'Texas Ranch House'

The Ranch House
The Ranch House (Christopher Ragazzo/Thirteen/WNET New York)
Lisa Cooke, Nacho Quiles, Jody Sheff
Program Participants; Executive Producer, History and Features Programming
Wednesday, May 3, 2006; 2:00 PM

Participants Lisa Cooke and Nacho Quiles of the PBS series "Texas Ranch House" were online Wednesday, May 3, at 2 p.m. ET with Executive Producer Jody Sheff to field questions and comments about the program. Sheff is executive producer of History and Features Programming. The series airs Monday-Thursday, May 1-4, at 8 p.m. ET. ( Check Local Listings.)

This four-part series from the producers of "Colonial House" and "Frontier House" challenges a group of intrepid time-travelers to experience the exhilaration and exhaustion of life in the Old West. Participants ranch, rope, ride and pass nights under the stars and in their haciendas as they experience life in the real West of the American cowboy.

As it follows the daily challenges of the time-travelers, the series illuminates the story of merging cultures and changing social dynamics in post-Civil War Texas, and explores the country's diverse ancestry, including the cultures of European immigrants, Hispanics, African Americans and Native Americans.

As the executive producer of history and features programming at Thirteen/WNET New York, Jody Sheff has headed such national presentations as The Six Wives of Henry VIII and Crown and Country and local projects including the popular Walking Tour series. Sheff produced the PBS special A Conversation with Bill Moyers and Ursula K. LeGuin, created to coincide with the re-release of Ms. LeGuin's science fiction classic The Lathe of Heaven. She was also the series producer for the Emmy Award-winning Innovation and for the syndicated series The World of Nature with Walter Cronkite. As a producer, writer and director her credits include Nature, Great Railway Journeys II, Legendary Trails, Sesame Street, and American Masters.

The transcript follows.


Kansas City, Mo.: First of all, I would like to say how much I have enjoyed watching the various "house" series broadcast on PBS. It gives a neat history take on the reality show TV. My question is: Did Mr. Cook have to discuss it with the show's producers before he fired Nacho and The Colonel and how did you find the replacement, Rob? Also are you considering doing other "houses" now that this project is finished?

Jody Sheff: Hey - thanks for writing and I'm glad you like the shows.

Our cowboys did hunt but without firearms - for insurance reasons we absolutely could not allow guns... once you see the finale, you'll understand!

Historically we know there would have been guns.



Jersey City, N.J.: The question is for Jody Sheff:

Does it fascinate you that in such situations, no matter how a person deems himself "noble" and "gracious" in the real world, can quickly change and quickly become someone he never thought he/she would be?


Jody Sheff: You bet!! It actually makes casting harder than you think!


Huntington, N.Y.: I want to be on the next era are (were) members chosen?

Jody Sheff: We post it on the web site and applications are taken electronically. We also hold live auditions around the country at different PBS stations and promote over the air on your local PBS station.


Plano, Texas: Hi, I think we missed episode 2. What happened to the colonel... or how can I find out?

I have an 8 and 6 year old. We're watching this show as a family and discussing. We don't usually watch TV, so this show is a first for us. It's been a fantastic "jumping off" point for great family discussions. Thank you all.

Jody Sheff: Well the Colonel got into a fight with the Cook - Nacho - and he had to be fired.


Woonsocket, R.I.: How were the participants briefed on their role? Was any attempt made to give folks a historical perspective to allow them to role play accurately?

Jody Sheff: Absolutely - that is a key to the project. Besides knowing about the time period and the role they will play once they are chosen, each participant receives a handbook which outlines their responsibilities, role, historical perspectives etc. They are not asked to play act, we just give them an idea of what their role would have entailed during the time period!



Mountain View, Calif.: Historically, Were the bunk and cook houses separated from the ranch house to eliminate the strife that is currently plaguing the show ??

Jody Sheff: Yes, historically the bunk/cook house and the ranch house would have been separated as they are in the show, to give the ranch owner and his family privacy. The conflict does not come from the proximity in my opinion, but more the attitudes?!


