What's new with the Neelys? It has to do with more for less - CBS 3 Springfield - WSHM

What's new with the Neelys? It has to do with more for less

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Pat Neely with WMC Action News 5's Anna Marie Hartman. Pat Neely with WMC Action News 5's Anna Marie Hartman.
In fact, "Down Home with the Neelys" is shot in the couple's real life kitchen. In fact, "Down Home with the Neelys" is shot in the couple's real life kitchen.
The Celebrity Chef and his wife, Gina, have been Food Network Stars for almost a decade, but they've never strayed far from home. The Celebrity Chef and his wife, Gina, have been Food Network Stars for almost a decade, but they've never strayed far from home.
MEMPHIS, TN -
(WMC) - Pat and Gina Neely are known for their cooking show "Down Home with the Neelys," but Pat says being a celebrity comes with a responsibility to give back to his community.

His passion for food has made his family name a staple in the kitchen.

"You think of Neelys, you think of family first, then food," he said.

The celebrity chef and his wife, Gina, have been Food Network stars for almost a decade, but they've never strayed far from home.

"My roots here in Memphis has always been strong," said Neely.

In fact, "Down Home with the Neelys" is shot in the couple's real life kitchen.

"I wanted it to feel extremely natural, so, cooking in your own kitchen I never had to say, where's the pepper?" he said.

A lot of tasty dishes and three cookbooks later, Pat Neely is looking for a way to give back.

"We're in a space now where you can be a little more selective about the things that you want to do; there's so many things we want to do in the community," he said.

"Don't let that chef and all that stuff fool you, we come to stores just like this."

Neely is partnering with Family Dollar as the spokesperson for their new "More for Less Recipe Challenge."

"We recently expanded our food assortment, and we wanted a way to talk to customers about the great new assortment we have," said Jocelyn Wong with Family Dollar.

"We're showing people how you can come into Family Dollar get a complete meal under $15," said Neely.

Dawn Lopez and Candace Corey's recipes were chosen as the winners out of 50,000 entries.

"I won a chance to cook with Pat Neely in his amazing kitchen," said Corey.

"I have the freedom to partner with an outstanding company that has the same values that I have," said Neely.

He is fully aware of a movement to eat unprocessed, homegrown foods.

"This whole wave of eating healthy is a choice and a lifestyle," he said.

But he's realistic about families who don't have the time or the budget to go from farm to table.

"Not only in Memphis but around the country, as I travel, I've noticed that a lot of communities are struggling financially," said Neely.

He hopes his latest venture will inspire kids to get out of the fast food drive-thru and into the kitchen.

"And if I can be a positive role model in any shape form or fashion to those young kids then that's pretty fantastic for me," said Neely. "You have a choice as to what you want to buy, and you have a choice as to what you want to cook and eat."

Click here to see his blog.

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