4 Questions for ACL's Associate Producer, Shirlette Ammons


Among many things, Shirlette Ammons, (self-proclaimed) Wielder-Of-Wit, pens the first drafts of all of the ACL newsletters you receive in your inbox. We forced her to be featured in this month’s “Behind-the-Team”. After much convincing, her cover has been blown...

Tell us all the interesting tidbits about yourself:
I’m a native of Mount Olive, down in eastern North Carolina, just a hop and a skip away from Kinston. I didn’t know A CHEF’S LIFE director Cynthia Hill or Vivian growing up, but they remind me of the folks I went to high school with in the late eighties, which means I can imagine them with big, teased hair. I am a published poet and musician and co-founder of SugarQube Records, which I began in June with my twin sister, Shorlette. I just released an album called Language Barrier on February 5th that has a whole bunch of awesome guest artists on it including The Indigo Girls, Meshell Ndegeocello, Hiss Golden Messenger, Phil Cook and many other talented artists, many of them NC-based. I also have a cat named Fiddle. Other than that, I’m pretty normal.

How would you describe your role on the show?
My title is Associate Producer. I write a lot of copy for the show and for Markay Media (the production company behind the show). I had the pleasure of naming most of the #ThirdHelping episodes and writing the little descriptions that pop up on your tv screen when you push the ‘guide’ button on your remote. That was a lot of fun because I always wondered who wrote that stuff. I also do a lot of the social media posts you see on our Facebook and Twitter pages. Basically, being witty is a huge part of my everyday life as an ACL team member. Don’t get me wrong. Our team is made of many smart and awesome people, but, (between us) they all could use help in the wit department. That’s why I’m here.

Another role I’m proud of is helping us figure out ways to use A CHEF’S LIFE’s hundreds of hours of content in an educational capacity. As a product of downeast North Carolina who grew up farming and valuing the culture and food stories of our region, I’m excited about encouraging young people to collect their own food memories in much the way Vivian does on the show.

What's your favorite episode of A CHEF'S LIFE?
I like this question a whole lot more when it’s directed at my teammates! It’s really, really hard to name a favorite episode, but if I had to put my money down, I’d probably pick “Apples” because, I have a twin sister and I can relate to Theo’s inclination to bop Flo on the head! Seriously, I’d pick “One Potato, New Potato,” because I’m a huge fan of potato salad. One of my favorite meals as a kid was potato salad sandwiches, just a glob of Gramma Adell’s potato salad between two pieces of white bread – 
kinda gross in hindsight. The fish stew episode is a fav, too, because my dad’s family is from Albertson, which is a stone’s throw up from Kinston, and they made their fish stew the exact same way. It brought back a lot of fond memories.

If you were stranded on a desert island (or just outside of Kinston) with only one food item and one utensil, what would they be?
I’d probably need some chicken wings by my side. They’re easy to eat and they’re a fun food, so maybe they’d help me forget about being stranded. But, I could also use them to make a bootleg version of Mrs. Scarlett’s chicken and rice, so I guess I’d say chicken (wings) and rice. See how I did that? Although I think real southern folk don’t need utensils, I’m gonna go with a can opener (is that a utensil?) If I’m stranded, I figure having a practical eating utensil would be the least of my worries, so a can opener might help me MacGyver myself out of some sticky situations!

Follow Shirlette on Twitter @ShirletteAmmons