EPISODE 135: Baking, Babies and Bees w/ Preppy Kitchen's John Kanell and Brian Dow

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Show Notes

Would you consider leaving your job, moving across the country, and buying a ranch with no farming experience? It sounds like the making of a Hallmark original movie. But that’s precisely what husbands John Kanell, and Brian Dow did. These two fathers traded their lives in Los Angeles for idyllic country life in Connecticut, running their own farm. They started a YouTube channel where they shared pieces of their lives, which has budded into a hugely successful business and a published cookbook.

Be sure to follow John and Brian on YouTube! And pre-order Preppy Kitchen: Recipes for Seasonal Dishes and Simple Pleasures. Your host is Levi Chambers, co-founder of Gayety. Follow the show and keep up with the conversation @Pride. Want more great shows from Straw Hut Media? Check out or website at strawhutmedia.com. Your producers are Levi Chambers, Maggie Boles, Ryan Tillotson and Edited by Silvana Alcala Have an interesting LGBTQ+ story to share? We might feature U! Email us at lgbtq@strawhutmedia.com. *This podcast is not affiliated with Pride Media. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Transcript


Straw media. Would you consider leaving
your job, moving across the country and

buying a ranch with no farming experience? It sounds like the making of a

hallmark original movie, but that's precisely
what husband's John Canal and Brian Dow did.

These two fathers traded their lives in
Los Angeles for Idyllic country living in

Connecticut, running their own farm.
After living most of their lives in busy

cities, they started a whole new
life where they grew their own food,

raised livestock and even kept a colony
of bees. They started a youtube channel

where they shared pieces of their lives, which is budded into a hugely successful

business and an upcoming cookbook. Hey, I'm John, but I'm Brian and

this is pride. We recently chatted
with former science teacher turned Internet chef sensation,

John Canal and his husband turned chief
tasting officer, Brian Dow. We

talked about all things food, family
and farm life. Their story starts out

West in a little town called Los
Angeles, so we you know, we're

both in Ellida. They're all our
lives. Grew up there and we had

had our sons, Lachlin and George
and I was working at time at the

time, so I'd really only see
them for early in the morning or late

at night, if I got home
from the office early enough. And we

just, you know, we're sort
of looking at our lives and it was

really stressful and for me in particular, I wasn't seeing the kids as much

as I wanted to do, and
so we had been coming out here for

vacation. We had a friend that
moved to the area years ago, which

US plage of county and we just
said screw it, maybe that some day

should be now, and I put
my job, we sold our house,

the big move and throw our lives
out of the window, as we do

it. You know, just made
a huge change. It came out of

here. Like many parents today,
John and Brian's work life balance was slightly

off. Okay, it was really
off. There was a lot more work

and a lot less life. So
they've decided it was time for a change

and it happened just before covid happened. Yeah, so it was it was

really nice timing. I'm glad that
we did it. Yeah, and we're

a little bit settled. Before we
had to fully like quarantine ourselves on the

farm. But this wasn't a quick
move out to a ranch in Malibu.

John and Brian packed up and relocated
cross country, settling down on a farm

in Connecticut, a significant change from
the landscape and lifestyle they've known in California.

I mean it as we fell in
love with the area were in and

the land like. It's a very
agricultural community. There's a lot of farms

and people are just really friendly.
It's beautiful and we have a wonderful view.

But the house was like, I
was like like a house. It's

like it was really dated. It
was all that dated. It needed like

our touch to make it at home
and it also needed a nice kitchen for

me to work it. So since
I'm like in the kitchen all day long.

So that was our first first half
was with the build a kitchen.

It's really is office. So and
you know, in our General House,

I would come home and they're just
being it's kind of like having a full

Thanksgiving dinner cooked in your house every
single day. Packing your life into boxes

and moving them nearly two hundred miles
is hard enough, but imagine doing it

with twin two year olds. Seeing
their boys thrive on the farm for Brian

and John makes the relocation well worth
it. Yeah, it's interesting. You

know, they actually what were they? Two and a half? There are

gifts to yeah, when we moved
out here. Yeah, they just turned

to it just turned to so they
don't even remember. Lah, not really.

