By Jacob Hoytema –
This summer, Kitchissippi food writer Paula Roy was on vacation in Western Canada when she received a call from telecommunications giant Rogers asking her to create and star in her own cooking show.
“I was so shocked, it was almost like one of those astonishing marriage proposals, where the person doesn’t even know what to say because they’re so surprised,” Paula remembers. “Of course, I said yes.”
She had to develop some ideas within a week and begin filming within a month so that the new show — titled Paula Roy’s Favourite Foods — would be ready to air on Rogers TV this fall.
How did it all happen? In recent years, Paula has been an expert voice on the food scene both in Ottawa and across the country. Aside from being the food editor of Ottawa At Home magazine, she is also the author of two blogs, one of which is part of a national blogging network called Yummy Mummy Club. She has also appeared numerous times on CTV Ottawa, sharing seasonally-appropriate recipes and food ideas.
On her new show, Rogers had asked her to choose recipes from both her blogs — she estimates that between the two of them, she has a repertoire of over 500 — and combine them into themed sets and meals.
Before production began, Paula also reached out to Farm Boy, who became a sponsor for the show, helping provide ingredients for the recipes.
Rogers sent a TV production crew to Paula’s house in August and filmed the first six episodes right in her own home. The entire process was somewhat of a whirlwind; Paula says that from the first phone call to the final wrap on set was one month.
During the process of filming in her own kitchen, Paula says that what she found most surprising was how nervous she was in comparison to her experience with live TV.
“I think when it’s live, I just sort of think ‘OK, I’m winging it, I’m going to do the best I can, and if I flip up or make a mistake I’ll just tap dance my way through it.’” Paula explains. “But sometimes having the chance to overthink it and think ‘oh, maybe I could have been better’… sometimes I had to say, ‘could we do that again?’”
When Paula told one of her friends about the new project, her friend remarked that Julia Child also got her start on television.
“I thought that was pretty funny,” says Paula. “I have no illusions of grandeur like that whatsoever. It would be great if these episodes are well received… it was a lot of work but I would be super keen to do more episodes. I have so many more ideas and way more recipes.”
Paula Roy’s Favourite Foods will air on Rogers TV this fall, with the episodes being uploaded to YouTube after their original air dates.
In the meantime, Paula’s blog can be found at constantlycooking.com.