Baking, Babies and Bees w/ Preppy Kitchen's John Kanell and Brian Dow
PRIDE
PRIDE

Episode · 6 months ago

Baking, Babies and Bees w/ Preppy Kitchen's John Kanell and Brian Dow

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Would you consider leaving your job, moving across the country, and buying a ranch with no farming experience? It sounds like the making of a Hallmark original movie. But that’s precisely what husbands John Kanell, and Brian Dow did. These two fathers traded their lives in Los Angeles for idyllic country life in Connecticut, running their own farm. They started a YouTube channel where they shared pieces of their lives, which has budded into a hugely successful business and a published cookbook. 

Be sure to follow John and Brian on YouTube! And pre-order Preppy Kitchen: Recipes for Seasonal Dishes and Simple Pleasures.Your host is Levi Chambers, co-founder of Gayety.Follow the show and keep up with the conversation @Pride.Want more great shows from Straw Hut Media? Check out or website at strawhutmedia.com.Your producers are Levi Chambers, Maggie Boles, Ryan Tillotson and Edited by Silvana AlcalaHave an interesting LGBTQ+ story to share? We might feature U! Email us at lgbtq@strawhutmedia.com.*This podcast is not affiliated with Pride Media.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Straw media. Would you consider leaving your job, moving across the country and buying a ranch with no farming experience? It sounds like the making of a hallmark original movie, but that's precisely what husband's John Canal and Brian Dow did. These two fathers traded their lives in Los Angeles for Idyllic country living in Connecticut, running their own farm. After living most of their lives in busy cities, they started a whole new life where they grew their own food, raised livestock and even kept a colony of bees. They started a youtube channel where they shared pieces of their lives, which is budded into a hugely successful business and an upcoming cookbook. Hey, I'm John, but I'm Brian and this is pride. We recently chatted with former science teacher turned Internet chef sensation, John Canal and his husband turned chief tasting officer, Brian Dow. We talked about all things food, family and farm life. Their story starts out West in a little town called Los Angeles, so we you know, we're both in Ellida. They're all our lives. Grew up there and we had had our sons, Lachlin and George and I was working at time at the time, so I'd really only see them for early in the morning or late at night, if I got home from the office early enough. And we just, you know, we're sort of looking at our lives and it was really stressful and for me in particular, I wasn't seeing the kids as much as I wanted to do, and so we had been coming out here for vacation. We had a friend that moved to the area years ago, which US plage of county and we just said screw it, maybe that some day should be now, and I put my job, we sold our house, the big move and throw our lives out of the window, as we do it. You know, just made a huge change. It came out of here. Like many parents today, John and Brian's work life balance was slightly off. Okay, it was really off. There was a lot more work and a lot less life. So they've decided it was time for a change and it happened just before covid happened. Yeah, so it was it was really nice timing. I'm glad that we did it. Yeah, and we're a little bit settled. Before we had to fully like quarantine ourselves on the farm. But this wasn't a quick move out to a ranch in Malibu. John and Brian packed up and relocated cross country, settling down on a farm in Connecticut, a significant change from the landscape and lifestyle they've known in California. I mean it as we fell in love with the area were in and...

...the land like. It's a very agricultural community. There's a lot of farms and people are just really friendly. It's beautiful and we have a wonderful view. But the house was like, I was like like a house. It's like it was really dated. It was all that dated. It needed like our touch to make it at home and it also needed a nice kitchen for me to work it. So since I'm like in the kitchen all day long. So that was our first first half was with the build a kitchen. It's really is office. So and you know, in our General House, I would come home and they're just being it's kind of like having a full Thanksgiving dinner cooked in your house every single day. Packing your life into boxes and moving them nearly two hundred miles is hard enough, but imagine doing it with twin two year olds. Seeing their boys thrive on the farm for Brian and John makes the relocation well worth it. Yeah, it's interesting. You know, they actually what were they? Two and a half? There are gifts to yeah, when we moved out here. Yeah, they just turned to it just turned to so they don't even remember. Lah, not really. Yeah. So this is really kind of all they know and it's such a wonderful place to grow up as you have persons. It's one of that you know, conceptually we understood like O, be cool to have to grow up on a farm. We have actually being here now for almost three years. It's been fun to watch them and they really understand food in the different way that we. We just thought food some gross growing up. That's, you know, what your concept is going to put in the city. But the boys we planted these apple trees and they got to see them blossom and spring and then grow fruit in the summer that, you know, we all went out and picked and they got to Bacon Apple Pie with Papa. So they just have a completely different understanding than we did of food and the whole process, which is really lovely. So they're all finding their own way on the farm. But we still have to address that work life balance. I mentioned earlier. Since launching his wildly successful YouTube Channel preppy kitchen in two thousand and sixteen, John has been the solo star until recently when Brian and the twins started to make more regular appearances. But was it a conscious decision to make it a family affair? I feel like it was a pretty organic decision. A lot of it was like the kids for just too young to be in the kitchen with me, like they love visiting and making appearances, but you know, they're the counters. That was up here for them and now with a stool it's like here, so perfect. They can like help. Yeah, that's cute. People like give them the stools. Are brought a stool their kids. If it was one of Brian's favorite recipes, like or you know, there was one time he forgot to buy Parsley. For the rest of it, say, it's like just mentioned like we shit or you all that Orio force used to go into a pie. But it's never like, oh, I want to mention Brian this point for any other reason. It's just because we're a family and he's part of it and so of the kids, and I just it was always a thing like where's your husband?...