Yeah. So this is really kind
of all they know and it's such

a wonderful place to grow up as
you have persons. It's one of that

you know, conceptually we understood like
O, be cool to have to grow

up on a farm. We have
actually being here now for almost three years.

It's been fun to watch them and
they really understand food in the different

way that we. We just thought
food some gross growing up. That's,

you know, what your concept is
going to put in the city. But

the boys we planted these apple trees
and they got to see them blossom and

spring and then grow fruit in the
summer that, you know, we all

went out and picked and they got
to Bacon Apple Pie with Papa. So

they just have a completely different understanding
than we did of food and the whole

process, which is really lovely.
So they're all finding their own way on

the farm. But we still have
to address that work life balance. I

mentioned earlier. Since launching his wildly
successful YouTube Channel preppy kitchen in two thousand

and sixteen, John has been the
solo star until recently when Brian and the

twins started to make more regular appearances. But was it a conscious decision to

make it a family affair? I
feel like it was a pretty organic decision.

A lot of it was like the
kids for just too young to be

in the kitchen with me, like
they love visiting and making appearances, but

you know, they're the counters.
That was up here for them and now

with a stool it's like here,
so perfect. They can like help.

Yeah, that's cute. People like
give them the stools. Are brought a

stool their kids. If it was
one of Brian's favorite recipes, like or

you know, there was one time
he forgot to buy Parsley. For the

rest of it, say, it's
like just mentioned like we shit or you

all that Orio force used to go
into a pie. But it's never like,

oh, I want to mention Brian
this point for any other reason.

It's just because we're a family and
he's part of it and so of the

kids, and I just it was
always a thing like where's your husband?

Why is he ever on camera?
I just put my old job. I

thought it would be a little weird
really, and also I was like why,

why do feel I don't have to
be like he doesn't know how to

boil it. But yeah, I
think also the boys grew up. They

were curious to see more of our
family and we didn't really we don't have

like hard and fast rules and people
show this. We won't show that just

you know, as the boys have
gotten older, they understand that he's thinking

videos and you know, kids like
to do with their parents do so they

want to get involved. They spend
tons of time with him the kitchen anyway.

So for them it's fun. Yeah, Brian, was was this shift

hard for you because, I mean, you got a huge career as an

agent, you had huge stars on
your roster of clients that you managed.

Was this a big shift for you? Um, yes, I'M gonna lie.

It's kind of by we just got
some new cattle yesterday, so I

was helping them offload into one of
the big barns and someone said something and

anyway, I took a Selfie of
me at the cows and my sentences of

my friends, of whom, like
still live in La and work in the

business and they're just like what think
you do? They're all fascinating with the

they all love it. I'm like, I'm like the one who escaped,

you know, like gets the lip
with fun life like here. So I

think they all know it's all very
imperial. Yeah, but everybody loves it,

you know. They like I can't
believe that, that looks so fun.

I do that. So yeah,
it's a nice change of pace.

Now it really is all hands on
deck for John and Brian. Preppy kitchen

has become much more than a youtube
channel posting weekly recipes. This family business

has the makings of a household lifestyle
brand. I think it's just sort of

said that balls that. Like yeah, we did, because we moved out

here and we ended up buying the
empty land next door and we bought the

farm across the streets and when we
did that we kind of inadvertently repeace together

this farm from colonial times, like
well over two hundred years ago. So

it's been really cool that it's been
continuously different forms of agricultural uses the time.

So like we're really into that.
When I keep that going. You

wanted to preserve the character of the
land and not let just get developed in

the Friday house, because with Covid
a lot of building was happening. Yeah,

my God. Yeah, it's nice
to be able to preserve the land.

And so we're just there's so much
that goes on here the week.

Don't so we actually talked about like
should we start a channel that's just devoted

to the farm, because it's constantly
stuffed me on stuff, like they're farm

animals. Yeah, like the mini
ponies is somehow like unlock their gate.

