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Cooking with One Chef One Critic

A career television, radio, and print journalist, Karl Wells is widely known for his 31-year career with the CBC. An accredited personal chef and lifelong foodie, he has produced many food segments for local and national television programs. Recently we spoke with Wells about his recent collaboration with Steve Watson, Cooking with One Chef One Critic (Flanker Press, 2013).

What motivated and/or inspired you to write this book?
KW: Cooking with One Chef One Critic came from a desire to provide the loyal viewers of the TV show, One Chef One Critic, with a tangible memento of the series. It is a collection of my memories from the show, as well as recipes and behind-the-scenes photographs taken over the course of 110 episodes of One Chef One Critic.

Did the work come together quickly or did you really need to work at it?
KW: Yes, but the work in doing a proper cookbook is in getting the recipes right. We had to make sure nobody would be disappointed with a single recipe. This was key. Apart from that, the challenge was in making the most effective choices from an abundance of wonderful recipes, anecdotes and photographs.

What was the most challenging aspect of the process?
KW: Formulating the recipes so that they all matched in terms of layout, description, amounts, ease of execution, et cetera.

What was the most rewarding part of the experience?
KW: Seeing a record of a six year body of work come together in tangible form.

What did you learn during process?
KW:  I learned that patience and a love of editing and re-writing are essential for the production of a good book.

What has the response to the work been like so far?
KW: The response from everyone who has seen the book has been very positive and rewarding. The media have embraced the book, as well as fans of the show. Everybody is thrilled with the overall quality of the artwork, photographs, recipes and the general polished construction of the book.

In your estimation, what makes a good book?
KW: A good book is one with which the author is thoroughly satisfied and one that is read or used very quickly.

What are your thoughts on the current state of literature in Atlantic Canada?
KW: I believe book publishing in Atlantic Canada, particularly in Newfoundland and Labrador, is doing very well. Our fiction writers are being recognized as some of the best in the country. Atlantic Canada has a great tradition of storytelling, mostly an oral one. Now we see that tradition continuing in the written word.

What can we do better?
KW: There’s no point in writing a book if nobody knows about it. We need to get better at marketing our books in Atlantic Canada and across the country.

Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
KW: Only the same advice that’s been given ad nauseam; write what you know about, and if it’s not enjoyable, find something else to do.

What's next on your creative agenda?
KW: My next project will be a personal memoir.

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