. It's a patchwork heart that really is about our brokenness, but also celebrating our flaws. I call it street heart and people are gonna run their cars over my heart . I've lost my mind, haven't I? Maybe. - [Laura] You know an Andee Rudloff mural when you see one. She's painted walls, streets, even a bus. Her work has a distinct style with vibrant primary colors, black outlines, designs that are geometric. Rudloff has a personal style too. - It makes it very easy to get ready in the morning. I'm always gonna have my overalls on. I'm probably gonna have a scarf or a bandana for a lot of different reasons. I'm always gonna have a hat on because my hair ends up in the paint if I don't. And then I'm usually wearing some gigantic sunglasses like I'm getting ready to take flight. - [Laura] I had read somewhere too that you've always got a Sharpie on you as well. - I do. Look, I got my sharpie. - There it is. Born in Bowling Green, Rudloff splits her time between there and East Nashville and works in both states. An artist now for 25 years, her first public piece that put her on the map was her cow mural. It led to work with CMT and TNN, public television and more. - I honestly love, love working with other people. A lot of artists work in a solitary way and because it helps them to think more deeply and create as they need to. For me, I really value controlled chaos. I think it kind of feeds me and I love the energy of other people. When I did the cow mural, it was gritted, and I had to tell people, "Paint yellow here. "Paint red here." I start really looking into that like how can I involve people in a bigger way? How can they actually give me ideas and be part of the painting - [Laura] Inspired by other artists like Keith Haring, now, Rudloff will often start her community projects with a black outline and allows everyone to help paint. - The arts to me are an economy driver. Our city thrives because we are a creative city. It shows our potential. We can have all these different ways of working and different ways of working together. And art education in, especially in schools is so important to me because it does teach possibility and hope. - [Laura] Working in schools is incredibly important to Rudloff. She loves festivals too. She was the original artist to first paint a tomato in the middle of Five Points for East Nashville's annual Tomato Art Festival. Being part of a larger group, creating something collective is part of who she is. - So essentially what I'm doing is like hieroglyphics. If you look closely at it, what people are doing are creating a visual language and then we paint it together with some really simple rules, so anybody can paint with me. All of a sudden people have creative confidence again. Everybody feels happy being able to create. We all are artists. - [Laura] Even I couldn't resist picking up a brush. Andee. - Yes. - What do you want me to do? - Hey, if you wanna add a second coat to this yellow, that'd be awesome. - Okay, what are my rules? - Just stay inside the lines. - That's easy. - You may wanna brush it off just a little bit so it doesn't drip, but other than that, we're good to go. - This is how we do it- - It is. - [Laura] when you're painting with Andee Rudloff. - Controlled chaos. We're just mushing some paint in the street. - [Laura] How a community rallies together in the face of tragedy has impacted Rudloff too. The tornado that hit East Nashville was literally across the hill from her studio. And she had just finished a school project in Bowling Green when a twister devastated that city. - We had so many people coming to Bowling Green to help, and they were all staying at churches and schools. They were just staying wherever they were needed. Honestly, I just wanted them to wake up to something that said, "Thank you." And I had a student reach out to me, Cordene Gray, nine years old. And she said, "I need to volunteer, can I help you?" Just her asking me that made me go, "Yes." She got to see it on Good Morning America, and got to see it shown on TV and social media everywhere. And there is no doubt in my mind she knows she's an artist and that her ideas matter. And I think it brought some love and light to all of the people that were helping us - [Laura] As the finishing touches are put on her street heart, I wonder what's next for Rudloff? She hopes it's whatever she hasn't done yet. - I get up each morning and I'm so thankful that I have somewhere to go, something to do, great people to be around, an exciting place to live. I'm just thankful. - Thanks a lot, Laura. No matter how you spend your day up in the Smoky Mountains you wanna start your day with a good breakfast. Well, how about a place with historical ambiance and a huge array of breakfast delicacies? Now, they're not required, but pants with an elastic waistband might come in handy. If