Yeah, just be sitting. Will
be like sitting here now and you see

this. Well, looks like a
my little pony, because you have many

monies. You dark my window,
the minis are out, you know,

the jump in the KMODA and like
trying to wrangle them and unfortunately one of

the blind. So, yeah,
the world. So it's just, I

don't know, it's been something that's
sort of built on itself. Like we

said, the kids got older,
so now they participate. Ye Know,

we're just showing what gooes, what
goes on, and a lot of what

happens on the property makes sense for
a food channel because the big kitchen gardens

just right outside of the kitchen.
So walks out of the kitchen, cuts

herbs, cuts whatever it is,
brings back in and cooks that. You

show that? Or if we you
know, we planted five acres of very

ex tightly punk pumpings Yastre. When
we come back John's upcoming career milestone beekeeping

and miniature P ponies, stay tuned. Welcome back to pride. This week

we're with John Canal and Brian Dow, husbands who have created a full time

family business from a cooking channel on
Youtube called preppi kitchen. The two recently

relocated from La to a farm in
Connecticut with their two sons, Lachlin and

George. Assembled a small petting zoo
including miniature ponies and goats. But do

they have plans to add more animals
to the farm? Now? There's not.

We talked about it. Getting will
chickens, obviously, but not.

What do they called? I'll pack
up. Yeah, planking. That would

be cute. I don't think we're
gonna get any more animals unless they can

fund is really cute. Sheep?
Oh, yeah, obsessed with what are

they come? I can't remember.
Like a vlwash sheep from? Yeah,

that'll all blacks. Yeah, the
little cartstam sheep with the black face,

like puff of white fur. I
desperately want reindeer. That's like what I

really want. Like my perfect life
would be living somewhere that was like snowy

but not too cold, had this
like you with pole vibe, and then

I'd have like reindeer. You know. Yeah, I wouldn't mind planting if

we talk. We talked last year, but we just sit every year.

You have these plans, but we
had to get used to coming out from

the West Coast. Is here the
season of building season, and then you're

like living in a desolate Tundra and
you can't do that anything right. We're

in La it's seventy two, it's
onny all the time. You're like Oh,

yeah, whatever, whenever. That
kind of schedule. Yeah, so

every year we have all these plans
and we get to what we get to.

So this is your hopefully Abel plant
our Christmas tree is because that'll be

really fun. But the boys like
go out cut down that would be so

cute here. Yeah, so cute
its size. Have the greenery for holiday

time and other I mean we have
like sixty acres in the hay, which

is writting, and it's just kind
of there. We let some of it

goat to see he's love that.
That was so and we're got so well

because our bee hives when they established
themselves really, really quickly. And I

would tell you, like I'm not
the biggest fan of honey. It's like

honey, but our honey from our
be's is delicious. It's so light it's

like it's adulterated, but it's also
a blended so it's like if you always

look at if you look at honey
to store, it's always the same color

and it's because they take everything from
black honey, which is like pure,

like tar, all the way to
like white honey, which is like water,

and it's always blended to have a
similar flavor profile and color for consistency

sake, but basically our local wild
flowers and everything else, and yet like

a nice, delicate, light honey
that's delicious. As I always say,

save the bees and for John and
Brian. Some of these simpler things really

seem to be a particularly joyful part
of farm life, which I think is

a good reminder to appreciate the little
things in life. Well, the other

nice thing about being here was we
saw so many different types of these,

like when we walk. We had
one outing where we just watched our pear

tree for a long time because it
was swarmed with bees. It was the

height of its flowering and there was
everything from sweat beast, we had to

look up, little trainy in CBNC
bees, to bumble bees and honey bees

and everything else, and they're all
just working together and it was this fascinating

to watch. It's going to mesmerizing. Yeah, UN to see the whole

cycle. Yeah, my favorite thing
to do last summer and fall was to

watch this little colony of bumblebees that
had established themselves or right out of bread

Atide of our front door, underneath
the bush. I would just sit on

the stairs and like watch them flying
and fly out and do their old dances,

sold network of tunnels. Yeah,
and they would like those big furry

ones. They don't a mega bumblebeats. As we said, it's very different

from our life. Is Certain what
I was doing in La I still have

to wonder. Did their move to
the countryside check all their boxes, or

did they trade the hustle and bustle
of Metro life for an equally wildlife on

the farm? I think the Nice
thing about doing something you love, like

we get to do, is that
you love doing it. So, you

know, if I had some free
time in the evening, I most likely

like answering comments or planning more videos
or recipes and editing photos. But you

know, we definitely take time to
be with the kids and be present.

