Welcome To My Kitchen
Joan McElman knows what it’s like to host a cooking show without an actual stove, sink or refrigerator. In the early days of Welcome To My Kitchen, she was welcoming viewers into quite the ramshackle room. “We were operating out of a crumby little converted apple warehouse in Aylesford, with virtually nothing,” McElman recalls. “I was the first person to get a stove. Before that, they were cooking on a hot plate!” McElman is the third host of Welcome To My Kitchen, but she has been hosting since 1983 so it’s hard to remember anyone else behind the counter. She’s now in the middle of taping her 34th season — and, keep in mind, she’s doing it on a volunteer basis. “I don’t get paid. I get to bring home leftovers,” McElman says with a chuckle. “The crew pretty much cleans it out every time, but I make sure they leave enough so I can bring a plate home for my husband.” Over the decades of whipping up soups, meats and desserts, McElman saw her set go through several rebuilds — including a memorable upgrade to Sears appliances in the mid-1990s. Then Eastlink approached her about 10 years ago and promised to build a beautiful new studio if she was willing to travel to Windsor for tapings. Today, that’s where the culinary magic happens — and Welcome To My Kitchen is now Eastlink TV’s No. 1 rated program. McElman plans each show’s menu and does all of the grocery shopping herself. Sometimes she’ll need to do a little prep work at home if a dish needs to be chilled or baked in advance. Tapings are usually on Tuesdays and Thursdays from September through December, to avoid the long drive in bad weather. McElman gets her hair and makeup done at her local salon, and then a crew member who lives in New Minas picks her up in Kingston and drives her to the taping in Windsor. It’s close to 11 a.m. when she arrives on set, and shooting takes a couple of hours. Once they finish, McElman takes her plate to the “green room” to enjoy her lunch while the crew cleans up the set. “I must say, I love doing the show. They treat me like a goddess,” says McElman. “I never touch a dish!” Barring any disasters, she’s usually back at home in Kingston by 3 p.m. And yes, even the masterful Joan McElman has the occasional kitchen disaster. “Sometimes we get halfway through a recipe and I realize I’ve forgotten an ingredient, or somebody drops something so we need to reshoot that part,” says McElman. “Once we blew one of the major power bars and everything went black, so they had to repair everything. There are always little glitches when you’re filming.” Fans have been begging for a cookbook for years, so McElman was happy to partner with Nimbus Publishing two years ago to start working on one. This summer she released Welcome To My Kitchen — the cookbook. She says it was a struggle to pare her favourite recipes down to fit on 196 pages, especially since she has collected them over years of moving around with her military husband. “Going through my recipes was kind of like a walk down Memory Lane,” says McElman. “We moved around so much, and my husband never hesitated to ask for the recipe when he tried something he liked, so there’s quite a variety.” She says the recipes are easy to prepare, like her favourite sweet and spicy cashew chicken, and she has also included substitution suggestions and tips to help her readers along. “Most people are intimidated by food, so my aim of the game is to make it accessible enough that people aren’t afraid to try,” says McElman. “The biggest thing is to have confidence in what you’re doing. The recipe is only a guideline.” The youngest of 10 children, McElman grew up on a farm and found her way to shine by making desserts for the family. Her mother taught her to learn new recipes “by texture and taste,” and now McElman’s passing those lessons along to her 14-year-old step-grandson who has been interested in cooking lately. “I’ve had the pleasure of working with chef Michael Smith and he once said to me, ‘Joan, in order to prepare good food, you must first know what good food tastes like,’” says McElman. “Too many people have never eaten anything that didn’t come out of a freezer section or a box.” McElman says she’s always surprised by the different types of fans Welcome To My Kitchen attracts. Just the other night, she was waiting for an airport shuttle and a man approached her excitedly and asked if she was Joan McElman. “I said, ‘Yes, I am,’ and he said, ‘I work the backshift a lot so I watch you early in the morning. I love your show!’” says McElman. “I hear from so many people that they like that I cook down-to-earth food — local stuff, nothing fancy, that’s easy to get around here.” Her comforting voice and the pleasant sounds of sizzling and clinking dishes appeal to children, too. Her friend’s six-year-old granddaughter, Rachel, will run into the room if she hears McElman’s voice coming from the TV. “You’ll hear her little voice saying ‘Joan’s on! Joan’s on!’ and she plops her little butt on the floor and watches the whole thing,” says McElman. “I got to meet her the other day in the grocery store, and she was ecstatic. It was the sweetest thing.”
Welcome To My Kitchen
A complete, full-course meal in 30 minutes? You bet! Joan McElman shows you how to prepare simple meals for the whole family with ingredients you probably already have in your kitchen. You provide the ingredients, we’ll provide all the thrills and spills on Welcome To My Kitchen with Joan McElman. Common sense cooking, with a down-home flavour. Only on Eastlink TV. Biography of Joan McElman Joan McElman was born and raised in the Okanagan Valley of British Columbia. As the youngest of 10 children,she discovered learning to cook was a necessity. Joan became seriously interested in cooking while living with her oldest brother and sister-in-law in logging camps during the summer months. While at the logging camps, Joan worked with her sister-in-law who cooked for between 10 and 30 men. Joan married a Canadian Airforce pilot in 1963 and developed a love of cooking ethnic meals and exotic food from the diversity of people they met during those years. While her husband traveled with the military, he would gather different recipes for her from the various places he visited, which led to a very extensive recipe collection. In 1983, she took over the show; “Cable Kitchen,” on Mid-Valley Cable in Aylesford, N.S. Joan was the third host of the show, the other two went on to other things within the cable station. Today, Joan continues to volunteer as the host of “Welcome To My Kitchen” on Eastlink TV where she can be seen every week preparing a variety of easy-to-make recipes. Currently, Joan and her husband Bob are retired and live in the central Annapolis Valley, a place where they thoroughly enjoy the pace of life and the people. Joan is the mother of a daughter and a son, and grandmother to 5: 2 grandsons and 3 granddaughters. Joan loves cookbooks and reads them like novels. Her friends know her passion for cooking and cookbooks, as she always loves receiving different cookbooks as gifts. Click here to download Joan’s Apple Blossom 2015 special recipe for Sticky Toffee Apple Pudding!
Welcome To My Kitchen
Bea Ojakangas: Welcome to My Kitchen No video available – find out why The six-part series features Bea Ojakangas, a prolific and award winning cookbook author, food writer, and columnist, who has spent her life learning about food and sharing her knowledge with others. Step inside her kitchen and cook along with Bea. Upcoming Air Dates This show is not scheduled to air soon.
Bea Ojakangas: Welcome to My Kitchen No video available – find out why The six-part series features Bea Ojakangas, a prolific and award winning cookbook author, food writer, and columnist, who has spent her life learning about food and sharing her knowledge with others. Step inside her kitchen and cook along with Bea.
A complete, full-course meal in 30 minutes? You bet! Joan McElman shows you how to prepare simple meals for the whole family with ingredients you probably already have in your kitchen. You provide the ingredients, we’ll provide all the thrills and spills on Welcome To My Kitchen with Joan McElman. Common sense cooking, with a down-home flavour.
In 1983, she took over the show; “Cable Kitchen,” on Mid-Valley Cable in Aylesford, N.S. Joan was the third host of the show, the other two went on to other things within the cable station. Today, Joan continues to volunteer as the host of “Welcome To My Kitchen” on Eastlink TV where she can be seen every week preparing a variety of easy-to-make recipes.