Nine On The Line With Sherm From The World Famous Frank Show

Rick Berg, aka “Sherm The Producer” from 96.1 KLPX’s World Famous Frank Show

Rick Berg, aka “Sherm the Producer” is producer and co-host of The World Famous Frank Show on 96.1 KLPX.

Growing up hunting and fishing in northern Minnesota, Berg ate a lot of meat and potatoes. Rarely did more than a week go by without feasting upon fresh venison or walleye.

Sherm has judged many local food competitions including The Tamale Festival, Arizona Bacon Fest, a number of Michelada competitions, brew festivals and more.

These days, you can find Rick eating hot dogs at The Buffet Bar after a long day of drinking.

What was the first dish you had that changed your perspective on food?

As crazy as this sounds, the burrito changed my perspective on food. When I moved here in 2003 from Minnesota, our concept of burritos came from fast food joints or gas stations. I thought, how can so many different and tasty ingredients be wrapped up in such a fresh tasting tortilla? I’ve easily gained 40 pounds from breakfast burritos and carne asada fries. The Sonoran Dog was also a strange concept to me. But, oh-so-delicious. I never had anything like it before in my life. It’s amazing how something so simple can have so many flavor profiles.

What are you eating these days?

I’m a pretty basic guy. I love grilling when it’s not 100º out. I’ll stop by The Sausage Shop once a week and pick up some onion and garlic brats and a couple of their chipotle burgers. Tucson really needs an all you can eat wing bar. I’d be first in line every day. Sushi and Mexican food rank high, as well.

What was the first dish you remember cooking?

The one cooking tool that gets used the most in my house is sadly the crock pot. I have no problem slow cooking a meal throughout the day. Growing up with parents that were gone all day at work, sometimes dinner was left up to me. There’s nothing easier for someone than to cut up some fresh potatoes and carrots out of the garden and toss them on a nice beef roast in the crock pot. You’d be surprised at some of the tasty things you can cook in those. Cheating, yes I know, but so easy. I’m sure before that, my first real dish would’ve been a peanut butter, kraft singles, and chocolate chip sandwich. Classy!

What concept, ingredient or food trend does everyone seem to love, but you just can’t stomach?

I don’t get the sudden expensive burger craze over the last few years.  They’ve always been around, but now for some reason it’s like people are really paying attention to their burgers and what goes into them. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good bacon cheeseburger, but a burger is a burger. No need to spend $15 on one. People have gotten real snooty about them.

What chef, with us or passed on, would you most like to cook or eat dinner with?

Living so close to Canada as a kid, we would get the Canadian Broadcasting Channel. It was like any other American channel but they had one cool difference. They had a show called ‘The Urban Peasant.’  It was a cooking show hosted by James Barber, an elderly man that loved putting wine or alcohol in everything he cooked and, of course, taking a few sips along the way. Maybe that’s why I like to experiment with alcohol now when cooking. I would love to cook with James, sit down, and just talk food. I wonder how he’d feel about the different trends we see today. He’s probably rolling over in his grave. Rest in peace, Urban Peasant.

What city, other than Tucson, is your favorite place to eat?

Despite being in the Midwest, I would say that Minneapolis/St. Paul has a wide variety of cultures and food options so it’s always fun to get back to see what’s new and happening. The brew pub scene, similar to Tucson, is really taking off there so it’s great to see the different spin each place puts on your standard bar fare. I’m ashamed to say, however, I’ve never had a Juicy Lucy from either Matt’s or the 5-8 Club. What kind of Minnesotan am I?

Speaking in junk food terms, what is your favorite guilty pleasure?

I’ve been on a plain Ruffles with french onion and sour cream dip trip lately. I’ve also been obsessed with making homemade pico de gallo dipped with tasty scoop chips. It’s perfect for a summer day with an ice cold beer. Actually, who am I kidding, I could eat the stuff for breakfast.

Top three Tucson restaurants?

I love Chaffin’s Family Restaurant on Broadway. I always get their Traif Omelette. For lunch, I might swing by Bumsteds on Fourth Avenue for one of their giant meaty sandwiches with a side of sweet potato fries. For dinner, it’s Rosa’s Mexican Food Restaurant in the shopping center at Ft. Lowell and Campbell. I’ve taken out of towners to other well known restaurants and it’s never as good as Rosa’s. Honorable mention for late night drunk munchies would have to go to Karamelo King on Grant near Dodge. It’s a food cart, or truck, but, oh my god, they have some of the best carne in town!

With a figurative electric chair in your immediate future, what is your last meal?

I’m gonna be a piggy here. I’d crack open a bottle of Anderson Valley’s Winter Solstice for starters.  The warden can grill me up a NY Strip with a Chophouse marinade covered in grilled mushrooms and asparagus. Eight pieces of smoked salmon sushi. Extra cheesy Mac ‘n’ Cheese with bacon. Six smokey hot chicken wings. Lumpy mashed potatoes with gravy. Finish it all off with a Reese’s Peanut Butter cup washed down with a chocolate dessert wine. Might as well top everything off with a pound of thick cut peppery bacon, too.

C.J. Hamm is a native Tucsonan and has been covering the local culinary and cocktail scene since 2012.