Chef Keith Snow: Founder, Harvest Eating

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DishyMix episode 217: Chef Keith Snow Syndicating The Harvest Eating Brand

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Taking the Local Movement Global- Introducing Chef Keith Snow and Harvest Eating

Armed with a complete set of resources to make the locavore movement inviting, accessible and easy for the home cook, Chef Keith Snow has spent the last four years using web 2.0 to propel his mission. In 2006, Keith developed and launched Harvest Eating, a unique social network dedicated to seasonal cooking. Subscribers receive weekly newsletters and visitors to the website gain access to an ever-growing library of over 325 cooking demonstration videos and over 800 categorized recipes.

Keith's first book The Harvest Eating Cookbook has been in print since October 2009 and features over 200 of Keith's favorite recipes all listed by the season for easy reference. The book contains over 100 high quality photographs that make the book delicious to read. Keith spells out in detail how he was transformed from being a chef with no specialty, to one of our leading authorities on seasonal cooking with local foods. He discusses his thoughts on the food industry and the local food movement he is an advocate for. Reviews have been very strong and the book is loved by many Harvest Eating members.

The Early Years: The Farm Influence

Raised in suburban New Jersey, Keith's family appreciated and valued the importance of fine cooking. Together, they frequented local farmers' markets, but he found his true calling on his uncles' farms: one owned a dairy farm in Goshen, New York and another raised horses and had a wild hatchery where grouse, partridges and other game birds could be found. There Keith was exposed at an early age to healthy, seasonal eating; he remembers a salad made straight from vegetables picked in his uncle's garden as the best he's ever consumed.

Kitchen Accomplished

Keith's career as a chef began almost accidentally. At 14, he filled in for a friend as a dishwasher at a local Italian restaurant and found himself increasingly drawn to cooking. He eventually trained under the direction of the restaurant's disciplined former Navy chef. Keith's talent as a chef evolved into a career and took him all over the country including California, Florida, North Carolina, Massachusetts, and Colorado

Keith was ahead of his time, thinking about fresh, unprocessed foods, long before organic and seasonal held much meaning for consumers. While still entrenched in the restaurant industry, Keith decided to combine his entrepreneurial spirit with his passion for natural foods and in 1992, at 25, he created Capone's All-Natural Pasta Sauces. Unlike other jarred sauces, these were made without artificial ingredients or preservatives. Originally sold from the back of his car, his product quickly became available on shelves nationwide.

In 1998, Keith accepted a position at a small restaurant in North Carolina, where he and his wife were drawn to the serene quality of life. However, in 2000, he became Executive Chef at Colorado's premiere Copper Mountain Resort, overseeing a staff of 12 chefs, 250 employees, and nearly10 million dollars in food & beverage sales. It was at this point in his career that Keith discovered his affinity for food media, making appearances as a guest chef on several local programs.

Working long hours and dreading the harsh winters, Keith longed for the comfort of the North Carolina country lifestyle. He and his wife welcomed their first child, Olivia, and a few months later, Keith flew to the east coast and purchased a farm in western North Carolina on the spot. In 2003, Keith relocated his family into an 800-square foot apartment in a barn on the property.

Cooking Up a New Project

Once Olivia started eating solid foods, Keith and his wife, aware of the preservative-packed baby foods on the market, were determined to feed her the best possible diet. Using fresh vegetables and fruits grown in their garden, they created homemade baby food. During social outings, other parents expressed a keen interest in Olivia's pureed peas, broccoli and butternut squash. Keith was amazed at the reaction and realized that he had important information to share. Adding to his influence in the area, Keith co-founded the local Slow Food® upstate SC chapter, which helped bring awareness to food policies and production practices, and ensured equity and sustainability.

"As I started to cook with these local seasonal ingredients, I finally developed a style of cooking I could call my own." In 2006, he started shooting videos in his barn and housed them via Harvest Eating's website. Diluting the "white coat intimidation" most chefs exude, Keith offers an inviting interactive experience. His cooking is resource-driven; the website even includes food finders to help home cooks find local farms.

Today, HarvestEating.com maintains a growing subscriber list of nearly 20,000+ members in 138 different countries and his videos are available for viewing on over 500 websites worldwide.

A Chef of a Different Breed

Keith is a natural on camera. Offering food that's rustic and accessible, he is warm and engaging; there's no chef's ego to obscure the cooking. In May 2008, he was the National Restaurant Association's first recipient of the YOUTUBE Hot ChefWaiting for the right deal to showcase his recipes, Keith signed on with Running Press to create his first book, The Harvest Eating Cookbook, which will include over 200 recipes and 140 images (September 2009). Keith currently resides on an acreage in the mountains of North Carolina with his wife, two daughters and baby son, two Paso Fino Horses one yellow lab and one Great Pyrenees guard dog.

For more information about Chef Keith Snow and Harvest Eating, contact Amanda Santoro at The Brooks Group 212-768-0860