Tag Archives: CTV Life Channel

Award-winner Mary Berg is back on TV with Mary Makes it Easy

There’s a reason Mary Berg has resonated with audiences and judges, first on MasterChef Canada and then with Mary’s Kitchen Crush. What you see is what you get with Berg, and you can’t help but cheer her on.

The two-time Canadian Screen award winner is back with her latest series for Bell Media, helming Mary Makes it Easy. Debuting Monday at 8 p.m. Eastern on CTV Life Channel, Berg brings viewers into her real-life kitchen for easy-to-make (and equally easy to tweak) recipes, delivered with her trademark smile and humour.

We spoke to Mary Berg about Mary Makes it Easy, what viewers can expect from Season 1 and what it’s like to be an award winner.

How did Mary Makes it Easy come about? Is this something that you pitched to Bell or was this a collaboration?
Mary Berg: I think it was a bit of both, to be honest. We definitely pitched it to Bell. It’s no secret that I’m a sucker for a straight-ahead cooking show, in the kitchen, showing you how to make something, walking you through it, cooking show. And we definitely did that in Mary’s Kitchen Crush. With Kitchen Crush, it was about the end result. It was about the people coming over and making dishes inspired by people who you’re going to meet at the end, that was the payoff. In Mary Makes it Easy I think we did a good job at conveying this is it’s all about you and me in the kitchen together, because that is the biggest hurdle for most people. 

It’s not necessarily having someone over. It’s how do you make something for friends, or even just your family that you live with or even just yourself? It is a hard thing to do when there are so many other options. This is about you and me, the person who doesn’t want to be pulling their hair out at the end of it when their guests arrive. It is just about prepping and making delicious food and making it as confident-filled and comfortable as possible for everybody.

You’ve always made it very accessible with your ingredients. Has that always been something that’s been important to you? Just keeping it easy for the home cook? 
MB: Totally. When I write recipes, I want someone who’s experienced in the kitchen to not think, ‘Oh, this is an easy recipe,’ but I want someone who isn’t also to feel like I’m there with them walking them through. With ingredients, especially over the last year and a half, my cooking style changed kind of completely. I don’t go to the grocery store every day anymore. I go once every two weeks, pretty much still like I’m still on that kind of schedule and it’s totally changed the way I cook. This show has a lot more options for substitutions. There are a lot more suggestions for if you don’t have this or you don’t like it, that’s fine. It’s not going to ruin the recipe. Make it yours because it’s about you.

How do you develop recipes?
I love recipe development and I love food science. Basically, I have this Nancy Drew-style notebook, a composition book that I write my ideas in. I write what I think is going to work. I write estimated measurements and I just think about flavours that I think would go well together. It’s summertime right now, so obviously, everything I do has peaches and tomatoes in it because both of those things go so well together. So taking cues from what’s at the market, what’s at the grocery store, even what’s on sale, and then trying to figure out ways to do it in exciting but accessible and accomplishable ways.

You film Mary Makes it Easy in your actual kitchen. Was that always the plan?
MB: This show was always going to be in my kitchen. I think I wanted to have people in my house [because] there’s a comfort level there that I think you can’t convey in a set in the same way. So having that and giving this whole show more of a comfortable, tight-knit, cozy, homey vibe, it feels a little more like you’re just hanging out at my, at my breakfast bar pretty much the whole time. 

I enjoyed the bloopers at the end of the first episode.
MB: Thanks, man! I wanted, throughout the show and throughout the episodes, to keep flubs in too. We kept things in where something goes wrong because that’s how it works. No one is perfect. In my world, in the kitchen, there’s no failing. You’re just like trying something and it might not work, but that means you learned how to make it not work. Sometimes things go wrong and you just roll with the punches and keep going.

Can you give me a hint about some of the upcoming episodes? The first is chicken.
MB: We’ve got 25 episodes, and it was really fun coming up with the ideas for each episode because we wanted to think of common issues in the kitchen. For instance, chicken. It’s a great staple, so we wanted to do one that with 100 percent all on chicken. The next episode is date night. The thing with date night is no, you shouldn’t make like a souffle. That is an insane thing to do when you’re trying to impress someone because it’s going to go wrong. You need to do things that are quick, really impressive, but also still look like you aren’t sweaty and you just had a crying fit on the floor before your date arrived. There’s get ahead recipes, there’s one-pot there are lunches, there’s baking, baking recipes for like real beginners. Like if you want to make bread, I’ve got the bread for you as a beginner and you want to make a cheesecake, I got the cheesecake for you.

