Don't have the PBS App? Click Here
- [Announcer] "Tennessee Crossroads" is made possible in part by. - [Phil] I'm Tennessee Tech President Phil Oldham. Here in Cookeville, Tennessee's college town, we are bold, fearless, confident and kind. Tech prepares students for careers by making everyone's experience personal. We call that Living wings up. Learn more at tntech.edu. - This time on "Tennessee Crossroads" we visited a time honored dining haven in Goodlettsville. Then we'll meet a master culinary craftsman in Knoxville, drop in at a popular West Natural bake shop and we'll meet a Lebanon lady who turns simple stuff into intricate art. Hi everybody, I'm Joe Elmore. Welcome again to "Tennessee Crossroads." Glad to have you. When Jim and Cheryl Hagey were college sweethearts they shared a dream, starting a hospitality business of some kind. Well after marriage and signing a lease in 1997 their restaurant chef's market has exceeded all of their expectations. Well, we made a business there recently to discover what their secret is. - [Jim] I like to say that we're kinda like a cross between a meat and three and a New York deli. - [Joe] That's the way Jim Hagey describes the dining destination he and wife, Cheryl, opened in 1997. Back then, Chef's Market was a somewhat peculiar concept. - There was either casual dining or fine dining or fast food. There wasn't something that was kind of in between. And people would come in and they'd say, "Oh, this is great." And then they'd look at me and they'd say, "Man, man, I hope you make it." And I'd be like, and I'd be I was like, "Oh, you know, we're making it." But in my head I'm like, "Man, I hope we make it too." - [Joe] They made it, all right. And now, over a quarter century later Chef's Market is a major draw for hungry middle Tennessee visitors. The couple started planning their ideal eatery back during their college years. - We wanted it to be casual. We wanted it to be quick. We wanted it to be chef quality. We didn't want it to look like all the other things. You wanted to have some healthy foods, some vegetarian items. - [Joe] It's cafeteria style dining and your eyes are immediately filled with an endless array of choices. Well, some people never make it past the vast salad section but those who do can get anything from a burger to a choice meat and two or three. - [Jim] There'll be people ordering from the grill or there'll be people ordering from the hotline getting the biggest piece of meatloaf they've ever seen with well prepared Yukon gold, garlic mashed potatoes. And so, I mean, it's a lot of work. Everything's kind of made from scratch, you know, virtually everything that we do is, a lotta effort goes into it. We've got some of the best bread around. We've got this Rosemary Parmesan roll that's incredible. A really nice, you've heard of spoon rolls? - Yeah. - It's incredible. And people just come for, come and buy the bread. - [Joe] As you enter Chef's Market there's a shop full of candles and other take home trinkets. This is one of Cheryl's ongoing duties. - It's so fun to go and choose and think, well, this customer that usually comes in here, they would like this gift. You know, they would like this piece of pottery or whatever. So we do that. - [Joe] Of course, as co-owner, her job is any job that needs doing from cutting cakes to more manual tasks. - Yesterday a lady walked up and I was outside, I was moving something. She said, "Is that your job description?" And I'm like, "Yes, ma'am." - Today. - Sure is. - In addition to the dine in and take out food business Chef's Market's also made its mark in the catering industry. Voted Nashville's best 10 years in a row. - [Jim] People have planned their events, you know, they've been planning event for a long, long time. So we love being a part of people's life events whether it's a wedding or a baby shower or birthday party. - [Joe] The market offers tasting events to assist planners of weddings and other special occasions. - You know, you're only good as your last event. You gotta make it, each one of them's gotta be great. It's exciting, I mean, you know, we've catered Taylor, Reba, you know, it's harder to name. It'd be easier to name who we hadn't done, you know, over the years. - [Joe] Chef's Market has an enormous kitchen space big enough to support the restaurant and the catering business. In this area an employee prepares entrees like fresh salmon while another makes hors d'oeuvres for a party. And in the bakery cake making's in the works for yet another event. It's quite a feat for a restaurant to stay in business and thrive for more than 25 years. Chef's Market will be around a lot longer thanks to the ongoing passion of its owners always striving for the best possible food, the best dedicated staff and an ever growing base of satisfied customers. - It's evolved over the years, so we've added different things to the menu and we've had wonderful employees who've been with us for a long time, but it's, you know, better than I've ever expected. And you know what I love about it? I love our customers that come in, you know, and they're like family to us. We spend a lot of time here so you get to know so many great folks. It's been a real joy and it's enriched our lives a lot. - If you've ever had to do a household