4 Questions for ACL's Associate Producer, Jenn Cromling

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Full disclosure: Jenn was a reluctant participant in our “Behind-the-Team” romp. A self-described “introvert with extroverted tendencies,” Jenn is the ACL Team Ninja, stealthily completing tasks in the dark of night, constantly crossing t’s, dotting i’s... and taking names. She humbly admits, "There's a lot of talent on our team, so knowing yourself and being your own kind of awesome is important and powerful. My style is quite yet assertive and to the point. I like to get stuff done and make things happen, a superwoman of sorts, but I don’t break out the flashy leotard thing for everyone to see. I'm definitely more comfortable as a behind-the-scenes person.”

I couldn’t have said it better...

Tell us all the interesting tidbits about yourself.
Wow. Honestly, this question makes my palms sweat. All the interesting stuff? So much pressure! Let's do random facts instead. I like lists, so here goes:

• I’m from Durham. I feel lucky to be able to do this work in my hometown and around my state. I’ve been with Markay Media for about eight years. 

• When I’m not working, I’m usually building something. I call them projects, NOT crafts! My house is probably 80% DIY stuff. I love mid-century furniture, thrift stores, and Craigslist finds.

• I’ve been a vegetarian for about 20 years.

• I’m a huge hip-hop fan. If I were a different person (extroverted and rhythmically gifted) I’d like to be a Missy Elliott backup dancer.

• I still use a flip phone, and proudly. Not being connected to social media and email while I’m away from the office is good for me. It forces me to be resourceful and efficient. I actually had someone ask me, “what is that?” when I pulled out my cell phone. I like to pretend it’s a prototype iPhone 8.

How would you describe your role on the show?
My title is Associate Producer. On a large studio production that means I would have a very specific set of responsibilities and stick to it. In the “doc” world, especially independent productions with small teams like ours, it means you do a little bit of everything and fill in the gaps whenever you can. It’s a blessing, really. It means I have a lot of variety in my world. I do everything from accounting to line producing to on-set production work. When A Chef’s Life is in post-production, I participate in the management of the final touches on the show and work directly with PBS to get the episodes and all of the many many deliverables, delivered.

Our team is small in numbers, but fierce when it comes to getting stuff done and creating compelling content. I’m a details person, so I’m always making sure that we’re on schedule, on budget, covering all our bases, and that we’re keeping up with ourselves.

What's your favorite episode of A CHEF'S LIFE?
If I have to pick just one episode to call out, I’d say the holiday special. We worked really hard on that one. It’s an hour instead of our usual half hour of content and I think we packed it with some really great stuff. I loved getting to see Chef Vivian and her sister Leraine make the red velvet cake together. Sweets are probably my favorite food group.

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 could survive on Chef Vivian’s butter bean burger, with fries and ketchup. It has to be Heinz Ketchup or nothing at all. Ketchup lovers will totally understand this caveat. Okay that’s several food items, but I will forgo the utensil.


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