Why is he ever on camera? I just put my old job. I thought it would be a little weird really, and also I was like why, why do feel I don't have to be like he doesn't know how to boil it. But yeah, I think also the boys grew up. They were curious to see more of our family and we didn't really we don't have like hard and fast rules and people show this. We won't show that just you know, as the boys have gotten older, they understand that he's thinking videos and you know, kids like to do with their parents do so they want to get involved. They spend tons of time with him the kitchen anyway. So for them it's fun. Yeah, Brian, was was this shift hard for you because, I mean, you got a huge career as an agent, you had huge stars on your roster of clients that you managed. Was this a big shift for you? Um, yes, I'M gonna lie. It's kind of by we just got some new cattle yesterday, so I was helping them offload into one of the big barns and someone said something and anyway, I took a Selfie of me at the cows and my sentences of my friends, of whom, like still live in La and work in the business and they're just like what think you do? They're all fascinating with the they all love it. I'm like, I'm like the one who escaped, you know, like gets the lip with fun life like here. So I think they all know it's all very imperial. Yeah, but everybody loves it, you know. They like I can't believe that, that looks so fun. I do that. So yeah, it's a nice change of pace. Now it really is all hands on deck for John and Brian. Preppy kitchen has become much more than a youtube channel posting weekly recipes. This family business has the makings of a household lifestyle brand. I think it's just sort of said that balls that. Like yeah, we did, because we moved out here and we ended up buying the empty land next door and we bought the farm across the streets and when we did that we kind of inadvertently repeace together this farm from colonial times, like well over two hundred years ago. So it's been really cool that it's been continuously different forms of agricultural uses the time. So like we're really into that. When I keep that going. You wanted to preserve the character of the land and not let just get developed in the Friday house, because with Covid a lot of building was happening. Yeah, my God. Yeah, it's nice to be able to preserve the land. And so we're just there's so much that goes on here the week. Don't so we actually talked about like should we start a channel that's just devoted to the farm, because it's constantly stuffed me on stuff, like they're farm animals. Yeah, like the mini ponies is somehow like unlock their gate.

Yeah, just be sitting. Will be like sitting here now and you see this. Well, looks like a my little pony, because you have many monies. You dark my window, the minis are out, you know, the jump in the KMODA and like trying to wrangle them and unfortunately one of the blind. So, yeah, the world. So it's just, I don't know, it's been something that's sort of built on itself. Like we said, the kids got older, so now they participate. Ye Know, we're just showing what gooes, what goes on, and a lot of what happens on the property makes sense for a food channel because the big kitchen gardens just right outside of the kitchen. So walks out of the kitchen, cuts herbs, cuts whatever it is, brings back in and cooks that. You show that? Or if we you know, we planted five acres of very ex tightly punk pumpings Yastre. When we come back John's upcoming career milestone beekeeping and miniature P ponies, stay tuned. Welcome back to pride. This week we're with John Canal and Brian Dow, husbands who have created a full time family business from a cooking channel on Youtube called preppi kitchen. The two recently relocated from La to a farm in Connecticut with their two sons, Lachlin and George. Assembled a small petting zoo including miniature ponies and goats. But do they have plans to add more animals to the farm? Now? There's not. We talked about it. Getting will chickens, obviously, but not. What do they called? I'll pack up. Yeah, planking. That would be cute. I don't think we're gonna get any more animals unless they can fund is really cute. Sheep? Oh, yeah, obsessed with what are they come? I can't remember. Like a vlwash sheep from? Yeah, that'll all blacks. Yeah, the little cartstam sheep with the black face, like puff of white fur. I desperately want reindeer. That's like what I really want. Like my perfect life would be living somewhere that was like snowy but not too cold, had this like you with pole vibe, and then I'd have like reindeer. You know. Yeah, I wouldn't mind planting if we talk. We talked last year, but we just sit every year. You have these plans, but we had to get used to coming out from the West Coast. Is here the season of building season, and then you're like living in a desolate Tundra and you can't do that anything right. We're in La it's seventy two, it's onny all the time. You're like Oh, yeah, whatever, whenever. That kind of schedule. Yeah, so every year we have all these plans and we get to what we get to. So this is your hopefully Abel plant our Christmas tree is because that'll be really fun. But the boys like go out cut down that would be so cute here. Yeah, so cute its size. Have the greenery for holiday time and other I mean we have like sixty acres in the hay, which is writting, and it's just kind of there. We let some of it goat to see he's love that. That was so and we're got so well...