chore, you know having just the right tool can make a job a lot easier. Well, making a great meal is no exception. In our next story, Miranda Cohen found a craftsman in Knoxville who is sharpening his skills by making exquisite works of culinary art. - [Miranda] John Phillips, the founder of Phillips Forged in Knoxville has always loved working with his hands with a degree in fine arts from the University of Tennessee, he learned his passion was working with metal. As his natural talent grew larger, his works grew smaller. - I've always had a love for things that you can hold in your hand and you can look at and see the small details in. And so it felt really good to be able to take all the skills I learned from blacksmithing and from making big sculptures and big piece of furniture and just kinda shrink all that down and take all those details and just compress them in the one object that you can hold in your hand. - [Miranda] As an artist, John started funding his dreams by working as a line cook in the food industry and suddenly he had three real interests and found a way to forge them all together. - [John] A certain point I decided I wanted to combine the woodwork, the metalwork, the love of food, and make my own knife. And I had these chefs that worked with me that would bring in these knife rolls with all these knives that they'd collected through their careers. I thought it was so cool that they had these like magic tools that they would, they would come and unveil and they wouldn't never let anyone else touch. - [Miranda] Now, celebrity chefs and culinary stars from places like the exclusive Blackberry Farm are taking notice of him using his blades in their kitchens and featuring his knives in their catalog. - [John] So I make big chef's knives that are traditional kind of rolled belly knives. I make long slicing knives. I make bread knives with serrated edges. I make pairing knives, I make meat cleavers. - [Miranda] Each one of Phillip's edgy creations is a masterpiece of style and function. He has perfected the meticulous craft of forging the finest steel into precise blades and carving native wood into ergonomically designed handles. Phillips starts each knife with raw steel cut on a band saw. - [John] Next thing we do is we take all those pieces of metal and we clean them up and stack them together in the vice. - [Miranda] Each metal brings its own metallurgical content. - So I'll just put this in and let it cook. - [Miranda] Then he will place the steel in this custom designed machine where 84,000 pounds of pressure on this hydraulic press at 2,000 degrees will weld the metals together. - [John] So we just keep on reducing it down to about an eighth of an inch. - [Miranda] Next is hammering, grinding, and dipping into an acid to reveal the mixed metals' natural beauty. - You see that pattern already starting to pop out there. Those layers are starting to pop out. - [Miranda] Then we will come sanding, sharpening and adding the custom made wooden handles. - [John] All the handles I make from special pieces of wood where I select special woods that have beautiful burrows or spalting which is a fungus that can form in the wood that creates really beautiful patterns. So I try to always find woods that are gonna compliment the steel that they're going along with. - Each knife will take anywhere from 10 to 40 hours to create and no two pieces are ever alike. One of the most important things to John is that his beautiful works of art not be hidden away or put in a drawer. In fact, he would love for them to be used in the kitchen every day. - [John] Usually the first thing that people tell me is that they're too beautiful to use, which I take his compliment, but I hope that people do use them as much as possible. Most of the knives that I make are a combination of European style and Japanese style, and I'm pretty much make a knife to take care of any chore in the kitchen. - [Miranda] Guided by the master's hand, the metal and wood come together to create something much more than a culinary tool. It is said that steel sharpens steel meaning people make other people better. John Phillips is trying to do just that. - [John] So I specialize in just making culinary knives. I don't really have much interest in making weapons or making anything used for destruction. Instead, to me knives are things that can create beautiful works of art. I'm more interested in creating a piece of art to create more art and to kinda keep the cycle of inspiration going. - [Miranda] A true passion, creating unique custom made culinary tools that will carve out their own legacy. - [John] It's a lotta work. Like I don't hide the fact that I really sweat and bleed over these things, but I really love it and really enjoy it. And there's something really rewarding about like all the process and all these small steps. And then at the end you have this thing that's gonna outlast all of us. - You might remember the slogan from a famous commercial. "Nothing says loving like something from the oven." Well, Laura Faber found a bright and cheery bake shop in West Nashville in the nation's neighborhood, one that will wet your breakfast appetite. - [Laura] It's 6:30 in the morning and this cheery bakery in West Nashville has been in full swing for hours. Fresh baked goods