Oh for sure. Yeah, and
yeah, it's this point. I mean

it's this, is this, this
is what we wanted to come out here

and do, and I think that
we never really understood how much we would

love it and what it would turn
into. And so, you know,

it's kind of a hobby for us. And so that, you know,

what we love to do is develop
this place and plan out what we can

grow and share in that the boys. So really the content is just a

reflection of all of that. So
worklife, I don't think we think about

it that way because work getting was
very much a destination before and meetings.

Idea in that office, calls it's
gottle. You know he's to be a

teacher. So it just it's just
seems different now. And also when you're

working for yourself, you know,
you hear a lot of people say it's

just if there's a different x factor
to it. While John Maybe the face

of preppy kitchen, he has also
had to do every other role while building

his business, including video editor,
social media manager, recipe developer. But

as the brand grows he has gotten
extra help, right. I mean we

have youtube help because that's too much. Editing long form videos is a lot

of work. I Have I've done
it in the path. I used to

do it, but now it's more
all all dishort form videos. I'll do

all of the photography and you know, the iphone work and I think when

you're a creative person like John,
I know John Really loves, you know,

recipe development and all of that side
of it. And you know he's

uploading. He used to be one
youtube video. We now it's three,

but that's that's many, many hours
of editing. It's so you know,

he absolutely knows how to do it, but that's something that you can easily

have up you know someone that's really
an expert. Yeah, that so you

know, we I think we also
with the business it grows. Obviously we

were really conscious of it not taking
family time away. So a lot of

people that asks, well, how
do you decide when you bring someone on?

And for us, when it starts
encroaching on anything with Laughlin and Georgia.

It's like, okay, it's time
to help, you know, maybe

bring on a freelancer someone to help
out with that, because again, the

whole point of US coming out here
was really to be able to like have

that quality time. So that's sort
of our loose way of deciding. Okay,

it's hard to get some way to
help us out with this. Have

you noticed, and and me I've
noticed, have you noticed that this is

kind of a gay dad thing,
like a Gay Dad with kids thing?

I know so many couples either on
instagram or social media, who like Dustin

and Burton, who live in,
I think, South Carolina, who have

their kids and they have a farmer
situation going on. This is like becoming

a thing. Maybe it's just because
they know, like the case, are

going to be really good at this
whole like fun thing. Yeah, yeah,

but I think in general a lot
of people are kind of those like

a fight from cities. So maybe
it's just across the board thing. As

the success of preppy kitchen sores,
John Finally finished a personal passion project he'd

been hinting at for years, a
Cook Book titled Preppy Kitchen Recipes for seasonal

dishes and simple pleasures. I'm so
excited for this book because it's been a

long time coming and also like a
dream of mine. I've I grew up,

like my mom is from Mexico and
she had cookbooks go lore just with

all these different recipes from around the
world because she loved learning, and these

were for my grandmother and everywhere else
and filled with yellowed articles that they had

clipped out and like writing in the
margins and splatters from cooking and baking,

and they're like such treasured family objects, and to now have my own physical

book out of coming out is really
exciting. This book is organized by seasons,

so for each season you're going to
have like the freshest ingredients for that

time of year and also recipes that
fit the mood, because you know,

like in the wintertime we are getting
cozy and nesting and you want indulgent comfort

food. So wholo holidays, I
want that all the time. I know

if it's true. Well, you
can always flip to that chapter and will

be there for you. But then, like in the spring and summer,

you have an abundance of produce and
fresh herbs so like I'm making like muscles

and white wine with like fresh herbs
and having that with a crusty bread.

