Everything about Reality, Lifestyle & Documentary, eh?

Preview: Makeful’s Handmade Hotels explores luxury rentals

Unless I’m travelling for work, I refuse to stay in a hotel. I much prefer Airbnb for the convenience, homeyness and prices to what hotel chains offer. And, after watching Handmade Hotels, Katie Herbert has opened my eyes when it comes to booking a hotel for a group.

Debuting Tuesday with back-to-back episodes at 10 and 10:30 p.m. ET/PT on Makeful, Herbert takes viewers on a journey to see a trio of short-term rentals designed for larger groups. A renovation specialist who isn’t afraid to think outside the box in her day-to-day gig, Herbert knows a unique design when she sees it. And Handmade Hotels has plenty to offer when it comes both whimsy and wow factor.

After a bit of a history lesson—short-term rentals date back to boarding houses of the 19th century when workers and their families came to the city and needed somewhere to stay when they weren’t on the job—Herbert visits the first location, a home dating from 1880. After renovating it for her family, homeowner Abigale now offers it as a short-term property for up to nine guests. One of the unique and eye-catching items in the property is a clawfoot tub in the kitchen with a very cute story behind it. As Herbert says, that tub is just the type of item to garner attention when folks search online for somewhere to stay and makes for a great conversation piece.

Herbert’s next stop is a 6,000-foot place, The Darling Mansion, that can easily host 10. Among the highlights in Tanya’s former doctor’s home turned art spaces are antiques and visual curiosities, a room called “The Opium Den” with open shower, and “The Magic Carpet Ride,” boasting a bed suspended from the ceiling.

Upcoming instalments spotlight hidden rooms, eco-friendly homes, tiny homes and historic properties, all part of the short-term rental market.

Handmade Hotels is the latest original production from Blue Ant Media and it’s the perfect fit to a brand offering great homegrown shows like Blown Away, Great Canadian Cottages and Brojects. I’m looking forward to seeing more.

Handmade Hotels airs Tuesdays at 10 and 10:30 p.m. ET/PT on Makeful.

Images courtesy of Blue Ant Media.

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Comments and queries for the week of May 10

I’m a 64-year-old male who is a fan but who finds Bryan in [Island of Bryan] as a male chauvinist pig who doesn’t listen, is a self-centred jerk, and gives a bad reputation to guys. —Don


Once again [Big Food Bucket List is a] great idea but the wrong host. Catucci knows absolutely zero about food. I wonder if he has found other words besides “that’s fantastic” or that’s so yummy” to describe food. —Bill

I was watching You Gotta Eat Here on Saturday and thinking, “I wonder where he is and what he is doing?” I love that show. Then that night I saw a commercial for the new show. I am so happy that he is coming back to TV. I have marked it on my calendar. —Brenda

Got a question or comment about Canadian TV? Email greg.david@tv-eh.com or via Twitter @tv_eh.

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Groundbreaking Indigenous docu-series Future History returns for a second season premiering May 14 at 8 p.m. ET on APTN

From a media release:

Following the success of its trailblazing first season, Future History returns to explore stories of Indigenous communities at the forefront of the reclamation movement in Canada. Future History, Season Two (13×30) premieres Tuesday, May 14 2019, at 8 p.m. ET exclusively on APTN East and 8 p.m. MT on APTN West.

This smart, heartfelt docu-series is produced and directed by award-winning Canadian producer and actress Jennifer Podemski (Empire of Dirt, Dance Me Outside, Cardinal, Degrassi: The Next Generation) and co-produced by Geoff Ewart (Empire of Dirt, The Associates, The Border). Future History is written by actress and writer Tamara Podemski (Coroner, Heartland, Four Sheets to the Wind) and co-hosted by notable Indigenous activist and artist Sarain Fox (RISE) and Kris Nahrgang, an archeologist reclaiming his identity. The co-hosts bond together as they explore their own biases and beliefs, journeying into Indigenous communities to meet innovators who are harnessing Indigenous Knowledge as a way to rewrite history and transform their future, ultimately reconnecting with their land and heritage.

Audiences this season can expect to be captivated by a 13-year old water activist and cultural warrior; find joy and get down at a youth dance and music workshop; hear valuable and compassionate stories from a suicide prevention and intervention organization and understand how Indigenous Knowledge is implemented in cutting edge social science research, childbirth and prenatal care, just to name a few. A full list of episode descriptions is available here.

Future History is made possible by the generous support of Canada Media Fund (CMF), Rogers Documentary Fund and APTN.

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Mary’s Kitchen Crush showcases Mary Berg’s cooking skills and heart

When I first met Mary Berg, it was to shadow her during her MasterChef Canada Season 3 audition. As we spoke that day, I was struck by her enthusiasm and passion for food, and her humour. She went on to show that during MasterChef Canada, eventually winning Season 3. We reconnected during the filming of Berg’s first television series, Mary’s Kitchen Crush, and she hasn’t changed one bit.