are being prepped for customers who come to Brightside Bake Shop. From Delicate and sweet Valrhona chocolate stuffed croissants drizzled with dark chocolate, sea salt and powdered sugar to the exquisite and savory sausage and cheddar brioche, pastries like these guarantee a gastronomical experience. For Baker and owner of Brightside Bake Shop, Andrea Borchers, this is a dream come true. - The earliest I can remember is kindergarten. Kindergarten career day I told my mom I wanted to be a baker and I dressed up as a baker. Feeling that's where I first saw my love of baking and baked goods was going was to grandma's house and she would always have something prepared on the stove. There's a certain happiness that comes with that and a simple joy that I wanted to share with the world too through Brightside. - [Laura] With a background in marketing and entrepreneurship, Andrea worked in the corporate world for a while but knew she wanted to give her passion a try. She is a self-taught baker and took specialized brioche and croissant classes at both Le Cordon Bleu in Paris and at the San Francisco Baking Institute. She knew breakfast pastries was where she would make her mark. In fact, the first bakery worthy item she made is now her specialty, the cinnaroll. - The entire process from start to finish takes three days. We make the dough on the first day, we roll it out on the second day, and then on the third day we do the glaze and the frosting. So it's one of our more involved pastries especially in the morning when we are glazing and frosting and everything. But that's what makes it special and worth it. So it has a vanilla glaze on it and a whipped cream cheese. So it's one of our more decadent items too. But also the look of it is kind of over the top with the frosting on top and a lot of people are like, "Oh, that looks too sweet." But then when they eat it, they're like "It's not super sweet," because of the buttery brioche. It kind of balances it out. - [Worker] Be a shortcut, okay, go. - This is the 2016 version of Brightside Bakery. One of the first mixers that Andrea used when she was starting her business, a wedding gift from her husband used in her home kitchen. She's obviously come a long way since then. She now uses a dough laminator, a modern day rolling pin and commercial mixers and ovens and refrigerators. But her bake shop journey was slow and steady. Andrea started selling pastries on the weekend at the Richland Farmer's Market where she built a loyal following. Eventually the time was right and Brightside Bake Shop was born. - But since we've built it up step by step, customer by customer, literally waited till the day people were begging us to open a shop and I knew those people would show up on our opening day. That's what I feel like makes Brightside special too, is like we've cultivated that community and that connection with our customers and they're the ones that have supported us from day one. - All right, thanks Jack. - Pleasure, dude. - Have a great day. - Thank you, guys. - [Andrea] So it's kind of amazing and I'm so grateful for everyone that's helped us along the way from our community to our team. Yeah, it's really something special. - Hi Ray, how are you? Give me one second, I'll get your order for you. - [Laura] Days can start as early as 1:30 AM as everything in this small batch bakery is made from scratch. The weekly grocery list includes 200 pounds of European butter, more than 700 eggs, 350 pounds of flour and lots of freshly cut herbs. The results are gorgeous and delicious. - This is our double chocolate rolls. This is made with croissant dough, but it's not laminated. It's rolled with chocolate chips and brown sugar. - And that's pretty popular too, right? - Yes, these are both pretty popular. Our Sunshine Roll has a little orange zest with brown sugar so this is more like citrusy and this is gonna be your chocolate with cocoa powder version. - [Laura] Andrea challenges herself to make her pastries better every day with a simple mission, creating joy by baking days brighter. - This is like my dream. So it's like everything combined. I mean, from being a part of this amazing team to what we bring to the community on a daily basis to interacting with customers to the baking itself. And notice I said the baking itself like one of the last things which is like the reason I first got into it but so much has come with that, that I just love every day. - Sure. - Thank you, Gordon. - Thank you. - Thank you, have a great day. - Bye-bye. - Bye-bye. - Thanks, Laura. You know, we're privileged to meet many talented folks on our trips throughout Tennessee. Some are actually multi-talented as is the case with Lebanon artist, Charlene Owens. Now Ed Jones traveled to her workshop a while back where she transforms simple items into intricate art. - When Michelangelo painted the Sistine Chapel he had an apprentice that would draw on paper and had holes in the paper and he would dust those holes with the charcoal dust and that's how he got his patterns up on the ceiling. And I said, well, if Michelangelo can do it, I can do it too. - [Ed] If Charlene Owens says she can do something, you can take that to the bank. Just ask anyone who's seen her marvelous creations. - [Charlene] Well, I think I've always dabbled in