By Sherrie Norris
We’ve seen her recipes in some of our favorite state-wide publications and we loved having her return to her hometown in 2019 as special guest speaker for Farm City Banquet. Now, we can all see Boone native Sheri Castle in a new weekly PBS cooking show beginning this Thursday. Episodes will air at 7:30 p.m. on Thursdays for eight weeks, then repeat for the following eight weeks. It will also air on Sunday afternoons and will also be available online and through certain steaming platforms. (See listings below.)
A well-known award-winning author, cook and speaker, Castle will host ‘The Key Ingredient,” premiering September 23 at 7:30 p.m. on PBS North Carolina. — and her first segment will include scenes of her grinding meal with her dad at her parents’ home in Boone.
According to information provided by PBS, during each half-hour episode, Castle will feature one local ingredient, tracing its journey from source to kitchen to table. Throughout the series, she will also introduce viewers to North Carolina farmers, fishermen and chefs and will share approachable home cooking recipes and tips.
“Great stories have always fascinated me, both listening to them and telling a few of my own,” Castle said. “It’s the same with creating great recipes and gathering top-notch ingredients that convey a sense of place. It’s been an honor to team up with PBS North Carolina, fellow cooks, farmers and artisan producers to trace local ingredients we love from the ground up, all the way to our home kitchens.”
PBS describes “The Key Ingredient” as a modern take on the familiar ‘stand-and-stir’ format from Executive Producer and Director Heather Burgiss, which Castle celebrates the state’s culinary diversity alongside notable local chefs and home cooks. Together, Castle and her guests will explore their connections to local ingredients and share recipes that marry southern traditions — like skillet cornbread and buttermilk biscuits with unique chef creations, such as Chef Cheetie Kumar’s Indian-inspired coconut cornmeal upma and muscadine pie from Milk Glass Pie owner Keia Mastrianni.
“Sheri may rub elbows with the best chefs in the south, but she’s a homegrown North Carolina cook who always keeps it real in the kitchen,” says PBS North Carolina CEO Lindsay Bierman. “Her doable recipes feed our souls and connect us more deeply to our southern roots.”
The series of eight episodes features four recipes per show, all available online, with additional cooking tips from Castle released in weekly ‘Sheri Says’ videos. Viewers can join the conversation by posting their own recipes and photos to Facebook and Instagram using hashtag #TheKeyIngredient.
Prior to the season premiere on September 23, PBS North Carolina hosted a virtual sneak peek event with Castle as host on Monday, Sept. 20, at 7:30 p.m.. The event included a preview screening of the first episode, followed by a Q&A led by Executive Producer and Director Heather Burgiss.
New episodes of “The Key Ingredient” will air Thursday nights at 7:30, on PBS NC and YouTube. Full episodes will be available on demand at video.pbsnc.org and via the PBS Video App across iOS and Apple TV, Android TV, Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Chromecast and Samsung Smart TVs.
For more information about “The Key Ingredient” with Sheri Castle, the host, guest chefs and recipes from the episodes, visit www.TheKeyIngredient.com.
About Sheri Castle
PBS tells us that as an award-winning food writer, cooking teacher and public speaker, Castle is known for melding culinary expertise, storytelling, and humor. “She can tell a tale while making a memorable meal. Her creative, well-crafted recipes and practical advice inspire people to cook with confidence and enthusiasm.”
She’s written 16 cookbooks as author, collaborator or ghost writer, and her work appears in dozens of magazines. In 2019, the Southern Foodways Alliance named Castle among Twenty Living Legends of Southern Food, calling her “The Storyteller,” and described as “our best advocate for the rich history of southern home cooking.”
Castle was the subject of five short documentaries on southern food produced by A Spoken Dish. Sheri was a featured guest on “The Chef and The Farmer,” which is syndicated nationally through PBS. She was also the culinary producer on a set of 20 instructional videos for Yahoo Food.
She has been described as one of the most popular and experienced cooking teachers in the country. One journalist said, “Sheri Castle is one of the most brilliant recipe developers I know, a terrific writer, and her cooking classes are equal parts crucial info and laugh-until-you-drop trenchant observation.” Sheri is a popular speaker and demonstration chef at culinary and literary festivals, from high- profile events to community gatherings.”
Among her many accolades, in 2015, Castle was one of seven writers in the country accepted to the inaugural session of the Southern Foodways Alliance’s nonfiction writing workshop at the Rivendell Writers’ Colony.
Castle won the 2011 AIWF Foundation Scholarship for Recipe Writing presented in honor of Julia Child. She was on the Gilt Taste team that won the 2012 Bert Green Journalism New Media Award for instructive food articles with recipes from the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP).
She is a member of the Southern Foodways Alliance and Les Dames d’Escoffier International (LDEI.)
She earned a BA with Honors from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and inducted into the Phi Beta Kappa and Phi Eta Sigma honor societies.
Castle said that she’s “fueled by great ingredients and the endless pursuit of intriguing stories, usually about the role that food plays in our lives, families, communities and culture. “
She currently resides near Chapel Hill.
Emmy award-winning Executive Producer and Director Heather Burgiss has been telling the stories of her beloved adopted home state and developing new series and shows for both digital and broadcast at PBS North Carolina since 2000.
In “The Key Ingredient,” Burgess leads the development, writing and direction of this modern ‘stand-and-stir’ with Castle, exploring ingredients from the ground up with farmers, producers and recipes in the kitchen. In casting and storylines, Burgiss seeks out unique, diverse voices to give the audience a deeper glimpse and connection into the subject at hand.
About PBS North Carolina
As North Carolina’s statewide PBS network serving the country’s third-largest public media market, PBS NC educates, informs, entertains and inspires its statewide audience on-air, online and in-person. Through its unique partnership of public investment and private support, the statewide network includes in-person engagement, digital-first social and online content delivery, and four over-the-air channels—PBS NC, the North Carolina Channel, Rootle 24/7 PBS Kids and the Explorer Channel. Its transformational events and content spark curiosity and wonder for all North Carolinians. Additionally, PBS NC serves as the backbone for North Carolina’s state’s emergency services. Visit pbsnc.org and join the conversation at facebook.com/MyPBSNC and @MyPBSNC on Instagram and Twitter.