You recently won a second Canadian Screen Award. How does that feel? 
MB: It’s one thing to put something out there and think that you really like it and that the folks at Bell Media really like it, but it’s another when people vote and you find out that the Academy really likes you too. So how does that feel? Um, mindboggling. Oatmeal brain is what I call it. The fact that the show also won is so huge because so many people worked so hard on it. I know everyone says this, but I truly did not expect it either time.

I was a participation ribbon kid. I was the kid who you’re playing soccer and I’d be like, ‘No, I’m going to sit down and find a four leaf clover.’ It is really exciting and thrilling to work so hard on something and have that peer and Academy-based recognition.

Mary Makes it Easy airs Mondays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on CTV Life Channel.

Images courtesy of Bell Media.

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Production underway on new CTV Life Channel original culinary series, Mary Makes It Easy

From a media release:

CTV Life Channel, in association with Boat Rocker Studios, Unscripted through Proper Television, announced today that production has begun on new culinary series MARY MAKES IT EASY. Hosted by Canada’s culinary sweetheart Mary Berg, Canadian Screen Award-winner for Best Host, Lifestyle for CTV Original series MARY’S KITCHEN CRUSH, the new series for CTV Life Channel consists of 25 half-hour episodes, including a holiday special.

For Berg, cooking is life. Making and serving delicious food for friends and family is how Berg expresses her love for them. It’s also how she connects with fans and followers around the world who might need some help with their own cooking adventures.

Filming in Toronto at Berg’s home kitchen, MARY MAKES IT EASY follows Berg as she provides tips, tricks, and recipes to solve every day cooking woes. From ideas on what to make with a fridge full of leftovers, to lackluster chicken emergencies, Berg takes viewers through simple solutions, and leaves them with a newfound confidence to overcome any challenges they encounter on their culinary journey.

As part of the new series, Berg wants to know what cooking questions Canadians need answered. With submissions now open at AskMary.ca, people have the opportunity to send their inquiries to Berg, with some questions to be featured on MARY MAKES IT EASY.

Berg has spent most of her life cooking and baking for those she loves, and building a strong appreciation for the connective powers of beautiful, home-cooked food. Berg is the Canadian Screen Award-winner for Best Host, Lifestyle for MARY’S KITCHEN CRUSH, a CTV Original series. MARY’S KITCHEN CRUSH is a Canadian Screen Award-winner for Best Lifestyle Program or Series, and is currently sold in more than 100 countries. Berg is also the Season 3 winner of CTV’s MASTERCHEF CANADA, as well as a cooking expert on YOUR MORNING, THE SOCIAL, and THE MARILYN DENIS SHOW on CTV. Best-selling author of Kitchen Party: Effortless Recipes for Every Occasion, Berg is currently working on her second cookbook, which is set to be released in fall 2021.

MARY MAKES IT EASY is produced by Boat Rocker Studios, Unscripted through Proper Television, in association with CTV. Cathie James, Allison Grace, and Lesia Capone serve as Executive Producers and David Donohue as Series Producer.

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Season 3 of Where to I Do? Premieres June 9 on CTV Life Channel

From a media release:

Time to say “I Do” to the perfect wedding venue with the return of WHERE TO I DO?, Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET, premiering June 9 on CTV Life Channel. Co-produced by Bell Media Studios and Motion Content Group, the 30-minute series, follows Canadian property and design expert Tommy Smythe as he helps couples navigate the often difficult search for the wedding venue of their dreams. Nominated for two trophies during this week’s Canadian Screen Awards, the series has reached over 5.5 million Canadians across all airings since its series debut in 2018.

Following new episodes of WHERE TO I DO?, the hit wedding series I DO, REDO with Jessica Mulroney joins the lineup at 9:30 p.m., making Tuesdays on CTV Life Channel the ultimate destination for wedding themed TV this spring.

Taped before the COVID-19 pandemic, the eight-episode third season of WHERE TO I DO? heads to Ireland as its first international destination outside of North America, before also visiting California, Montréal, New Orleans, and Toronto. While couples continue to have their weddings delayed as the world waits to return to normal, the series hopes to encourage couples to think outside the box when it comes to location and venue.

Seasons 1 and 2 of the series, which is seen in international markets including Africa, Central and Eastern Europe, Hong Kong, Hungary, Italy, Latin America, Norway, Poland, and others, is currently streaming on Crave.Facebooktwitterredditlinkedinmail

CTV Life Channel whips up reboot of classic culinary series Cook Like a Chef

From a media release:

This March, the masterclass is in session as CTV Life Channel enrolls Canada in the ultimate culinary emersion: the reboot of iconic series COOK LIKE A CHEF, Fridays at 8 p.m. ET, beginning March 6. Produced in partnership with Gusto Worldwide Media, the 20-episode, half-hour CTV Life Channel original shows viewers tricks of the trade from some of Canada’s best and brighest chefs.