That's like one of my go to
dream recipes. I'm very excited is in

the book and I also pulled out
like a lot of family favorites that were

is really personal to me. So
things like I'm a lemono, which is

a Greek lemon soup which is basically
like magical medicine. If you ever feel

sick or even like a little bit
cold, you have it and it is

a delicious, like rich, velvety
lemony chicken soup. And my other favorite,

which is kind of kind of obscure, is a Swedish apple cake,

the fun of my mom's recipes.
That's coached apples that like their pushing like

a spice wine mixture and then their
nestled in this moraine filled with almonds and

baked and it's like light and very
subtle and delicious. It was also nice

to have the book show more of
the farm and our life together, because

Brian and the kids are really in
it and you know, in a blog

post it's almost in me. It
is a meme where people like, like

I don't want I don't know.
I wondered about your history. I don't

want to know about your connection to
the recipes. Give me the recipes and

you want to like give people the
recipe so that they can like make the

food and not read through dunce ends
your emotional connection? Does that? It

seems like it's very deeply routed.
I mean you just reference your mom,

it seems like, cooking and recipes
and even the book. That's kind of

the emotion that is behind it.
Is that fair to say? Yeah,

I mean food is about love and
coming together and sharing like these really primal,

amazing things that hold us together,
and it's a common language we all

speak. And for me I have
such a personal connection with food because,

like I said earlier, my mom
is from Mexico, which she came from

a really small village and you know, she made everything from scratch and she

also is someone who loves learning and
loves food. So when she came here

she dove into all sorts of different
kinds of cuisine and she showed that with

a family she had these multi course
meals every day. There was always like

a dessert hanging out someplace, and
I grew up helping her in the kitchen

and learning from her. And more
than a skill, what I really learned

was just a love of trying new
things and just experimenting with flavors. John's

first cookbook, preppy kitchen recipes for
seasonal dishes and simple pleasures, is available

for preorder now from Amazoncom and Barnes
and noble. For Inspiration in the kitchen

today, visit preppy kitchencom and be
sure to subscribe to preppy kitchen on Youtube

and follow it on social media at
preppy kitchen. You can follow John on

Instagram at John Canal, and Brian
at Brian Dow and if there was one

thing that you hope, because it's
a cook book, right, it's about

cooking and, you know, making
things together, but if there was one

thing that you hope people either get
from your book or that your book gives

them, what would that thing be? A delicious time together. That's what

it is. It's like it's making
a meal and sharing it. It's like

an active love. So you know
you're showing someone you care for them by

spending your time, which is so
valuable, making something for everybody that you

can share together. And then,
you know, we love just sitting around

the table and talking and have the
kids ask US questions about various countries,

because that's what their main interest right
now is, geography. Yeah, like,

have you been to North Macedonia?
Have you been to this? Like?

Y're all different, really obscure places, like to bet. Have you

been there? Yes, all of
giving us a run for our money with

you, I know, but it's
over over a delicious meal. So it's

like our time together just to game. You play. Yeah, well,

and kids just assume you've done it. Yeah, they're like, why haven't

you been to Russia? Why have
you not been? Haven't made it there

yet yet. But I love the
book shows our whole family and I love

that. You know, it might
inspire people that being change and their own

life with their in a situation or
in a career or what their life just

isn't what they wanted to be.
That you know can understand it. You

can make a bold change and it
can work out. Pride is a production

of Straw hte media. If you
like the show, leave us a rating

and review on Apple, podcast,
spotify, wherever you listen to podcast.

Then follow us on Instagram, Tick
Tock, facebook and twitter at pride and

tune in weekly for more episodes.
Be Sure to share this episode with your

friends and subscribe for more stories from
Amazing Queer people. If you'd like to

connect with me, you can follow
me everywhere at Le by chambers. This

episode of pride was produced by me
Le by Chambers, Maggie Bulls, Ryan

Tillotson and Brandon Marlowe, edited by
Silvana all Calla and Daniel Ferreira. Sound

mixing by Silvana all Calla. But
the baby goats are the cutest things,

oh my God, especially Nigerian tourists. I mean, yeah, they're amazing.

I've seen whole like tick tock channels
is devoted to like Nigerian dwork cut

babies because they're cute
PRIDE
The LGBTQ experience is more than just a rainbow flag, it’s a movement. The PRIDE podcast hosted by Levi Chambers celebrates every person under the queer umbrella wit... View More

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