Buffalo, N.Y.: This question is for Lisa Cooke. In Texas Ranch house the women are supposed to adapt to the role of women in 1867, but after watching the past 2 days it is apparent that the women are having difficulty adapting. You are not there to prove what a modern day woman can and would do, but that you are there to experience the life of a woman in 1867. When you were appointed for the project did you fully understand what your role was to be? I hope this does not come off as being harsh because it is not meant to be so. I give you and all of the other participants a great deal of credit for being part of this project.

Lisa Cooke: Hi to all from Lisa Cooke!

To answer your question, as participants we were told very clearly that we were to be 21st century people living in an 1867 environment. A person's brain can't be replaced, so that makes the most sense. I'm a genealogist, and dedicated to historical accuracy. The handbook they gave me confirmed what I had learned from my research, that 19th century women had to do what it takes to survive & protect her family. It also went into great detail about how they weren't wilting flowers, but tough as nails. I encourage you to read the history of the King ranch, and specifically Henrietta King. The producers gave us their biography in preparation. Funny, everyone sees Maura's desire to ride as healthy feminism, but a lady my age using her brains and standing up for her family is still misunderstood. Unfortunately, viewers are dependent on the editors version.


Chicago, Ill.: Did you have doctors monitor the cowboys when they were sick from the cooking?

Jody Sheff: Yes indeed. There were standby medics near the location at all times. Same for the animals.


Arizona: Will the ranch house be re-shown in the future?

Jody Sheff: Yes, but you will have to check with your local PBS station to find out when.


Washington, D.C.: Question for Lisa -- I'm wondering about the decision to have mealtimes held separately between the Ranch House and the cowboys? The narrator for the show stated that different ranch houses had different arrangements, and it seems like the way it was set up made for a clearly strained social structure. Thanks - really enjoying the show!

Lisa Cooke: Hi there! First of all, let me say for the record that the narration has inaccuracies in it in order to further the "story" the producers wanted to tell. Took me a while to get used to that one!

As for eating, the first day the boys came over with a meal for us. Nacho already had a meal prepared for them back at the bunk house. They had no intention of eating with us. Mr. Cooke asked if they would like to join us and they declined. They were very thoughtful about wanting to give us some room to just adjust to being there. You can imagine how my jaw dropped when I heard the narrator say we chose not to eat with them. lol... BTW - if we were supposed to eat together, why did they have their own cook?


Ohio: Lisa- In order to make a ranch work you have to value everyone equally. Why did you seem to be demeaning towards the cowboys all of the time? I love the show!!!

Lisa Cooke: Hi Ian!

_______________________ Nacho Quiles will be online shortly. Thank you for staying tuned for his responses ...


Brooklyn Heights, N.Y.: I loved what I've seen so far! Jody- how often were the cameras on the ranch- its obviously not a Survivor type situation where the camera is there 24/7. Is it frustrating when you "miss stuff" (like Nacho and Stan fighting?)

Jody Sheff: The participants are living on the ranch 24/7 for almost 3 months!!! Way longer than any survivor had to survive. (PS they don't have cameras on 24/7 either)

We like to have camera leave the location because we feel it is important for the participants to really understand they are living this life, not performing on a game show.


Birdsboro, Pa.: Mrs. Cooke...did this experience live up to what you envisioned it would be or did it disappoint you? And...what is the best thing about yourself you learned through this and the worst?

Thank you

Lisa Cooke: Hi Birdsboro! The 1867 experience totally lived up to my expectations. The consultants did a beautiful job of creating an authentic experience for us. It was heaven for me as a genealogist. (see my page on the ranch house Web site for more on my love of genealogy). There were two worlds out there - the 1867 life we had to live, and filming a TV show. The TV show part fell short. I did a very long diary cam about my disappointment with productions manipulation of situations, and how heart broken I was as an avid House fan that it was so Reality TV 101. I never expected that.


Chestertown, Md.: I have watched with great interest each of the "house" shows, but a recurring issues bothers me. Why so much on the squabbles between the participants? If I wanted to watch Survivor, I would!

Jody Sheff: I think the answer is human nature. When people get pulled from their day to day lives and are isolated in a location, they are under stress and behave accordingly.

Some rise to the occasion, many find it hard to get along.


Anonymous: Hi, I'm originally from the west Texas/south east New Mexico area. I was wondering if you could tell me where in west Texas this show was filmed.

