When I was 4 years old I moved into an apartment complex in Germantown, TN. There were two young kids close to my age out kicking a soccer ball on a grassy field in the middle of our apartment complex and all I knew was, I wanted in on that action. Before that I had no idea what soccer was as my parents had grown up in the delta of Mississippi where soccer had not existed. Seeing how much I loved the game, my dad signed me up for a rec soccer league and I'll never forget what I asked him while riding in the car to my first game. I said, "Dad, who is the greatest soccer player ever?" and the only person he had ever heard of that was even remotely close to being related to the sport was, PELE!
To this day I tell people had PELE been from Germany or something, I'd most likely be obsessed with German BBQ because from that day on I was hooked on Brazilian culture. I wanted to know everything there was to know about Pele, where he's from, how he plays, the music, the food, all of it!
I remember there being two reference books on Brazil at my Elementary School and I did book reports on them 1st, 2nd, 3rd,...up until my 4th grade teacher caught on to me and handed me Charlotte's Web instead. "What? A make believe talking spider? Did you know they have rats the size of small pigs, lily pads you can leap from like a frog, and sloths that look like the real life animal version of Ichabod Crane down in the Amazon Rain Forrest?"
None the less, that was it for me. Brazil and Soccer were my life, everyday for 20+years from then on out. Fast forward to Freshman and Sophomore summer of high school I got to go down to Brazil and train and I could not freagin wait!
What an experience getting to train down in Brazil with the samba masters of the game at such a young age. The team trained at an orphanage and hundreds of kids would line the street where we would walk down to get to the field yelling out the only words they new in English, "Blakey Blakey what's your namey?!" One day the local news came out to do a story. It was the first time I had ever been on TV. All 6 foot hundred pounds of me. HA!
[*My experience with this team and all those Brazilian orphans is a big reason why I wanted to do a one for one shoe donation to Samaritans Feet for every Carson Kit that's purchased through our website!]
It was during the 98 World Cup and the one thing that struck me like a ton of bricks was that Brazilian's love their barbecue arguably just as much if not more than they love their soccer and I can see why. Because it's AWESOME! Not just the barbecue itself but the entire bonding experience of it all. Being born and raised in Memphis the only thing I could think of how to explain it was like being at a barbecue Rock Concert of deliciousness circulating around the party while constantly wanting to know what the next skewer flavor was going to be and if there would be any encores.
And there you have it. Life's calling summed up in that one moment depicted in the picture above. I went down searching for soccer and came back with an entirely different purpose that had not manifested itself until years later. "You are the one. You are the link. you must keep it primitive and connect the cultures!"
Sure enough I then came back spreading the Brazilian Grilling gospel wanting to tell everyone about it yet unfortunately no one got it. "What? Grilling with an open flame over wood or lump coal? How does it cook without a lid?" Hell I was fourteen looking for investment dollars for a Brazilian barbecue business and I hadn't learned to drive yet.
Fast forward a few years and I got a job in College at Rodizio grill in Englewood, Colorado (The 1st Brazilian Steakhouse ever to open up in the US.) while in Denver on a soccer scholarship. I occasionally went to class, in between snowboarding and soccer practice then I was off to carve up some meats at night. Even put on a nice little Brazilian accent to make the dining experience feel as authentic as possible. Every night, there it was. Table after table saying and asking the same things like, "Man I wish I could do this at my house!" "I sure wish this green and red thing worked in my backyard." "Can you teach my wife how to do this?" All I kept telling myself in my head was, "Not now, but real soon!"
Fast forward a few years later and the Carson Kit is born. Now you finally can bring a Brazilian steakhouse home with you! Here's a little short film about our flagship product creation. I built the kit to inspire you to improve your grilling groove and to deepen your family and friendship bonds around you every time the moment is right to fire up some food. This video documents the blood, sweat, tears, and most importantly FUN that went into its development / real powerful yet extremely primitive creative process.
After stumbling upon all the fun I was having up in Memphis, the largest Brazilian grill manufacturer in the world, Tomasi, caught wind of what I was doing and and wanted to join forces. When asked, I believe my exact words were, "Hell Yes! Lets do this!" Thus forming the international brand now flying together under the flag of "Carson Rodizio by Tomasi!"
Cheers and Muito Obrigado!
Executive Carver in Chief