Debuting on Sunday at 7 p.m. ET/PT on CTV, Mary’s Kitchen Crush has Berg’s touches all over it, from the recipes she makes—three to four originals per episode inspired by someone who has made a meaningful impact on her life—to the show’s set, sprinkled with photos and other personal items. In the first episode, it’s Berg’s mother, Myra, who arrives to enjoy the fruits of her daughter’s labour via an herb and garlic stuffed lamb tenderloin with oven-roasted asparagus, garlic and herb flatbread, and a strawberry-rhubarb galette for dessert.

“The reason I did catering was that I just wanted to share my food with people outside of my own kitchen,” Berg says during a break in filming last year. “The fact that I get to share my recipes with people through different avenues is really exciting.”

The program’s production company, Proper Television, is smart to let Berg be her charming, geeky self, madly waving her arms around (and uttering some truly bad jokes) as she creates tasty plates that are accessible and easy for home cooks. Thirty episodes of Mary’s Kitchen Crush were filmed—with a total of roughly 145 recipes—over a two-month production schedule.

“I’m a little bit of a Type-A personality and a control freak,” Berg says with a laugh. “It was basically me sitting in a barcalounger at my cottage writing and working.” Berg wrote all of the recipes, tested about half herself and tested the rest with the show’s culinary team. The goal is for the recipes to work and for viewers to actually make them. And while she loves nothing better than to spend an entire Sunday tweaking a recipe, Berg knows home cooks simply don’t have that time.

“All of the recipes for this show, and anything that I’m developing in general, I think, ‘Could my mother do this?'” Berg says. “She’s not great in the kitchen, and if Myra Berg can do it anybody can do it.”

Mary’s Kitchen Crush airs Sundays at 7 p.m. ET/PT on CTV.

Image courtesy of Bell Media.

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John Catucci shares his Big Food Bucket List beginning May 24 on Food Network Canada

From a media release:

This spring, Food Network Canada takes viewers on a one-of-a-kind food adventure across North America in the new Canadian original series from Corus Studios, Big Food Bucket List (14x30min). Fan-favourite host and comedian John Catucci (You Gotta Eat Here!) takes viewers along as he checks the most buzz-worthy, crazy, delicious food and must-see culinary stops off his bucket list. Big Food Bucket List premieres Friday, May 24 at 9 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. ET/PT on Food Network Canada.

Viewers know John Catucci from his five seasons as host of the Food Network Canada hit series, You Gotta Eat Here!. Now he’s back for another helping of over-the-top, delicious food, but this time around, he’s on mission to find highly-recommended favourites to check off his Big Food Bucket List. Each episode, John visits three restaurants across North America and tries their must-eat meals. Then he hits the kitchen to lend a hand and learn how the chefs make their mind-blowing creations.

In the premiere back-to-back episodes, “Rolling in the Deep Dish” and “More Than Meats the Eye”, airing May 24 at 9 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. ET/PT, John dives into the original deep dish pizza in Chicago, Ill. and learns how to make a mile-high pizza pie. In Toronto, Ont., he’s off to feast on a burger with a sweet pineapple bun and jerk lobster fit for a king at a spectacular Jamaican-Chinese joint. Then John visits Louisville, Ky. to try out some truly authentic Kentucky fried chicken at a world-famous historic location before heading to Boston, Mass. to dig into the ultimate surf and turf burger topped with a juicy lobster tail, as well as mind-blowing fried lobster and waffles.

This season, John will try drool-worthy dishes that include an Instagram-famous, ooey-gooey spaghetti grilled cheese from Irvine, Calif., seared scallops straight from the sea in Halifax, N.S., hand-rolled pasta perfection in Vancouver, B.C., and authentic New Orleans, La. fried chicken said to be Beyoncé’s favourite. John also satisfies his sweet tooth with treats like authentic New Orleans Bananas Foster, sinfully delicious hazelnut chocolate French toast from Calgary, Atla., and fluffy blueberry pancakes from a Nova Scotian sugar shack. Along the way, John also takes part in some unforgettable food adventures including a decadent medieval feast where no forks are allowed, learning the tricks of the trade at an apple orchard, getting smoked meat lessons from a pit master, and venturing to an authentic Canadian sugar shack.

Tourism Nova Scotia joins as a sponsor for three episodes, providing John with restaurant recommendations for bucket list-worthy dishes that highlight the province’s rich culture and fresh and local way of life.

Big Food Bucket List is produced by Lone Eagle Entertainment in association with Corus Studios for Food Network Canada.

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