The award-winning series that ran for 165 episodes from 2001-05 stays true to the original with modern updates including cutting-edge innovations, diverse cultural influences, and an all-new cast.

Bringing their varied culinary backgrounds to the table, COOK LIKE A CHEF’s four new hosts includes former personal chef to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and executive chef for the Beckta restaurant group, Chef Katie Ardington, and head chef of Montréal’s Maison Publique and former protégé of Jamie Oliver, Chef Derek Dammann. As well, Argentinian ONE WORLD KITCHEN host, Chef Natalia Machado, brings her unique flavour to the series, along with owner of Asian-Caribbean Toronto restaurant Patois, Chef Craig Wong. 

In each episode of COOK LIKE A CHEF, the expert chefs focus on a single ingredient and dive deep into cooking techniques, tips, and tricks that give any home cook confidence in the kitchen.

In the series premiere, “Duck ”, (Friday March 6 at 8 p.m. ET), Chef Craig Wong demonstrates techniques for preparing the perfect duck. Chef Wong first prepares the classic Peking Duck using unique techniques including blanching, basting, roasting, and frying. Other creations in this episode include a simple pan-seared Maple Duck Breast with Rosemary and a Jerked Duck Confit.Facebooktwitterredditlinkedinmail

CTV reboots iconic series Cook Like a Chef for CTV Life Channel

From a media release:

CTV, in partnership with Gusto Worldwide Media, announced today the reboot of iconic series COOK LIKE A CHEF for its new lifestyle brand CTV Life Channel. Production begins later this month in Ottawa with an all-new cast of some of Canada’s best and brightest chefs, including former personal chef to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau Chef Katie Ardington, head chef of Montréal’s Maison Publique Chef Derek Dammann, host of ONE WORLD KITCHEN Chef Natalia Machado, and owner of Patois restaurant in Toronto Chef Craig Wong. The series is slated to debut in early 2020 on CTV Life Channel.

CTV’s first original order for CTV Life Channel, the revival of COOK LIKE A CHEF stays true to its initial creative with some modern updates. Originally on air from 2001 – 2005, the rebooted series teaches viewers how to cook, not what to cook. The live-to-tape studio production breaks down the fourth wall, bringing the crew into the on-camera experience and providing a unique, intimate point of view for the audience.

The first season consists of 20 half-hour episodes, in which an expert chef focuses on a single ingredient and dives deep into cooking techniques, tips, and tricks that will give any home cook confidence in the kitchen.

Initially created by President and CEO of Gusto Worldwide Media Chris Knight, COOK LIKE A CHEF’s original run spanned six seasons and 165 episodes, and won a Gourmand cookbook award.

See below for more details on the diverse culinary backgrounds of COOK LIKE A CHEF’s four new hosts:

Chef Katie Ardington
Well-established in the Ottawa culinary scene, Chef Katie Ardington is the executive chef for the Beckta restaurant group, overseeing Play Food & Wine, Beckta, and Gezellig. Formally, Katie worked as the personal chef to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his family. A proud recipient of the prestigious Top 30 Under 30 Award from the Ontario Hostelry Institute, Katie regularly gives back to her community through local food-related events and initiatives.

Chef Derek Dammann
Derek Dammann was raised in Campbell River, BC. He previously worked in one of Canada’s great Italian restaurants, Zambri’s, before making his way to the U.K. to work with Jamie Oliver. Today, Derek is based in Montréal where he is the proud owner of Masion Publique. Recently, he partnered with the Joe Beef team to open McKiernan Luncheonette, Rotisserie and Catering. He is the author of the best-selling cookbook, True North, Canadian Cooking from Coast to Coast.

Chef Natalia Machado
Originally from Buenos Aires, Natalia Machado is an award-winning chef who has brought her creative and authentic Argentinian fare to international competitions. Based in Montréal, Natalia is the Culinary Director for Ville Marie Collection and the host of ONE WORLD KITCHEN, where she showcases her culinary traditions while telling unique stories.

Chef Craig Wong
Craig is the Chef and owner of Patois Toronto, an Asian-Caribbean restaurant and the executive chef at Ting Irie, Dubai’s first Jamaican restaurant. Combining his Jamaican-Chinese heritage with classic French cuisine training, Craig Wong’s cooking has always been exciting, unique, and packed with bold flavors. His passion for learning and relentless determination led him to working in Three Michelin starred restaurants including Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athénée and The Fat Duck.Facebooktwitterredditlinkedinmail