Chef Grady Spears will begin shooting on his new travel and lifestyle television show, called Grady’s Texas Traditions, in the next few weeks. After exploring many options this year and cutting a tentative deal with Discovery Channel, Spears has landed his new television show with locally owned RIDE Television Network.
“We decided to go with RIDE TV for many reasons,” Spears said. “I didn’t like the format or production quality that we were considering at first. Now we will really own the show and have complete creative control, and that’s pretty unheard-of in television. Plus, the folks at RIDE are just our kind of people.”
Spears, who has the Horseshoe Hill Cafe in the Stockyards, says the new program will be more than just a cooking show.
“We will be traveling to different locations. It will be more of an interview format,” he said.
Nathan Fletcher, executive producer with F2 Media, the Fort Worth company that will produce the program for RIDE TV, wants to let Spears’ personality shine through in the new show. “If we had him in a stiff environment, reading off a teleprompter, it just wouldn’t work,” he said. “We plan to let Grady be Grady. That’s what initially attracted me to the idea.”
Fletcher describes the feel of the show as more “documentary” than most staged cooking shows.
Grady’s Texas Traditions will capture different cultures and attend special events, but it will always return to the heart of what it means to be a Texan, Fletcher said.
“Cooking will be a part of the show, because that is who Grady Spears is,” said Fletcher. “If he is demonstrating what makes a true Maine lobster chowder, he will do it with his own Texan flare.”
In addition to celebrity interviews, there will be farming and ranching segments exploring where the produce and products begin and a constant focus on what goes into making wholesome food. F2 Media produces about 70 percent of the content on RIDE TV. Fletcher said he hopes to have initial episodes of Spears’ show ready to air in the spring.
“We plan to shine a spotlight on Fort Worth, too, and feature the Stockyards and Exchange Avenue prominently in the show,” Spears said. “You will see Fort Worth’s world-famous herd of longhorn steers in the opening shot.”
Spears likes to stay busy. Horseshoe Hill Cafe just marked its first year in business and he travels back and forth to Houston, where he is in his eighth year as consulting chef at NRG Stadium. NRG is the home of the Houston Texans, but Spears will cut an even higher profile when the stadium hosts Super Bowl LI on Feb. 5.
Spears rose to fame at Reata Restaurants, then penned a series of books that popularized cowboy cuisine. He has owned or been a partner in several restaurants over the years, including Grady’s, Dutch’s Burgers and Beer and the Nutt House in Granbury.
He’s no stranger to television, having appeared on Good Morning America, The Today Show and several Food Network programs.
Spears also has three books being readied for release in 2017.
Cowboy Cooking Around the World will focus on the cuisine of American cowboys, Argentine vaqueros and Mexican caballeros. Ranch-style cooking has a long history and is embedded in many cultures, and Spears’ new cookbook aims to explore that heritage.
Another book will be a collection of recipes from Spears’ own repertoire and will be branded along with the new television series Grady’s Texas Traditions, though the title is still undecided.
Not all the books are cookbooks. The first installment of a children’s book series, called Tumbleweed Tom, is in the illustration phase now.
The series introduces characters such as Cookie Duster Migillicutty, a cowboy chef (not unlike the author himself) who sports a billowing white handlebar mustache and 10-gallon hat, whose “trusty old apron” serves as his Linus-style blanket and whose companion is Cornbread, the ever-loyal ranch dog. “The two are inseparable,” says Spears. “The only thing that could ever tear them apart would be Tumbleweed!”
The stories will subtly educate young readers about cowboy lifestyle and lingo, as well as about the importance of agriculture, ranching and the farm-to-table food movement.