(Photo courtesy Food Network Canada)
Today it’s back to work after a glorious two weeks in Mexico. It’s true that one of the perks of my day job is the holidays and I am lucky that most holidays I am able to travel. Because life is all about travel, right? And food. Someone who gets to combine two of my passions for *her* day job is Chef Lynn Crawford, whose show Pitchin’ In begins its second season on Food Network Canada tonight at 10pm.
Picking up where she left off at the end of season 1, Lynn travels across North America and Canada in search of the best and freshest ingredients, learning from local purveyors and cooking meals for them in exchange for her labour learning their trade. She travels to far-flung locations, doing whatever it takes to get at the best, freshest ingredients in the world, even if it means putting herself at risk. Throughout her journey, she’ll take on any challenge, relying on locals to show her how it’s done. It’s a dirty job, but Chef Lynn is dying to do it!
Whether competing against Bobby Flay in Iron Chef America, or hosting Food Network’s Restaurant Makeover, Chef Crawford received tremendous media attention as the executive chef of Four Seasons Hotel in New York City, where she was the only female executive chef for a Four Seasons property in the world. Lynn is a tremendous culinary presence in North America, currently owner/ chef at the wildly popular Ruby Watchco in Toronto (on my list for 2011!)
In the first episode, Lynn travels to North Carolina looking for heritage French birds (Poulets Rouges) that taste the way chicken used to taste. But raising them is hard and dirty work, and even requires Chef Lynn to sleep overnight with 5000 baby chicks. She’s most definitely the city girl, a little out of place in the rural setting but this is what makes her so easy to relate to. A lot of the tasks she was asked to perform were ones which would have me scratching my head and Lynn makes no apologies for her lack of expertise. Her enthusiasm to learn is infectious though and she really makes viewers *want* her to succeed at her given tasks.
Apart from her personable nature and sense of humour which makes her so endearing, during each show, Lynn shares food and cooking tips, making it the complete culinary tourism package. It’s interesting to see the locals’ opinion of Lynn change throughout the shows; they’re always surprised that she manages to pull through most of the tasks, and always super impressed with her food. We get to see a little bit of the places she visits, learn a lot about food from the source and learn some recipes to boot.
Two other episodes I previewed found Lynn learning about bison in Airdrie, Alberta (where she has to come face to face with her fears of handling the animals) and avocados in the “avocado capital of the world”, Fallsbrook, California, where she creates an avocado-centric meal for a group of avocado lovers who doubt this fruit could be a part of each course. Of course, she pulls it off!!
If you’re interested in a little armchair culinary tourism, tune in to Pitchin’ In Monday nights at 10pm EST on Food Network Canada.