...because our bee hives when they established themselves really, really quickly. And I would tell you, like I'm not the biggest fan of honey. It's like honey, but our honey from our be's is delicious. It's so light it's like it's adulterated, but it's also a blended so it's like if you always look at if you look at honey to store, it's always the same color and it's because they take everything from black honey, which is like pure, like tar, all the way to like white honey, which is like water, and it's always blended to have a similar flavor profile and color for consistency sake, but basically our local wild flowers and everything else, and yet like a nice, delicate, light honey that's delicious. As I always say, save the bees and for John and Brian. Some of these simpler things really seem to be a particularly joyful part of farm life, which I think is a good reminder to appreciate the little things in life. Well, the other nice thing about being here was we saw so many different types of these, like when we walk. We had one outing where we just watched our pear tree for a long time because it was swarmed with bees. It was the height of its flowering and there was everything from sweat beast, we had to look up, little trainy in CBNC bees, to bumble bees and honey bees and everything else, and they're all just working together and it was this fascinating to watch. It's going to mesmerizing. Yeah, UN to see the whole cycle. Yeah, my favorite thing to do last summer and fall was to watch this little colony of bumblebees that had established themselves or right out of bread Atide of our front door, underneath the bush. I would just sit on the stairs and like watch them flying and fly out and do their old dances, sold network of tunnels. Yeah, and they would like those big furry ones. They don't a mega bumblebeats. As we said, it's very different from our life. Is Certain what I was doing in La I still have to wonder. Did their move to the countryside check all their boxes, or did they trade the hustle and bustle of Metro life for an equally wildlife on the farm? I think the Nice thing about doing something you love, like we get to do, is that you love doing it. So, you know, if I had some free time in the evening, I most likely like answering comments or planning more videos or recipes and editing photos. But you know, we definitely take time to be with the kids and be present. Oh for sure. Yeah, and yeah, it's this point. I mean it's this, is this, this is what we wanted to come out here and do, and I think that we never really understood how much we would love it and what it would turn into. And so, you know, it's kind of a hobby for us. And so that, you know, what we love to do is develop this place and plan out what we can grow and share in that the boys. So really the content is just a...

...reflection of all of that. So worklife, I don't think we think about it that way because work getting was very much a destination before and meetings. Idea in that office, calls it's gottle. You know he's to be a teacher. So it just it's just seems different now. And also when you're working for yourself, you know, you hear a lot of people say it's just if there's a different x factor to it. While John Maybe the face of preppy kitchen, he has also had to do every other role while building his business, including video editor, social media manager, recipe developer. But as the brand grows he has gotten extra help, right. I mean we have youtube help because that's too much. Editing long form videos is a lot of work. I Have I've done it in the path. I used to do it, but now it's more all all dishort form videos. I'll do all of the photography and you know, the iphone work and I think when you're a creative person like John, I know John Really loves, you know, recipe development and all of that side of it. And you know he's uploading. He used to be one youtube video. We now it's three, but that's that's many, many hours of editing. It's so you know, he absolutely knows how to do it, but that's something that you can easily have up you know someone that's really an expert. Yeah, that so you know, we I think we also with the business it grows. Obviously we were really conscious of it not taking family time away. So a lot of people that asks, well, how do you decide when you bring someone on? And for us, when it starts encroaching on anything with Laughlin and Georgia. It's like, okay, it's time to help, you know, maybe bring on a freelancer someone to help out with that, because again, the whole point of US coming out here was really to be able to like have that quality time. So that's sort of our loose way of deciding. Okay, it's hard to get some way to help us out with this. Have you noticed, and and me I've noticed, have you noticed that this is kind of a gay dad thing, like a Gay Dad with kids thing? I know so many couples either on instagram or social media, who like Dustin and Burton, who live in, I think, South Carolina, who have their kids and they have a farmer situation going on. This is like becoming a thing. Maybe it's just because they know, like the case, are going to be really good at this whole like fun thing. Yeah, yeah, but I think in general a lot of people are kind of those like a fight from cities. So maybe it's just across the board thing. As the success of preppy kitchen sores, John Finally finished a personal passion project he'd been hinting at for years, a Cook Book titled Preppy Kitchen Recipes for seasonal dishes and simple pleasures. I'm so excited for this book because it's been a...

