Thursday, December 27, 2012

Spend a Little Time at BunkyCooks

Posted By on Thu, Dec 27, 2012 at 1:10 PM

Not only did much of Nashville's culinary community descend on the recent Thomas Keller/Sebastien Rouxel event earlier this month, but there were plenty of out-of-towners there as well. Two interesting non-natives that I met that evening were Gwen Pratesi and her husband Roger. Together they publish a blog called, and were recently named a James Beard finalist for best individual food blog.

initially, Gwen set up the blog as a place to share recipes with strangers and friends, but soon she found herself sharing more and more about her life at BunkyCooks. About a decade ago, Roger was diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer, so the two of them have plenty of inspirational stories about his battle with the disease and the adventures they have shared along the way.

Roger is doing much better and has certainly outlived that initial pessimistic diagnosis. His outlook remains positive, and he says his whole attitude toward life has changed. "I'm no longer the hard-charging businessman. I now care more about relationships and stories of people's views and what they care about." Roger mans the camera to document his and Gwen's travel and culinary adventures while they seek out these stories.

They have a wonderful ability to open themselves up to people to find the true story. Roger opines, "In business, there's a distance between people. Not in the culinary world. Chefs don't shake hands; they hug!" The couple has interviewed a handful of famous chefs including John Besh, Ming Tsai and Linton Hopkins, and they visit and profile resorts across the country. Not a bad gig, if you ask me.

They've also started a new venture to share these experiences through their On the Road Culinary Adventures website. The Pratesis plan and lead excursions to regional culinary hotbeds like Charleston and Louisville. I have some friends who accompanied the couple on their recent visit to the Van Winkle Distillery and a private dinner with Julian Van Winkle at Seviche Restaurant in Louisville and they had a great time.

So add to your feed reader or keep an eye on their travel site for upcoming opportunities. I'm sure if you hang around these two long enough, you're liable to get fed some amazing food!

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