Tag Archives: Just in Time for Dinner

Expert sand sculptors compete in CBC’s Race Against the Tide

Canadian production company marblemedia has been creating some truly interesting twists on the reality competition genre. Blown Away (about glass blowing) and Landscape Artist of the Year (which is just what it sounds like) are stellar examples of reality shows that don’t have Canada in the title.

Now marblemedia is back with its newest reality project. Race Against the Tide debuts Thursday at 8 and 8:30 p.m. and finds 10 teams of highly skilled sand sculptors battling each other—and the tide—to impress judges and win $10,000. Hosted by Shaun Majumder, Race Against the Tide‘s setting is the Bay of Fundy, where high tides mark the deadline in each episode’s competition.

Not only is Race Against the Tide as engaging as heck, but it’s an education as well. I had no clue competitive sand sculpting was a thing. Neither did showrunner and writer Carly Spencer, who we spoke to about the challenges the pandemic and nature played in Season 1.

I knew nothing about sand carving contests until I watched the first episode of Race Against the Tide. Did you know anything about any of this stuff before you got involved in the show? 
Carly Spencer: I did not. And, it was a real whirlwind when we started up production because we were actually the first show in Canada out in the field during COVID. We just sort of hit the ground running working with CBC and it was crazy because we had never seen what we were going to be working with, this tide and everything because we couldn’t travel out there [in advance].

We saw that tide for the first time and we went, ‘Holy moly.’ What’s so cool about this show is that the crew is actually racing against the tide as well. We have basically the time from when the tide goes out and we start shooting and the sculptors start sculpting. And then, when the tide starts to come back, it hits these markers, so we have a little bit of time for judging. That’s it. If we miss a step we lose an episode. If the tide washes away one of the sculptures before we can shoot the beauty of it… But what that does is just create this amazing energy on set. Everybody is just in it working so well as a team. The cooperation on this crew is just like nothing I’ve ever experienced. I tell every single person who will listen to me, that it is because of the crew, the fantastic people just hauling their butts and working together, that this show even gets made.

These are incredible artists. Just learning about the packing down of the sand, the different scientific properties of the sand, and maybe black sand looks cool, but it doesn’t have the same properties or regular brown sand. You have so much packed into a 22-minute episode. That must have been a heck of an edit that you had.
CS: You hit the nail on the head because this is a half-hour show. Every single line, every single shot is completely curated because there’s just no time to wait. It’s actually quite difficult cutting down so much footage.

How did you get involved in Race Against the Tide?
CS: I had done a show called Landscape Artist of the Year for CBC and marblemedia. Then, I got a call from marblemedia and they said, ‘You’re never going to believe this, the show has been greenlit and you start tomorrow.’ I didn’t even have time to think about it. I really like working with marblemedia. Matt Hornburg and I have such a lovely working relationship. He really prepped me and he just lets me run. So the opportunity to repeat that was great. And, also, I like a good challenge.

Talk about the beach where you filmed.
CS: The sand has to be the right type of sand to hold together. Originally, they were going to shoot it on a different beach, and then we did all this research. We actually had someone from here send samples to our judge, Karen Fralich, who had to do all these little experiments. We had to move to this particular cove because that’s where the best sand was. That’s the first thing all the sculptors asked, ‘How’s the sand?’ There’s so much science in this show and that nobody would know.

Race Against the Tide airs Thursday at 8 and 8:30 p.m. on CBC.

Images courtesy of CBC.


