Hicks is on a quest to assemble a plate of each state’s most emblematic foods. Along the way, he visits farms, ranches, markets, festivals, and other exciting locales in order to uncover the stories and legends behind the state’s unique food traditions.
He describes the show as, “A truly farm-to-table concept. It’s a cross between Dirty Jobs and Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.”
Taylor has a deep passion for food. Not only does he enjoy throwing down in his own kitchen, he is co-owner of Saw’s Juke Joint, a BBQ and blues bar in his hometown of Birmingham, Alabama.
EUR/Electronic Urban Report chatted with Hicks about some of his stops on “State Plate,” and he also explained what makes the series so unique compared to similar cooking shows on TV and the Internet.
“Everybody has their own kind of niche as far a food show goes. Well, this food show is different because it really does educate the person. My question to the audience is: Do you know what famous foods come from North Dakota? Do you know what famous foods come from Rhode Island? This type of show truly educates the audience not just about their own particular region that they live in from a food perspective, but also other regions of the country,” Hicks explained. “Not only that, ultimately the goal is to travel to all fifty cities and use it as an educational tool for students. It’s a great way of connecting the history of this country through food.”
Check out the rest of our Q&A with Taylor Hicks below.
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Considering your background in music, what prompted you to get into hosting a food show?
Taylor: I’ve been on the road as an entertainer for all of my life, and obviously growing up in different restaurants, and actually co-owning a restaurant right now called Saw’s BBQ. I’ve been pitching ideas to host a food show for a while now. And this one has just hit a home run. The concept is absolutely amazing.
“State Plate” gives viewers a history lesson through food. Did you learn anything culturally surprising while filming the series?
Taylor: Each state has its own culture and each state has its own food culture, and when I’m going to each state finding these iconic foods, there is a unique type of people that actually grow these foods and have these dishes, and it’s truly is a great representation of just how diverse our food and agriculture is in the country.
Take us through some of the places you visit for this first season.
Taylor: We do lobstering in Maine. We go down into Louisiana and we crawfish, and we go into Texas and do brisket. I‘m actually doing a lot of herding of cattle and livestock. It’s a show about foods that are iconic to each state, and it’s such a great way for people to see my personality as opposed to the musical side. I’m learning as much as the viewer is as we go along.
Which city left the most savory impression?
Taylor: I would have to say New Orleans. New Orleans has always had my heart from the very beginning. Not just from a people perspective but from a food perspective. There’s a lot of soul in New Orleans.
If you could eat one dish for 30 days, what would it be?
Taylor: Crawfish etouffee.
You’re the co-owner of a BBQ and blues bar in your hometown, and you enjoy throwing down in the kitchen. Does managing employees take the joy out of cooking?
Taylor: Absolutely not. If there is love in the kitchen, then there’s love in the restaurant.
Watch the “State Plate” Illinois Beef Sandwich clip below:
What’s your favorite holiday meal to cook?
Taylor: I would say sweet potato casserole.
Taylor: Ya know, I don’t do marshmallows in my sweet potato casserole. I work strictly on the crust. I like to do a really nice, fine almond-cinnamon crust over the top.
Considering your accomplishments to date, is there one that is most meaningful to you?
Taylor: I think every accomplishment is meaningful to me. Each of them has their own weight, so to speak. I would say being able to give back to my community is one of my favorite things to do, through whatever charities that I’m working with. Giving back is the main thing.
Are there any other projects you’re working on this fall or next year?
Taylor: I’m working on a new album that’s going to be released next year. So, I’m going to be doing the State Plate, and I’m the studio working on the new record. So there will be new music too.
What is your idea of happiness?
Taylor: My idea of happiness is knowing that you have happiness within yourself to be who you are.
Tune in to “State Plate” with host Taylor Hicks on the family entertainment network INSP, which is available nationwide via DirecTV, Verizon FiOS, AT&T U-verse and more than 2,800 cable systems. Click here to find INSP in your area.
INSP is available nationwide via DirecTV (channel 364), Verizon FiOS (channel 286), AT&T U-verse (channel 564) and more than 2,800 cable systems. Click here to find INSP in your area. For quality dramas, positive entertainment and inspiring stories, celebrating the American spirit and honoring timeless traditional values, it’s INSP.
Watch the “State Plate” Chicago Dog clip below: