Ramen Shaman

Urbana, IL chef and culinary pop-up proponent Mark Hartstein is fond of pickles, Hello Kitty, and extremely mainstream pop music. He and his wife Leslie also prepare a mean bowl of ramen when the occasion arises, which it did this past January at their "Saru Ramen" pop-up. Not only did they bring together and feed many patient locals on that frigid Tuesday night (with proceeds going to benefit the Eastern Illinois Foodbank), they even let Backyard Industry's Lisa Bralts "help".

Backyard Industry's mission: To enlighten, inspire, and encourage viewers, listeners, and readers with short audio and video stories about the frequently hidden intersections between food, tradition, community, projects, and practice in Central Illinois, the Midwest, and beyond. In other words, we want you to see and hear about local people doing interesting food projects ... and then we want you to consider doing your own food projects, and then we want you to take the plunge...with your own spin on them and at your own pace. Do it!

Backyard Industry's creator/producer/explorer-in-chief is Lisa Bralts.

Backyard Industry's director of photography/editor/stickler for detail is Tim Meyers.

Backyard Industry's project manager/second camera/main cheerleader is Jack Brighton.

Travis Stansel shot really pretty stills.

Our pals at Automatic Empire provided all music, and we puffy heart them with glitter for it.

Special thanks to Mark & Leslie, Matt Kitzmiller of Pizza-M, Matt Cho of Cafeteria & Co., and Franny the Cat for their time and inspiration.