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Four Senses nails winning recipe in Season 3

Carl Heinrich and Christine Ha are cooking up good stuff on Four Senses. Heinrich, the Season 2 winner of Top Chef Canada, and Ha, who took the Season 3 title in MasterChef, are back for Season 3 of AMI-tv’s culinary series sharing recipes with each other and celebrities while traipsing the country meeting with the folks that put food on our tables.

The two chefs—and the Four Senses crew—have hit a real groove in Season 3, returning Thursday at 7:30 p.m. ET. The most obvious thing I noticed during a set visit last fall was the confidence the two have in the TV process. Gone are the jitters I saw in the first season, replaced with an understanding of what Four Senses is, and their roles in it. Yes, the program features embedded description for those who are blind or partially sighted and closed captioning for those with hearing loss, but at its heart Four Senses is a cooking show—and a darned entertaining one.

“Christine has had a lot of experience with very big productions,” says executive producer Anne Marie Varner. “This is a little more relaxed and she gets to hone her skills in terms of describing what she’s doing in the kitchen. She’s been very good at being able to point out to our guests and Carl what the challenges are when you’re blind or visually impaired in the kitchen. Carl has really grown in his confidence working in TV and it shows in his performance. You’re seeing a completely different person.”

Celebrity guests in the kitchen include Thursday’s visitor, Chef Corbin Tomaszeski, followed in the coming weeks by CHFI’s Erin Davis, French Chef at Home‘s Laura Calder, Chatelaine‘s Claire Tansey and BreakfastTelevision Toronto’s Frank Ferragine. As for the locations Heinrich and Ha will be visiting, Prince Edward Island, rural Ontario and Kelowna, B.C., beckon for features on lobsters and oysters, butter tarts and goat milk. Varner notes Four Senses is a national program, and she wanted their location segments to reflect that. A Season 3 addition that helped elevate Four Senses is new director Arlene Hazzan Green; the Emmy and Genie award winner is pushing the cooking process to the back burner in favour of stirring the pot through conversation about cooking and accessibility.

“We needed more conversation. ‘Who are you and why are you interested in this?'” Varner says. “She’s really focusing on the performance and learning about the twist that makes Four Senses unique.”

Four Senses airs Thursdays at 7:30 p.m. ET on AMI-tv.


Season 3 of AMI’s Four Senses to premiere on Jan. 14

From a media release:

Accessible Media Inc. (AMI) announced today that its cooking show with an accessibility twist, Four Senses, will kick off season three on Thursday, January 14 at 7:30 p.m. on AMI-tv. For the first time, fans are invited to visit AMI’s Facebook page during the broadcast to stream the episode andparticipate in a live question and answer session hosted by Four Senses’ very own celebrity Christine Ha.

Four Senses is a unique cooking show produced by AMI in partnership with Varner Productions Limited that unites blind and sighted chefs in the kitchen. Chef Carl Heinrich is back alongside Christine to share new recipes and experiences with a fresh group of celebrity guests. Each 30-minute episode will also include nutrition guidelines for optimal eye health and accessibility tips and tools for independence in the kitchen.

Season three begins with Chef Corbin Tomaszeski from Restaurant Makeover joining Carl and Christine in the Four Senses kitchen. Additional chef and celebrity guests this season include: CHFI morning show host, Erin Davis, Laura Calder of French Chef at Home, Claire Tansey of Chatelaine and the return of Frank Ferragine (aka Frankie Flowers).

The show also highlights culinary wonders across the country with stops in Prince Edward Island, rural Ontario and Kelowna, British Columbia. Along the way, Christine and Carl will have the opportunity to catch lobsters and harvest oyster beds in PEI, visit with renowned Canadian Chef Michael Smith at the Inn at Bay Fortune, travel the Butter Tart Trail in Wellington North, and visit an accessible goat milk farm in the Okanagan.

In keeping with AMI’s mandate of making accessible media for all Canadians, Four Senses features embedded description, where hosts and guests describe their surroundings and actions for audience members who are blind or partially sighted, as well as closed captioning for those with hearing loss.


Revamped Canada in Perspective returns for Season 4

Newsmagazine shows are a dime a dozen. They all cover red carpet arrivals, celebrity gossip and the latest movie premieres, but rarely do they report on current issues in society, something Canada in Perspective does with every broadcast.

Returning Sunday on AMI-tv, Season 4 of Canada in Perspective boasts a new logo, refreshed set and new production company in Varner Productions Limited (Four Senses) to complement host Anna-Karina Tabuñar. The mandate of the 19-episode season is the same: to spotlight those in the disabled community in a respectful way.

“This is very much a marginalized community,” Tabuñar says. “This show is the perfect opportunity to give them a forum and give them what they need.” Filmed in Toronto’s airy Corus Quay building, Tabuñar hosts a diverse panel of guests who analyze the issues and present their personal experiences and perspectives on the everyday and unique. We visited the set just as two guests finished participating in a segment about dating and sex, and watched former Holmes on Holmes star Damon Bennett outline his ongoing mandate to give work to injured Canadian soldiers.

“We make it a point to be welcoming to everybody,” the energetic Tabuñar explains. “Whether they have a guide dog or a motorized wheelchair or have some special needs, we’re attuned to that. You don’t always get that on the TV set where it’s file to deadline.” Most importantly? Canada in Perspective doesn’t focus on the “dis” in the word “disability.”

Director Jeff Blundell notes extended, more documentary style field pieces profile people and their stories, a tact used to great effect in Four Senses. Topics covered in Season 4 include the Parapan Am Games in Toronto, refugees, end of life, embedded technology, TV casting and parenting. Sunday’s return explores Canada’s transit systems and how the needs of disabled citizens are being met.

“We wanted to look at things in a more global way this season,” Varner says. “Rather than a story like, ‘I can’t get into my apartment,’ we ask why accessible buildings aren’t everywhere.”

Canada in Perspective returns Sunday, May 31, at 6:30 p.m. ET/PT on AMI-tv.