“Secrets of Bluegrass Chefs” was in town Wednesday at Mermaids to tape a segment of the program that takes Kentucky out to dinner at some of the best least-known eateries in the Bluegrass region.
The show is a production of BNB Productions LLC of Louisville and is designed to, according to producer Dan Davidsaver, redefine local television. The show airs locally at 6 p.m. Monday through Friday on WTVQ-2. The segment featuring Mermaids on Fourth Street is expected to air in about a month.
“We want to bring something positive to local TV, and we are doing that by bringing people inside and showing the chefs sharing their secrets, but it’s more than just a restaurant,” said Davidsaver. “It’s all about the story.”
The Mermaids story is that of a dream come true for owner Tim Robbins, who opened his “bistro” in 2010.
“People always ask what my background is, that I wanted to open Mermaids and I alway say I have plenty of restaurant experience — eating in them, that is,” Robbins said. “I love entertaining, and this is very much how I want Mermaids to be. I always want people to leave here feeling like they had a good experience.”
Robbins said the Mermaids theme serves two purposes.
“I call it ‘island time.’ That feeling you get from being on the beach, and I love the beach, love the water. Also, I have a goddaughter who just loves mermaids,” he said.
Robbins, from Stanford, said he helped his brother, Bruce, start up Lafayette Engineering Inc. before following this dream, making the recent recognition even more fulfilling.
“I am flattered,” he said. “And humbled.”
BNB Account Executive Jason Pierce said he chose Mermaids after a visit. Mermaids’ venue is attractive, the food is amazing, and the chefs clearly love what they do.
“I wanted to bring the show here as soon as I saw it,” he said.
After serving in the military — twice — with both the Marines and theU.S. Army, Sous Chef Rob Snow found himself looking down different roads without being very excited about where either might take him.
“I drove a truck for a while,” he said. “I thought about joining the state police, that kind of thing, but I just wasn’t excited about any of that.”
Snow realized he was most at home — simply happy — in the kitchen. One of his earliest memories is of cooking eggs for himself before anyone else in the house was awake. He was so little, he said, he had to climb up onto the stovetop and sit right by a burner to be able to cook.
“It would scare my grandmother to death,” he said. It was a variation of one of her recipes he was cooking for the show.
He finished cooking school two years ago at the age of 38.
Executive Chef Nic Wisecarver prepared a local-sourced “Kentucky Proud” filet, aged 28 days and grilled so tender it cut with a spoon, to the delight of the show’s host, Tim Laird, who swooned and teased out the details of the preparation in a running commentary for the cameras as the chef worked.
Laird said what is fun about the show is being inside the restaurants and behind the scenes with the chefs and in the kitchens, saying this gives viewers the confidence to go somewhere they may not have visited otherwise.
“Oh, this is a great little town!” he said.