...long time coming and also like a dream of mine. I've I grew up, like my mom is from Mexico and she had cookbooks go lore just with all these different recipes from around the world because she loved learning, and these were for my grandmother and everywhere else and filled with yellowed articles that they had clipped out and like writing in the margins and splatters from cooking and baking, and they're like such treasured family objects, and to now have my own physical book out of coming out is really exciting. This book is organized by seasons, so for each season you're going to have like the freshest ingredients for that time of year and also recipes that fit the mood, because you know, like in the wintertime we are getting cozy and nesting and you want indulgent comfort food. So wholo holidays, I want that all the time. I know if it's true. Well, you can always flip to that chapter and will be there for you. But then, like in the spring and summer, you have an abundance of produce and fresh herbs so like I'm making like muscles and white wine with like fresh herbs and having that with a crusty bread. That's like one of my go to dream recipes. I'm very excited is in the book and I also pulled out like a lot of family favorites that were is really personal to me. So things like I'm a lemono, which is a Greek lemon soup which is basically like magical medicine. If you ever feel sick or even like a little bit cold, you have it and it is a delicious, like rich, velvety lemony chicken soup. And my other favorite, which is kind of kind of obscure, is a Swedish apple cake, the fun of my mom's recipes. That's coached apples that like their pushing like a spice wine mixture and then their nestled in this moraine filled with almonds and baked and it's like light and very subtle and delicious. It was also nice to have the book show more of the farm and our life together, because Brian and the kids are really in it and you know, in a blog post it's almost in me. It is a meme where people like, like I don't want I don't know. I wondered about your history. I don't want to know about your connection to the recipes. Give me the recipes and you want to like give people the recipe so that they can like make the food and not read through dunce ends your emotional connection? Does that? It seems like it's very deeply routed. I mean you just reference your mom, it seems like, cooking and recipes and even the book. That's kind of the emotion that is behind it. Is that fair to say? Yeah, I mean food is about love and coming together and sharing like these really primal, amazing things that hold us together, and it's a common language we all speak. And for me I have such a personal connection with food because, like I said earlier, my mom is from Mexico, which she came from a really small village and you know, she made everything from scratch and she also is someone who loves learning and loves food. So when she came here she dove into all sorts of different kinds of cuisine and she showed that with...

...a family she had these multi course meals every day. There was always like a dessert hanging out someplace, and I grew up helping her in the kitchen and learning from her. And more than a skill, what I really learned was just a love of trying new things and just experimenting with flavors. John's first cookbook, preppy kitchen recipes for seasonal dishes and simple pleasures, is available for preorder now from Amazoncom and Barnes and noble. For Inspiration in the kitchen today, visit preppy kitchencom and be sure to subscribe to preppy kitchen on Youtube and follow it on social media at preppy kitchen. You can follow John on Instagram at John Canal, and Brian at Brian Dow and if there was one thing that you hope, because it's a cook book, right, it's about cooking and, you know, making things together, but if there was one thing that you hope people either get from your book or that your book gives them, what would that thing be? A delicious time together. That's what it is. It's like it's making a meal and sharing it. It's like an active love. So you know you're showing someone you care for them by spending your time, which is so valuable, making something for everybody that you can share together. And then, you know, we love just sitting around the table and talking and have the kids ask US questions about various countries, because that's what their main interest right now is, geography. Yeah, like, have you been to North Macedonia? Have you been to this? Like? Y're all different, really obscure places, like to bet. Have you been there? Yes, all of giving us a run for our money with you, I know, but it's over over a delicious meal. So it's like our time together just to game. You play. Yeah, well, and kids just assume you've done it. Yeah, they're like, why haven't you been to Russia? Why have you not been? Haven't made it there yet yet. But I love the book shows our whole family and I love that. You know, it might inspire people that being change and their own life with their in a situation or in a career or what their life just isn't what they wanted to be. That you know can understand it. You can make a bold change and it can work out. Pride is a production of Straw hte media. If you like the show, leave us a rating and review on Apple, podcast, spotify, wherever you listen to podcast. Then follow us on Instagram, Tick Tock, facebook and twitter at pride and tune in weekly for more episodes. Be Sure to share this episode with your...

...friends and subscribe for more stories from Amazing Queer people. If you'd like to connect with me, you can follow me everywhere at Le by chambers. This episode of pride was produced by me Le by Chambers, Maggie Bulls, Ryan Tillotson and Brandon Marlowe, edited by Silvana all Calla and Daniel Ferreira. Sound mixing by Silvana all Calla. But the baby goats are the cutest things, oh my God, especially Nigerian tourists. I mean, yeah, they're amazing. I've seen whole like tick tock channels is devoted to like Nigerian dwork cut babies because they're cute.

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