Thank you,

M. Spencer

Jody Sheff: On a ranch in west Texas near Alpine -


Phoenix, Ariz.: Lisa : If there was enough food growing in the vegetable garden for everyone on the show, why didn't you share the vegetables? And why was it so important for you to isolate your family and not share meals with the ranch help?

Lisa Cooke: Hi Phoenix - You poor thing, you are another victim of editing and creative narration. I sympathize. I believed everything I saw in Frontier House, but now know better.

We delivered fresh veggies every day (usually that was Maura's job). Watch Shaun's video on the Web site and he says right there that we provided veggies. The boys hated okra, eggplant, etc. and refused to eat it. We delivered squash quite often, but Nacho didn't use it. I was glad to see on the show that Jared did try once, to Nacho's dismay. Remember, we spent 1800 hours out there. You saw 8 of them. How hard do to you think it was for them to edit that into the story they wanted to tell? You saw less than 1% of our experience. Again, I encourage you to view the videos on the Web site. That's how I remember the summer.


Dallas, Tex.: What happens when a member of the team actually becomes ill. Are modern medications administered?

Jody Sheff: absolutely, there are paramedics on standby 24/7 and we have emergency kits, rescue units set up if necessary, etc. The health and well being of the participants is our number one priority.


Ashland, Mass.: Lisa, last night one of your daughters mentioned that being on the Ranch had brought the family together as a team--has that lasted, and how has the experience changed your girls now that they're home?

Also, Hannah's sewing business seemed really neat--was that her own idea and did she do all that sewing all by herself?

Lisa Cooke: Hi Ashland! It's so fun to talk to people from all over the country. I'm a lucky girl.

Yes, we as a family are closer than ever. How cool is it to have 3 teenage daughters who want to spend time with you and actually enjoy it? I loved the "yes ma'am" I heard for the first few months after we got home. We were all in admiration for each other. My girls are my joy - I'm the luckiest mom alive.

Hannah's sewing business - secret. I knew the boys would not accept sewing from me. I had been teaching Hannah to sew,so I suggested the business and we made her the front woman. She learned to run that machine like a whiz. I LOVED sewing on that old hand crank machine. Believe it or not, homemaking is my passion. I did TONS of it out there that you will never see on the show (I guess it's not "sexy" enough! lol) I upholstered furniture, built a shower, made a quilt, painted pictures for the walls, made jam, pickles, built a sewing area, made curtains and table clothes...and I loved every minute of it. That is truly what I went out there for.


Chicago, Ill.: For the producer:

I watched the first two nights and thought I would be seeing these people live as people would have lived on a Texas Ranch in 1867. The show seemed to devolve into typical Reality show fare. I blame this pretty much on the wife and "girl of all work" who seemed to go into the show with a very different agenda than the concept. I understand that life was very harsh on many levels including the limited role of women in decision making. However, I felt those two women insisted on presenting themselves in a contentious manner that battled the intent of the show. It was very distracting and seemed to throw the entire show off kilter. Why didn't the producers step in and keep them in line with what the show was meant to present. Their dissatisfaction with the type of lifestyle they were put into could have been appropriately raised and addressed through their personal interview sections.

Jody Sheff: Part of the interesting thing about exploring these historical periods is the juxtaposition of modern times and the past. It is possible that women like Maura and Mrs Cooke did exist back then and our current freedoms stem from the battles they wages way back when.


Louisville, Ky.: Hi, Lisa, In past "House" series I don't recall participants going off-mic for a discussion. Were there any rules set for going out of camera range or off-mic?

Lisa Cooke: Hi rules, but we stayed on mic 99% of the time. At that moment, Bill knew I had a legitimate gripe, and he told me later he wasn't sure what to do. He wanted "cave time" to think about it and talk...and he was fearful of how I might be perceived while angry. I was constantly watching my girls and Maura get mistreated, and I felt very protective. I can't describe what it's like to be under a microscope for 2 1/2 months straight! I wouldn't trade the experience for the world though. Thanks for asking.


Winfield, Kan.: what happened to "the colonel" and who else left the show and why?

