TRAVERSE CITY Kristin Karam bops to the music of a live band as she shreds cheese for a stromboli, her curly hair held back from her face by a wide pink band.
Mike Peters plucks petals from a fresh stem of thyme on the counter nearby.
The images aren't home videos of friends making dinner, rather they are part of a YouTube trailer for “Party in the Pantry,” a new culinary and entertainment show that features local chefs, food and musicians.
Produced for both Web and TV, the show has an informal vibe. Each episode is taped at a gathering of friends and showcases a local chef cooking with locally-grown or -produced food, accompanied by a local band, a local host and a local brewer, spirit or winemaker. The show ends with a free-for-all tasting.
"The musical guest helps create the dish and also plays during segues between the assembly of the food and tasting," said creator DC Hayden, a local videographer and co-owner of Grocer’s Daughter Chocolate. "You get to see them outside their normal element, working in the kitchen."
The overall feeling is one of a party, hence the show’s title.
"The hope of the show is to inspire people to gather and share in the wonderful community of foods we have in the community,” Hayden said.
He and fellow director/producer Rachel Warren, who has a theater background, put together the first two episodes with the help of friends from several area film production, recording, photographic and website studios. Episode one, shot at The BOX's urban rustic event space in March, premieres Sunday at a free launch party at InsideOut Gallery and Monday on the website www.partyinthepantry.tv.
The show's guests include winemaker Bryan Ulbrich of Left Foot Charley, musician Levi Britton’s Stolen Silver band, and co-hosts Mike Peters and Mallory Ramage, who auditioned for the temporary roles.
“We had an absolute blast,” said Karam, who whipped up a stromboli with Folgarelli’s salami, Boss Mouse artisan cheese, Brownwood Farms’ “Famous Kream” mustard, and eggs, spinach and herbs from Old Hundredth Farm. “I’m 100 percent Lebanese so I grew up in the kitchen with my mom and my aunt and my grandmother. We always cooked in front of people.”
Hayden, who has produced videos for everyone from Goodwill Industries and the Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy to DTE Energy and North Shore Bank of Commerce, said Party in the Pantry was inspired by a Minnesota station’s “for-you by-you” projects created through community connection and collaboration.
“I was really inspired by that model and wanted to make it happen here,” he said. “I thought of the local food and music scenes, both of which seem to go together.
“Another unique element is that we’ll be looking for new locations around Traverse City that highlight some of the beauty and fun areas here,” he said.
Hayden is no stranger to local foods. His Empire-based company uses many locally-grown ingredients from herbs to fruit in its chocolates.
"DC is passionate about local food and being able to sustain what's going on here and we wanted to showcase that," said Warren, who also works with food at Red Ginger restaurant in downtown Traverse City while studying for a degree in social work from Ferris State University. "Our town, our community is really growing. I think it's completely possible to rely on all our local sources for food, and if we did that it would grow our community."
The pair say their hope is to produce 11 half-hour episodes a year with the help of sustaining sponsors. Ideally the show would be picked up nationwide, perhaps even by Food Network or HGTV.
For now they'll turn out about four episodes a year, which will be broadcast online and on UpNorthTV community access channels.
"Our dream would be to have each episode be seasonal, so it's like, 'This month you could be cooking this,'" Hayden said, adding that the website will feature recipes from the shows and local chefs.
Sunday's launch party begins at 6 p.m. and includes cooking demos and tastings Karam will reprise her stromboli, and episode two chef Johnny Jones of Workshop Brewing Co. will stir up carrot-apple soup and live music by Britton, The Accidentals, Blake Elliott and E Minor. "Party in the Pantry" will debut at 7 p.m.