Take one Denver native, add a sprinkling of jobs including Internet ventures, restaurant management, being personal assistant to Warren Beatty and Annette Benning, and real estate. Then combine one supportive wife, three kids and a passion for cooking and you have Peter Reynolds, host of Father Knows Food, a new cooking show on PBS. Reynolds, a Stapleton resident, is indeed a father who knows food, coming up with creative recipes to feed the family well and on a budget. The show started its run on public television, first on CPT12 and now on RMPBS PBS, channel 6. Reynolds describes Father Knows Food as a cooking demonstration show but with a lifestyle aspect to show viewers they can wear a lot of different hats. Reynolds who, while selling real estate and creating the show, is also full-time dad to his children, ages 7 months, 3 and 4. “You don’t have to give up your life to be a work-from-home dad or stay-at-home dad and still be able to cook great meals for your family that aren’t going to break the bank and are totally achievable by anybody with a fairly decent spice rack and pantry. You can still fly fish, play hockey and do all that stuff.”
The show is a labor of love, not only feeding Reynolds’ passion for cooking but also combining his wife’s abilities and contacts. Jenna Reynolds serves as a creative force on the show, producing it from start to finish. She is the supervising producer for Food Network’s Giada at Home, often traveling for the show but able to do a lot of her production duties from Denver. “Father Knows Food wouldn’t be a show without her,” says Peter. “It wouldn’t be anything without her. I wouldn’t be anything without her, let’s be honest.”
Peter says it was not an easy choice to have Jenna work and have him take care of the kids, full-time. “But that’s where the steady money and most money was so it made sense for her to continue doing what she was doing and for me to still try to concentrate on selling real estate but at the same time, offset our expenses by watching the kids,” he says. “I know I’m happier. I love hanging out with my kids. Sometimes I want to pull my hair out but for the most part they keep me pretty happy.” When asked how he manages to balance work and family, Reynolds laughs and says “not very well! The older kids are in school three days a week and that’s when productivity really takes off.”
The concept for Father Knows Food started with Peter’s love of cooking, fostered by growing up with family dinners prepared by his parents. “I think having meals around the table with your family is really important,” he says. “I’ve always loved to cook and I’ve certainly always loved to eat. Cooking is just one of those things for me that’s cathartic and it’s fun experimenting with different foods.”
When the couple heard of an opportunity to submit a cooking show tape to Chef Bobby Flay’s TV show, they jumped at it. The tape wasn’t used but the experience of producing it led to Jenna saying “you’re really a natural on camera; you’re smooth and easy to edit so let’s just put something out there.” They did and made a video that became the first episode of their first season, sending it to stations to garner interest. The couple has produced and filmed Father Knows Food with the help of a film crew that works with Jenna. The couple has funded the show themselves. “We’re paying to work right now,” says Peter, “but we’re hoping to turn the corner and start getting underwriting to help cover the costs.”
Peter’s goal is to turn the show into a full-time business. “I’m not trying to get famous. I just want to make money doing this because I really do like it. It’s fun,” says Peter. Ultimately, the goal is to take the show national. “With a national audience, that’s when the revenue really starts rolling in,” Peter explains. “You can do the cookbooks, guest appearances, the endorsements that actually pay you. You sacrifice a lot when you decide to do that though, certainly on the front end because you’re taking money and investing it in this business that is totally unproven. It’s incredibly cutthroat and competitive.”
So far, the feedback on the Father Knows Food episodes and website have been very positive. “If we can keep doing that and keep people happy, then why not get paid for it and have fun doing it,” he says. “We believe in it.”
Hi Peter! Hope you don’t mind but I am forwarding this to a few friends! I love your show!
Mind?!?! I’m honored and grateful that you would send it around! Thanks for your support!