Lisa Cooke: Word was that the Colonel shoved Nacho. I don't know anyone besides Ian who said they saw it. Producers felt that if it were true he violated the contract saying we don't lay hands on anyone else. They chose to let him go. Luis asked Bill if he would be willing to fire him on camera, and Bill agreed to take on that responsibility. I respected the would have been a very different show if he had stayed. The boys balked at any and all authority. When he left the heat was on us. I'm OK with the authority thing. The colonel has years of experience, and I respect that.


Bartlesville, Okla.: Lisa, What was the first thing you did when you returned to 2005? And what, if anything, do you miss about 1867?

Lisa Cooke: I kissed my best friend and then my dishwasher! No lie!!

I miss quiet afternoons in the parlor with my daughters...Vienna read "The Lady in White" outloud to us all summer. No other people on earth I'd rather be with. I miss sewing on the machine, and cooking with my dutch oven over the fireplace. I miss quiet moments with Bill watching the rainstorms...I miss the true sense of peace I gained. Yes, believe it or not - the 1% drama wasn't the whole experience. I gained an overwhelming sense of peace and well being, and a deeper love and appreciation for my ancestors - particularly the women...thanks for asking...check out the Web site - I keep saying it, but I just don't want you to miss the joy that we experienced. Even if it didn't make the "cut".


Palo Alto, Calif.: Hi Lisa! Keep up the good work. I can't wait to see you and all my other adopted family members soon. Love, Maura

Lisa Cooke: My 4th daughter - love you girl. Did you give your mom & dad hugs for me while on the East Coast.


Anonymous: Lisa,

Why were you emphatic about the whiskey prohibition? It seems to me that a sensible COMPROMISE would have been to allow the cowboys to drink on Fri and Saturday nights.

Lisa Cooke: Do you remember the narrator saying that whiskey wouldn't have been tolerated? Funny that production supplied lots of it. Had I had my wish, we would have all been drinking and laughing together on Friday and Saturday nights. That's what I had hopes for.


Birdsboro, Pa.: Mr Sheff How many applicants on average do you all have to sort through before settling on the participants? And are there concerns that the "House" series may turn into a ratings sellout and turn into something like Survivor to compete?

Jody Sheff: Including families and individuals, we had about 10,000 applicants for TEXAS RANCH HOUSE. While of course we'd like to have as many people watch the show as possible, are only priority is making a great educational show that is also entertaining- but the historical element is always the primary focus. Thanks for your question!


Nacho Quiles: Just like to say hi to all the viewers and thanks for watching. And hopefully you won't think I'm a terrible cook from what you saw!


New Braunfels, Tex.: This question is for Jody. The location of the ranch in West Texas is in a harsher climate (hotter and drier) than the rest of the state, and you filmed during the most brutal part of the year (mid-Summer). What were the factors that led you to these choices? Was it the more dramatic scenery? The desire to create an "extreme" experience?

Jody Sheff: Hello! There are a number of factors that go into choosing a location- and YES the location was very extreme and certainly breathtaking!! The primary reason that we shot where we did was to ensure that the ranch would be isolated enough to keep the participants feeling like they were actually living an 1867 experience- that meant no lights from nearby towns, little air traffic, no McDonalds arches etc. Locations that isolated are surprisingly hard to come by in 2006!!


Watson, Ind.: My question is for Mrs. Cooke. I'm so thrilled to be able to communicate with you! It's such a privilege. Assuming that you have seen all the episodes, are you happy with the way it came out? How your family was portrayed? Was it accurate or do you feel it was skewed in any way? No offense to Mrs. Sheff.

Lisa Cooke: Believe me, I am thrilled to be talking to you and others who are seeing the show. I am honored!!

I feel sorry that folks won't see the daily lives of the women - the joyful, hard working, creative, non-conflict activities. There were loads!! It breaks my heart that my husband was abused in the final episodes. The exec producer (NOT Jodi) from England didn't like him, and I believe there is something personal there. I'm proud that we didn't "talk smack" about the boys they way did, particularly of Bill. Bill is the most likable, humble man. He rose to the occasion. When I said I was proud of him out there - I meant it!!

I will always feel blessed that we were chosen. What a dream come true. I know that to get the real cream in life you have to talk some sour milk. I trust the viewers. Every path has a few puddles in it!