art. I just love to draw. - [Ed] And she draws beautifully. For most artists, that would be enough, but not Charlene. Listing her talents quickly turns into a cable commercial. - The sculpture that I'd done up here. - [Ed] But wait, there's more. - That's an old painting. - But wait, there's more. - [Charlene] I've been doing the gourds for about five or six years now. - [Ed] But wait, there's more. - This is wood burning. - But wait, there's more. - I've had a lot of luck with the hot air balloons. - [Ed] Okay, now you're just showing off. - [Charlene] You just turn a gourd upside down and it takes the shape of a balloon. And I even take the little figurines. They're not very big. They're Christmas ornaments. The little girls will have little cheerleader outfits on. It's just dabble in a little bit of everything. Try it all. - [Ed] Charlene has even incorporated sound into some of her art. Ever heard of a thunder drum? - [Charlene] You shake it and it sounds like thunder in the distance but this one's got babies out. All animal babies. It's a baby chimpanzee, a baby tiger and then a baby giraffe. It just come out so good. I was really proud of that. That's one of my favorites. - [Ed] Charlene's, quick to point out her favorites. Understandably most involved fond family memories. - [Charlene] That one is my favorite. It's my granddaughter and I just guess I, that turned out better because I knew her personality a little bit and it, I was really proud of that. I call it "The Embrace" because it's man at his lowest and then he's got this guardian angel to help him through it. When I started that, I was gonna do a chambered Nautilus but when I started chiseling on it and hammering on it, it just evolved. I didn't have any control over it, you know, it just happened. My dad was so proud of that. He carried that to two family reunions and it just happened. I really didn't have a whole lot to do with it. It just, it just happened. - [Ed] While she loves all her art forms, Charlene spends most of her time on gourds. - It's very unusual. You don't see that much art in gourds and my sister and I, we saw one and she said, "You can do that." And she convinced me to get into it and I did. And I really loved doing it. The baby over here in the Acorn, I just thought that looked so sweet. And then I had put on it, "Mighty Oaks from Tiny Acorns Grow," and I thought, well, that being a baby, it'll grow up to be a great man, you know. - [Ed] Charlene's grown as well. Retired from a career in the wallpaper business, she transformed into a full-time artist who's still finding new ways to showcase her talents. - [Charlene] This is the first time I've ever seen tile inside a gourd. I have started putting tile inside these and then you put the grout in it and it really makes for a pretty bowl. That was kind of a, to see if I could do it. I just get my inspiration from different things. - [Ed] One inspiration comes in the form of accolades from fellow artists. - I've won best of show at the Wilson County Fair twice. I think I entered 10 different things last year and got nine blue ribbons, and I was really surprised that I had that many ribbons last year, but it was, it was a good day. - [Ed] More important than ribbons are the compliments from happy customers, which Charlene treasures the most. - [Charlene] I want 'em to be pleased with it. Just seeing the reaction of people's faces when they really see something they like. To me, that's my pay. If I get a good compliment, I'd rather have that anytime. And that stays with you. - [Ed] Which encourages Charlene to stay with it. Tirelessly making magic in her studio no matter what. - [Charlene] I've had some health issues and that slowed me down a lot. But here lately, that's all I wanna do. I'm out here in the morning and sometimes it's way after dark when I get through but it's something I've thoroughly enjoy doing. I know it's a God-given talent and I don't wanna waste it. - Well, time's about up, but not before a reminder about the new PBS video applauding where you can watch our show and others anytime anywhere. Also, there's our website we want you to check into, tennesseecrossroads.org. Follow us on Facebook. By all means, come back here next week. See you then. - [Announcer] "Tennessee Crossroads" is made possible in part by. - [Phil] I'm Tennessee Tech President, Phil Oldham. Here in Cookeville, Tennessee's college town, we are bold, fearless, confident, and kind. Tech prepares students for careers by making everyone's experience personal. We call that Living wings up. Learn more at tntech.edu.
May 18, 2023
Season 36 | Episode 37
Joe Elmore visits a time-honored dining haven in Goodlettsville. Miranda Cohen meets a master culinary craftsman in Knoxville. Laura Faber drops in at a popular West Nashville bake shop. And Ed Jones meets a Lebanon lady who turns simple stuff into intricate art.
Watch Clips from this Episode
Charlene Owens – Artist
We're privileged to meet many talented folks on our trips throughout Tennessee. Some are multi-talented, as is the case with Lebanon, TN artist Charlene Owens. Tennessee Crossroads traveled to her workshop where she transforms simple items into intricate art. Join Nashville Public Television's Tennessee Crossroads to find out more about Charlene Owens - Artist.