you're gonna compete for the tourist dollars in a town like Gatlinburg, you better have something special even for breakfast. That's why we decided to camp out for a while at Crockett's Breakfast Camp and see why folks say it's worth the wait. Before plunging too far into the sumptuous food fair, here's a little backstory. Crockett's Breakfast Camp is dedicated to the legacy of a 19th century Smokey Mountain Frontiersman, David Crockett Maples, an excellent cook and ancestor of the restaurant's founder, Kirby Smith. - This gentleman wanted to provide food for the loggers and he built a little, nice little place over here and fed the loggers for a good price. And that was Kirby's idea was to build a nice looking place give a generous amount of food at a good price and good quality. - [Joe] That's John Sports, better known as Sporty who oversees the ever humming hustling kitchen. Like a well-tuned machine, his staff produces made-from-scratch breakfast dishes, from colossal-sized pancakes to massive egg dishes. Out in the dining room, the rustic atmosphere is a show in itself, with reclaimed barn wood walls covered with artifacts that portray earlier mountain times. It's much like a museum of Gatlinburg history. Oh, check this, all the doors use low tech counterweights and sandbags. Now, just beyond the cozy fireplace, visitors can witness the making of the camp's ever popular cinnamon rolls. - The dough we make the day before, so when we bring it out in the morning, we let it proof, let it finish proofing and soften up, and then we'll roll. We'll get it on the table and we'll roll it out, and we'll get it to about a seven foot length to about a three foot width, and put some cinnamon, butter and brown sugar on it. And we roll it up. And we'll cut it into about four inch sections and get about 24 cinnamon rolls out of it. Put 'em in our pans, proof 'em in our box and bake 'em, and hope we don't run out of them. - [Joe] Well over 100 are consumed each morning at Crockett's, and more often than not they're shared. But for the serious cinnamon roll aficionado, you can always take it a step further. - [John] We take the same cinnamon roll and we dip it in our made-from-scratch French toast batter and we put it on a flat top and press it down so it's not quite as thick as a normal one. And then we'll top it off with our caramel sauce that we make here, and whipped cream and powdered sugar. And it's a pretty good treat for most people. - [Joe] Pancakes are to Gatlinburg what lobsters are to Maine, but here it's like the pancakes are on steroids. - [John] They're probably about four times the size of a normal pancake. They're about an inch thick, and about five inches in diameter or so. And they're again that's a pretty good size meal we serve too. - I have a cinnamon swirl pancake. - [Joe] Are you gonna make it all the way? - I am not going to make it all the way . It is very good though. - Our signature items are our skillets. We serve a 10 pound cast iron skillet that is with our signature items depending on what you like. We have a variety of stuff, from Mexican to healthy fluff wheat pancakes, to omelets, to French toasts, to waffles. - [Joe] Gotta say, I never heard anyone complain about not getting enough food, but I also never heard much talk about lunch plans either. - I think most people say that what you hear a lot is if you eat breakfast at Crockett's, you won't have lunch. You'll be fed all day long. - [Joe] So while there's lots of competition for dining dollars in a tourist town like Gatlinburg, word gets around when a place that's got the absolute breakfast experience. - They all communicate what's going on, where they've been. If there're experiences in Gatlinburg they tell people what they liked, what they don't like, what to do, kinda what to avoid. And I think Crockett's is just one of the, the things on their list that they do come to see, besides the aquarium. - It's great. - It's awesome. - I think it's great. - Yeah, it's great, very good. - [Joe] And it's creating that special experience that makes Sporty happy to come to work. - It's beautiful. Who wouldn't wanna work at a place like this that's people come to and see, and they're smiling, they're happy? And every time you put something in front of 'em they're just their eyes open up. The cinnamon rolls, the pancakes, the skillets, they're like, "Wow." - When it comes to healthcare for pets and domestic animals a trip to the local veterinary hospital is sometimes a necessity. Well, a few years back, Ken Wilshire met a Memphis man who cares for animals who normally don't visit the vet. He's devoted much of his life to taking care of some special feathered friends. - [Ken] These are some of the most remarkable hunters ever created. Their biological name is raptor or birds of prey. They're actually descendants of dinosaurs, and