Memphis, Tenn.: Hi Lisa! On the episode last night, when the horse broke the wagon, what was going through your mind? You said that things were a little more tense with you and your husband. Have you patched things up?

And what was it like going through the kitchen after Nacho left? Was it as bad as they showed it to be on the show?

Lisa Cooke: The kitchen was even worse!

My husband and I have been married for 20 years. We are tight and happy. I remember the director of episodes 5 & 6 saying that some of the footage could help teach other couples how to pull together. (It's on the editing room floor...) Again, no pain no gain. I adore that man!


Pennsylvania: Question for Jody - In light of what Mrs Cooke has shared about the real happenings versus the narration and "creative" editing on the show...can you please comment on if and why such 'conflicts' were created for the TV audience? thanks!

Jody Sheff: I appreciate you giving me the opportunity to respond. I absolutely understand Lisa's feelings- but I think it's important to recognize that even when your life isn't being filmed- an interaction between 2 people is never the same "reality" for both people. Lisa's version of what really happened in any given situation is not the same as Nacho's version, or of Robby's version- same must be applied to what ends up on film.


Fayetteville, N.C.: Mrs. Cooke, do you think your attitude had any bearing on the obviously strained relationship between you and the ranch hands?

I am greatly enjoying the show and understand that we are seeing only 1 percent of your time there.

Thank you.

Lisa Cooke: My attitude was that a rancher's wife was a co-owner of the ranch, and she had a brain. (Like Henrietta King) No one asked me to check mine at the door. Yes, I think that the boys didn't like that. But you wouldn't want me to play the demure, non-thinking wife would you?? Boring! For all they knew, it was my father who had died and I had inherited the money to buy the ranch! Thanks for asking.


San Antonio, Tex.: Lisa, that's too bad that we aren't able to watch all of the domestic things you did. As a homemaker and someone very interested in that time period (would have LOVED to have lived in that time), I would be really interested to see those things.

I am enjoying watching the show very much! Ordinarily I don't watch TV much at all. I just happened to have the kids in bed on Monday night and turned on the TV and found the show. I'm glad I did! Can't wait to see what happens tonight!

Lisa Cooke: I'm glad you caught the show. The domestic stuff was wonderful. I really enjoyed sharing it with Maura. That was new territory for her, and I admired her willingness to try...smiles to you


Houston, Tex.: Did the Cooke's have secret food at their house? They appeared to be eating much better than the cowboys.

Lisa Cooke: I must give credit for that perception to PBS. Honestly. the chickens didn't lay eggs for a month. No, there was no secret food. I admit I kept 2 jars of jam for the girls. But then I made prickly pear jam and gave some to the boys which they LOVED; However, Nacho had a secret jug of whiskey buried in the wood pile that we found after he left. He he he...go Nacho!


Alexandria, Va.: For Nacho - When you viewed the program after it was completed, how did you feel about how you were portrayed?

Nacho Quiles: I did not like the way I was portrayed. They took things out of context. Especially when Robbie says he lost 10 to 15 pounds, that interview didn't happen while I was there. That interview happened later on, three weeks later. That was kinda wrong. And the fact that they alleged that I got people sick, I don't know how I could cause inner ear infection, conjunctivitis or dehydration...I don't know how a cook could do that. If someone can tell me how you get conjunctivitis from the cook...that's usually someone not washing themselves well, not the cook. Dehydration....How is a cook responsible for those illnesses? Everybody got sick, but travelers, you eat good food for your whole life, we were eating steaks and burgers, good 21st century food, and then we were put in an environment that drastically changes our eating habits. And each cowboy from the 21st Century had particular eating styles.

Like for instance, some guys did not eat vegetables. Some guys did not eat meat and we slaughtered fresh meat once a week so had fresh meat. The editing never showed me doing any slaughtering or anything like that. The editing was wrong. The sequence of events was wrong. And I know the story and I saw things completely out of context. For me, professionally, that's very damaging. To say that someone who trained in a culinary environment where we learn health and safety, to say that in a newspaper that's published around and says that I've got people sick, is damaging. I had no opportunity to rebut any of that. I thought that was wrong. And just as a note, you didn't see any flies around my food. I didn't have any flies around my food. Any time you saw me, I was always cleaning.

