An Inspired Look at the Local Food Scene

Last Updated by Dale Fisher on

When Feast TV debuted on Nine PBS in 2013, the series was unlike anything on the air at the time. The program has become one of the Nine Network’s most popular shows; it airs Wednesday nights at 7:00 p.m., with repeats throughout the week.

The 2017 season begins April 5 with 13 all-new episodes. The fifth season explores trends in urban farming, the evolving food truck scene, artisan butchers, the resurgence of quality bread, pastries, foraging, and much more.

It’s not just passive entertainment, says host Catherine (Cat) Neville, publisher of Feast magazine and producer of Feast TV (pictured). She appreciates when people say they learned something from the show or they check out a place she has covered. I hope people “hop in the car and explore wine country or try chocolates in Springfield or go to St. Joseph in Missouri for Neapolitan-style pizza,” she says.

ALONG FOR THE JOURNEY

When it first launched, Feast TV was a reflection of the monthly print magazine. Now, episodes are more thematic and the recipes seen on Feast TV are developed by Neville, inspired by the topics covered in each episode. The television show and the magazine continue to play off each other, however. “I’m inspired by what we cover in print to do pieces for the show. Likewise, pieces from the show can then inform the print magazine. They are reflective of each other,” says Neville.

Neville fell in love with producing television when she did weekly restaurants segments for KMOV. When she launched Feast magazine, she consciously kept video as part of the platform. “I wanted the opportunity to take what we were doing in print and bring it alive on the television screen.”

Two and a half years ago, Feast TV expanded to include coverage of the entire state of Missouri, eastern Kansas, and southern Illinois, not just St. Louis, to reflect the larger food culture happening in the region. “It’s really important that we learn about what’s happening outside of our home base. In order to see the industry grow, evolve and change, you need to be inspired by what other folks are doing.”

Neville loves being on the road and “getting into the lives of the people we are covering.” Feast TV covers subjects she personally wants to explore. “I really want the audience to come along with me for that journey. I want to be the one on the farm, in the meatpacking plant, putting the hairnet on to see how cheese or beer is made. Everybody approaches their work differently. That’s what I’m fascinated by. That’s why I love the work I do so much.”

A SHARED VISION

Feast TV and the Nine Network’s shared vision of connecting people to the community was the impetus behind partnering on Taste & See. “The Nine Network is an inspiration to me and has been wonderfully supportive,” says Neville. “We share a vision of giving people stories that enrich their lives.

Stories that educate, inspire and inform. I grew up watching PBS, and I think public media is invaluable. I am immensely proud of my relationship with the Nine Network and PBS.”

Neville gushes about the outdoor setting for Taste & See—the Public Media Commons. It is “entirely unique, beautiful, and very modern. It makes the show larger than life. It’s very immersive, especially at night. The sound system is amazing and the screens are huge. When you are standing there, it’s like you are almost enveloped in the experience of television. It’s a really, really cool experience to host events there.”

TASTE & SEE IS A FEAST FOR THE SENSES

Taste & See with the Nine Network and Feast TV lets viewers and foodies go inside the show. They get to taste the food and meet the people responsible for creating the dishes and drinks. Its unique format (and unique outdoor setting) intersperses segments from the show with live demonstrations and interviews, which are shown on the Public Media Common’s two-story screens. “It’s like broadcasting a live show while the event is going on,” says Neville. “It’s entirely original and really, really fun.”

Taste & See is a well-priced, alfresco evening out the third Friday of the month, May–September. Two to three small food portions from up to 10 restaurants and drink vendors are included in the ticket price.

Tickets are $15 each or $60 for all five events. Tickets for last year’s Taste & See sold out quickly; don’t delay, go to nineNet.org/taste to purchase your season tickets now.

Events start at 7:00 p.m.
Food served between 7:00–8:30 p.m.
Drinks and music: 7:00–10:00  p.m.

Taste & See is presented by Wells Fargo Advisors, LLC, in partnership with the Nine Network, Cat Neville, and Feast TV. Tune in to Feast TV on Nine PBS every Wednesday at 7:00 p.m. Become a member of the Nine Network to support events like Taste & See and programs like Feast TV on the air and on your digital devices. Visit nineNet.org/support.

TASTE & SEE 2017

May 19 — Artisan Meats and Sweets
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Open your world to the sensational taste of delicate artisan pastries, savory small-batch cured meats and fresh-baked, hand-crafted bread.

June 16 — Hand-Crafted Wines and Cheeses
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Imbibe in the local wine that is part of our region’s cultural history and enjoy foods made with artisanal cheeses from the rolling hills of century-old Missouri and Illinois farms.

July 21 — Experimental Kitchen
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Discover what goes into opening a successful restaurant. Explore innovative, ingredient-driven cuisine that is setting the stage for what’s next on everyone’s plate.

August 18 — Urban Farm to Fork
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From rooftop rows to hydroponic systems, urban farms offer up bushels of flavorful produce. From the sweet, earthy flavor of root vegetables to a rainbow of lettuces, this veggie-centric evening will leave you satisfied.

September 15 — Wild Game and Whiskey
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From duck to venison, hearty dishes will make the most of the autumn hunt and harvest. Our region’s liquid culture is top-notch, too; so wash it all down with the best in local craft beer and spirits.

This article appeared in the March/April 2017 issue of nineMagazine.