Meet the 2014 BFBA Winners: The Perennial Plate

Each year we've hosted the Best Food Blog Awards, we're astounded at the depth, variety, creativity, and ingenuity of the food blogs nominated, and this year was no exception. Through this series of interviews, the 2014 winners share the stories behind their blogs, deepening our appreciation for their work that much more. Here, Daniel Klein talks about his project with Mirra Fine, The Perennial Plate, the editors' choice winner for Best Use of Video.

Brandon Klein

Category: Best Use of Video, Editors' Choice

Running Since? Filming started in the fall of 2009 with our first episode and Kickstarter campaign launching in early 2010.

Geographic Location: Minneapolis, MN

When and how did you become interested in culinary film? How did the project of your blog get started, and how did you decide on the focus? The series began as a way of combining three passions of mine—I had made a feature length film, had been a long time activist, and had been working in professional kitchens for a number of years. I wanted to bring them together into one project; a web series about sustainable food was the result.

The focus has evolved over time, especially as Mirra took on a full partner role. What started as more of a how-to and knowledge based show has a evolved into a more human and emotional storytelling process between food producers and our audience.

We decided on the focus of the series because we continue to be frustrated by the prevalence of industrial food in the U.S. and want to see it change. We feel that entertainment, information, and inspiration will help encourage the move toward a more just food system.

What are your favorite video posts? I tend to like our most recent videos; the last one we put out was about a grass-fed beef rancher in Argentina. But I think an all time favorite is a love story on a tea farm in Sri Lanka.

The Perennial Plate - Crab

Mirra Fine

What is your process for developing a video post? We have an incredible sponsor—Intrepid Travel—that sends us all around the world. We go away for a month at a time visiting two countries and then we come back and edit. Before our visit we do extensive research, find bloggers and food writers and chefs and farmers and ask them about their favorite stories, then we show up and hope for the best. We really try to let the subjects of our films guide us—we want to get the best story they have to tell, not the story that we want them to tell.

What do you draw inspiration from? It's pretty hard not to be inspired by the folks that we meet. People who work in farming and food production tend to have a deep connection to their work and land (as it is so difficult), so they tend to be packed with wisdom and inspiration that is infectious.
We also get very inspired by music—often a huge part of the editing process and storytelling is to find a song that speaks to the story.