many paleontologists feel they're the only ones to have survived extinction. They're some of the most beautiful yet misunderstood animals on the planet. We chose one of them to be our national symbol of freedom. You'll find others contributing to a variety of ecosystems in their own special ways. Still we hit them with our cars and trucks, we shoot them, we fear their predatory instincts, and we often don't understand their place in the natural order of things. But there is a fellow who does comprehend. You might call Knox Martin a bird's best friend especially when it comes to raptors and birds of prey. He's committed most of his life to avian care. - They need a really good PR man because people think that they're bad when they really aren't. They call hawks chicken hawks and people think they eat chickens, and they don't know about 'em eating rats and mice. - [Ken] And they couldn't have a better PR person than Knox. He's worked at the Memphis Zoo for years caring for healthy birds, but there's always been a need for medical and rehabilitation services for birds of prey. So he founded the Mid-South Raptor Center after the zoo eliminated its rehab program. - [Knox] I had to make a decision, do I want to just stop and not do it anymore? Or do I wanna kind of go to a different route and start my own facility? And it really wasn't much of a gamble. I mean, I didn't really have much choice because there was nowhere else for the birds to go really. - [Ken] It's located on the grounds of the Agricenter International in Memphis, and it's one of the finest rehab facilities in the area. - [Knox] We do raptors, which are birds of prey, hawks, owls, eagles, falcons, kestrels, vultures. Now, that's just the only expertise I have. I get calls all the time for songbirds and ducks and geese and raccoons and possums and squirrels and bats, but I just don't have the time or the knowledge to do that, so we just do strictly birds of prey. - [Ken] Some of the birds at the center are orphans. Knox says, if you ever find an abandoned bird it's best to simply leave it alone. They've usually fallen close to their nest. But if they're at a certain age humans could have a very negative impact on these birds. It's called imprinting. - When these birds are born, they can't really see. Their eyes have not fully developed. But when their eyes clear, the very first thing they see, that's what they imprint on. If a great horned owl sees another great horned owl either a sibling or a parent, it happens almost immediately, he imprints on that adult, and so he knows he's a great horned owl. And once they're imprinted, you can't reverse it. They're like that forever. If I don't make any other point when I do all these educational programs, it's like, if you find a little baby owl or hawk in the woods, leave it alone. - [Ken] The camouflage suit is used when feeding the imprintable birds so they won't know he's a person. I might add the heat index was almost 100 degrees when we visited Knox and he suited up for feeding time. - They've actually . - [Ken] Now this is commitment. And when their wounds have healed and it's time for them to spread their wings and fly again the birds are banded for tracking. Raptor Center volunteer, Martha Waldron, assists with the process. - Out of two or 3,000 birds we banded, we probably have gotten back 20 bands, but that 20 bands tells us where the bird ended up, how old it was, how many years it survived after being banded and released. There's a controversy that's been going on for years that rehabbing like we do, shouldn't be done. That birds, once they've been injured, they can't be rehabilitated enough to be released where they can still function. And with the bands, we can prove that that just isn't true. - [Ken] In his own compassionate way, Knox is ensuring the possibility of extinction in any way will never happen to our birds of prey, and that these magnificent Raptors will always have a place in our precious yet fragile ecosystems like they've enjoyed for millions and millions of years. - I'm not a vet so we have to take them to our vet, but when he gets through with doing his magic and then they come back out here to be rehabbed, and then we can release 'em, it really is very rewarding. Ready? - Mm-hmm. - [Knox] People always ask me, "Aren't you sad that it's gone?" No, that's what we're here for. - Well, I'm afraid that's gonna have to do it for this edition of "Tennessee Crossroads". Thanks for joining us. Why don't you join us on our website sometime, tennesseecrossroads.org? Follow us on Facebook, and I'll see you around next time.
June 23, 2022
Season 35 | Episode 40
Miranda Cohen gets a taste of a Music City Chocolates. Laura Faber paints along with muralist Andee Rudloff. Joe Elmore chows down at Crockett's Breakfast Camp. And Ken Wilshire explores the MidSouth Raptor Center.