So, I mean, it's kind of hard to go back and fix it 8 months later and rectify bad editing. Because it was bad editing and unfair basically. The narration was wrong. I know it was done for the viewers to get them more involved, for dramatic effect. For instance, when they say that I shunned Lisa Cooke, that wasn't true. I had been waiting for her all morning. I had been waiting for her - in one scene she sends Maura the maid over to tell me that she's going to come over. She doesn't come over till 7, 8:00. I have been up since 3:30 in the MORNING. So I don't know about anybody else, but I needed a rest. I had been waiting for her.

Another point. Typically my day began at 3:30 in the morning. And ended at 11:30 at night. And that was seven days a week. With Sunday, double duty because I slaughtered on Sundays. I'd like to see anybody else handle that situation and try to stay awake for Lisa Cooke to come sashaying down with her umbrella a la Marlene Dietrich in a Western, and I'm supposed to wait for her? I'm exhausted, I've been exhausted. So, you know, I can work hard, I work till my hands bleed. And I did most of the time, I was scrubbing pots basically all of the time.

My day started by taking provisions out of the cook shack and at the end of the night putting them all back. With no help. I just think you have to put things in their right context. And if you look at it properly. They only showed one side of me. I always looked angry. They don't show me when I was with the boys and we were coming back from a trail ride and we were joking. They didn't show us laughing and having a good time when the guys would rib me. They didn't show the relationship that me and Robby, Anders and even Jared and I -- we went at it, Jared and I, but we liked each other regardless. So they didn't show any of that. And when they showed me emotional after the Stan incident, the narrator said we had a fistfight. We did NOT have a fistfight. Because if we did have a fistfight we both would have been thrown off that day. So that was not true.


Philadelphia, Pa.: Lisa - you seem rather annoyed at the way the show was edited. What would you have done differently? Is it tough for you to watch the show because the editing was out of your control?

Lisa Cooke: Sure - it's hard sometimes to watch because I have such fond memories, and most didn't make the show. No person has only one side or one thing they think about. But sometimes it comes across that way. Every one of us had different sides...and there were many things I really liked about each of the boys. Anders and I had a great 1 on 1 chat...and I loved teaching Shaun to cook. At one point I told the interviewer, I felt like he was the son I never had. But that wouldn't have supported the "story". No regrets though. I respect that PBS footed the bill and it was their call. I'm just thrilled to have done it.


Florida: Nacho, when you left the show what did you say to cowboy Ian?

Nacho Quiles: Oh, I just said bye. He spoke Spanish, we're both from the Caribbean. SO I basically just said, take care of yourself. I just said bye to all the fellas. I said my adios.


Kansas City, Mo.: For Jody Sheff: Do you anticipate personality conflicts during the casting process? Was Maura's stubborn feminism or Ian's immaturity a factor in choosing them?

Jody Sheff: Hi Kansas City! Casting on a show like this is very important and difficult! We need to find people who are interested in history- enough to give up 3 months of their lives without a million dollar pay off at the end. In terms of their personalities, we don't cast in order to have conflict, we cast people who have interesting points of view that they will express on camera- it wouldn't be a very interesting series if everyone kept their opinions and thoughts to themselves. We can only learn about what they are feeling and thinking about living in this time travel experience if they tell us!


N.Y., N.Y.: Nacho, who was your favorite cowboy on the show or who you related to the most?

Nacho Quiles: I related to all the boys, I loved them all. I had good friends. I have a continuing friendship with Robby. And Anders, cause Anders is a really funny guy. We all hung out together a lot. So they're really good guys. They're my kind of people. Basically, if you ask us something, we'll tell you. And I like people like that, cause I'm the same way. Don't ask me if you don't want to hear the truth.


San Diego, Calif.: For Nacho, Any favorite 1867 recipe you can share with us?

Nacho Quiles: (Laughing!) I have to laugh at that. Because I didn't have any ingredients to cook anything at all. (Laughing!) All I had was beans, dried beef, the beef jerky, and oh god, what else? Some flour. Made some meatballs one day with the dried beef. I can show you how to make some meatballs with that, but it takes a lot of dried beef.


