CFWI chef, students prepare holiday feast for TV news


Shown above: Chef professor Olaf Mertens (right) whips up a healthy holiday feast for CHCH News at Six with students Scott McInerney and Oksana Sytchouk in the CFWI’s culinary theatre.

CHCH TV cameras were rolling at the Canadian Food and Wine Institute’s culinary theatre in late December as chef Olaf Mertens and two culinary students prepared a healthy holiday feast that was high on taste, low on calories.

The CFWI were contacted by CHCH to prepare the dishes for a special news feature on healthy holiday cooking.

Mertens, along with students Oksana Sytchouk and Scott McInerney, prepared local smoked trout on a bed of cucumber spaghetti salad with apples, radish and celery root; a main course of turkey scallopini with chestnuts, sage, apples and NC House Riesling; a loaded mashed potato with bacon made of turkey skins;  and topped it off with poached pear with local nuts and cheddar – prepared with NC’s Rudolph the Red Nosed Beer, apple cider and cinnamon – for dessert.

“It’s challenging to cook healthy for the holidays, but we’ve got some great recipes and we took the heavy sin out of them,” said Mertens.

Sytchouk, a first-year Culinary Innovation and Food Technology student said she was nervous before the camera crews arrived, but felt prepared for the challenge.

“They train us really well here, and we learn that we’re supposed to act every day as if people are watching us, so we’re always ready for something like this,” she said.

Despite their nervousness about being on camera for the first time, Sytchouk and first-year culinary management student McInerney were grateful for the experience.

“I think being on TV will absolutely help us. I think it’s the only way to move forward,” said McInerney.

 The segment was featured on CHCH’s News at Six, on Dec. 22.

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