It’s not everyday that we get asked to cater a meal for a British film crew that’s taping a TV show about a local survival expert. So we were intrigued to learn more about this production that was using our catering in Springfield Missouri.
Tucked away along the Niangua River, students at First Earth Wilderness School use crickets as a protein source, carve their own arrowheads and, most importantly, learn to survive in remote conditions. The school is owned by survival expert Bo Brown, who has taught outdoor survival techniques for more than 25 years. Brown first became interested in what he describes as “primitive survival skills” when he was working as a musician at Silver Dollar City.
There, he formed a bond with a fellow outdoor enthusiast. According to Brown, the two took regular hiking trips and began “leaving more and more gear at home,” enjoying the challenge of surviving with traditional methods. In 1992, the two launched Red Willow Primitive School to pass on their knowledge. When his business partner left the school, Brown renamed it First Earth Wilderness School. He’s been teaching survival skills ever since.
Brown teaches a variety of techniques designed to “help folks survive when they’ve lost their survival kit.” The basics include making stone tools from foraged rocks, tanning hides, making rope and string out of plant fibers and, of course, friction fire techniques. “Everything you need to survive—to make clothing, tools, weapons, anything—is out there,” says Brown. It’s his job to teach his adventurous students where to look.
When British adventure show New Lives in the Wild contacted Brown, he was surprised. Although he has received attention from several programs including “Survivorman” and “Naked and Afraid,” this particular program usually focuses on individuals who have made homes far off the grid. Brown’s personal home, however, isn’t terribly far from civilization. He has neighbors within shouting distance. “I can’t see any houses, but I can sure hear them,” says Brown. His wilderness school is another story: It’s housed on 8,000 remote acres in Lead Mine Conservation Area along the Niangua River.
“New Lives” is produced by British production company Renegade Pictures. When the Renegade crew arrived, they were encouraged to sample Brown’s typical survival menu which consists of healthy portions of foraged greenery, toasted grasshoppers and crickets and wasp larvae. “Toast them up and it’s like snack food,” laughs Brown. Brown recalls one moment on the set when he prepared bowls of “wilderness salad” with over a dozen kinds of foraged plants. The crew was prepared to eat when he pulled out a spray bottle of balsamic vinegar. “We’re primitive,” says Brown. “But we’re not savages!”
Eventually, the Renegade crew opted for slightly more civilized fare—and that’s where Bambinos came in. When the crew needed something more than crickets, we delivered paninis, salads, our famous spinach and artichoke dip and, of course, plenty of pasta. Whether you’re foraging greenery in the wilderness or planning a corporate event, we’re always happy to deliver items from our “keep it simple” catering menu for your next event.