Sugar Land, Tex.: Why, when y'all were short of food, did you go hungry when you were surrounded by nopales and tunas?

You had some folks there who should have known about this edible cactus.


Nacho Quiles: We actually made nopales. They don't show it. That's what I'm saying. They didn't show a lot of things. We got rabbit one time. We made goat several times, I slaughtered goat four times. We used nopales, we used all that stuff. We foraged man! Believe me, we would have eaten the side of the bunk house if we could have found a way to cook it! You remember, not everyone is gonna eat it. What I would eat, a lot of people would not eat. Cause everyone has their particular palate. Remember, we're 21st century animals here. We made a lot of stuff, but they didn't show any of that! (Laughing!)


Artesia, N.M.: What happens to the ranch/bunk house now? Was it torn down or does the ranch get to keep it. I am so surprised at the authenticity of it. It really looks great. Kudos to all the set designers/experts who had a part in this.

Jody Sheff: The building are still standing and are owned by the actual ranch owners. We had and AMAZING group of set designers (led by Shannon Jebbia) who spent months researching the era in order to make everything as close to 100% period accurate as possible.


Watson, Ind.: Hey I wanted to say hi to Nacho too...

How's everything in NY? I liked your style seemed like the real deal. Really authentic, a lot like what I'd expect a cook to be in 1867. The personality, attitude, it all seemed to fit the role really well. I wish you'd been able to get along with the Cookes a little better and stick it out, but it was fun getting what little glimpse we got of you in the first 2 or 3 episodes. Thanks!

Nacho Quiles: Oh, thank you very much, I appreciate that! The Cookes were a difficult family. I think they had some cultural biases that they brought in from the 21st century. And that's pretty much it. After they were done with me then they tried to go after Robby, and after that they pretty much went after anyone they could. You saw what they did to Jared. So I mean, they were really uptight people I think. They played, you know, for the camera they played up one way and when the camera left, they were totally something else (laughing)! Walking around in their underwear and stuff.


Jody Sheff: Thank you all for writing in- tune in tonight and tomorrow from 8-10 (*check local listings). I hope you enjoy it!


Lexington, Ky.: How is the "boot camp" set up to train the participants? What sort of historical references are used to develop the background for the characters?

Lisa Cooke: During "bootcamp" we met many experienced, knowledgeable professionals who tried to give us as much background on the history of that time period as they could in two short weeks. We were briefly trained on building and tending fires, cooking beans, slaughtering chickens, doing laundry, sewing, etc. Our family and Maura were trained in one town, and the cowboys, foreman, and cookee were trained in a nearby town. We did not actually meet any of them until we arrived on the ranch. Until we arrived at the house and received our journals, we did not know exactly what our "roles" would be, but we were given background on how ranches were run back then.


Lisa Cooke: Thanks everyone for your great questions, I hope you enjoy the rest of the show! Make sure to tune in tonight and tomorrow night. And check out the fabulous Web site at!



Rural, Ariz.: Hi Nacho! What sort of food do you cook as a chef in the "Real World"?

Nacho Quiles: Oh boy, now we're talking! In the Real World I was private cheffing in Amsterdam for a family from September to about December. And I do a health cuisine, high end cooking. An example - maybe fois gras, eggs florentine, eggs benedict, briskets. Anything you'd fine in a quality, top rated restaurant is what I cook. But I also make a lot of comfort food, mashed potatoes, baked macaroni, ribs. I have a really killer recipe for barbecue sauce that I used to make for my fellow classmates at the Institute for Culinary Education. I cook all the time. So I do all that high end cooking, trout, cod, halibut, you know crepes, Cornish game hens. Traditional Puerto Rican cuisine also - roast pork, sweet plantains, the traditional white rice, red beans. What else? Caribbean food, I make pretty good Jamaican jerk chicken. All kinds of food! I'm hungry now!


Nacho Quiles: Hi to everyone and thank you for all the support, and I hope you watch the show in its entirety. Because the final episodes are incredible. The finale is just great! You must see it!

_______________________ Participants Maura Finkelstein and Ian Roberts of the PBS series "Texas Ranch House" and Series Producer Luis Barreto fielded questions and comments about the program on Tuesday, May 2, at 2 p.m. ET.


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