Comments and queries for the week of August 10

Thanks for the [Amazing Race Canada] tidbits. Bad placement if everyone came up the other side of the Mat. Kinda telegraphed the Navy ladies would be out. Even without the U-Turn they were an hour behind and 401 traffic in the afternoon. Lattes seemed easier and looked good. The charity tasks are a nice gesture but not really challenging nor good TV despite attempts to make it tense. Though the cheerleaders mistake was funny. Another prize to Asia without mentioning the sponsor. Likely Sinorama from last year that’s been in some trouble lately. Without them a future season will be even smaller in budget it seems. I read a few years back that the producers had to fight for four international episodes a year. Looks like it was cut down even further. Still more Face-Offs, meh. —DanAmazing

[Just in Time for Dinner] is a great show (I haven’t seen the original British version yet but will check it out). However, I too am very frustrated with the poor cooking skills and frequent references to bad dietary choices. “When I want hash browns I go to a drive thru and ask for six.” Seriously? Who feeds their children like that? Also interesting to watch an entire family eat with only forks! They do not know how to use a knife and fork together! Pity but probably culturally accurate… —Tina

I thought the lack of cooking skills in this family pathetic. Irritating to watch. Are 40-somethings really that clueless? —Claire

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Comments and queries for the week of August 3

You threw historical accuracy of the 40s out the window [in Just in Time for Dinner]. Such a totally askew picture of the 40s kitchen, the product of a mother/actress that obviously can’t cook … period. Comments like, “it took me half the day to just grind the meat,” left me more irritated than amused. By the way, cooks today still use manual meat grinders because they do a better job and one can grind up a whole cow in 30 minutes. Those of us who can remember our grandmothers in their 40s kitchens recall a time when variety was not a problem, particularly with homemade bread, pastries and yes, even meat dishes. Your program falsely suggested everyone went vegetarian in the 40s. Let me point out that in Ottawa alone, just outside the city, farmers regularly supplied the city with beef, poultry and pork at the local markets. There was NO shortage. In addition, you conveniently forgot that cottages were very big in the 40s and whole families spent every weekend boating and fishing … and oh yes, having outdoor barbecues. Freshwater rivers and streams at this time were plentiful with pickerel, catfish, sunfish, rock bass, perch, etc. It’s clear the producers of this program didn’t have a clue about this decade at all. —Garry

Good challenges with fun with theatre and chocolate and even the paddling river was calm. Funny seeing the guys knock over the clue box in the boat and fans helping them get in the end. Good mix of physical, detail and navigation in the Leg. Funny Oshawa mistake but its impact is null with the dawn equalizer. Math with 11 legs and 10 teams means two more episodes like this though I suppose a Keep on Racing gives them an excuse to do two episodes in the same province. A non-Blind Double U-Turn should be good. Thanks for the behind-the-curtain tidbits. A decent episode with good tasks but so much sameness. It’s enjoyable but not as exciting as the first few years with all the repetitiveness. Much of the TAR fandom is feeling it. —DanAmazing

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Comments and queries for the week of July 20

Are Maz and Angie playing siblings on Private Eyes? —Lynne

Hey Lynne, thanks for the great question. No, Maz (Ennis Esmer) and Angie (Cindy Sampson) aren’t siblings, but they are longtime friends. Hence the mocking tone between them.

I still think Anna and Todd might win [The Amazing Race Canada]. Martina was a hoot during the consuming of the blueberry pie. I thought eating a whole pie looked like it would be easy but after watching that, I think I’ll just stick to eating one slice at a time! —Joyce

Three Express Passes gone in one episode also happened last year, the East Coast cousins Megan and Courtney didn’t use theirs and got eliminated. Kinda lame how two of them were used on pie, it was thick but usually they are used for something harder. I understand why the rodeo girls used their EP but they didn’t really need to with the ferry delay. It kinda wrote off the first half of the episode with everyone all together, though if anyone had missed the boat it’d have written off the end of the episode. Martina continues to be funny. Joseph got really lucky on the track at 2:59 but it didn’t save them. We haven’t had a Detour set of tasks and a Road Block in the same episode. Did the budget get cut again? Double Blind U-Turn should be interesting unless everyone is too “heroic” to do it. And finally a proper episode of the Race-international. It’s a real shame they don’t do a full worldwide season like TAR is supposed to be. —DanAmazing

Absolutely loved [Just in Time for Dinner]. It brought back so many memories! I was born in 1960 and my husband born in 1950 and we have thoroughly enjoyed “going back in time.” My son, who is 31, visits on the weekend and we re-watch the shows and he loves it! —Marion

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