Chapter 05 Having Arrived Today

Art and Dan discover opportunities (and each other) in unexpected places.

New Directions

I was always kind of a big talker, and, when I performed at festivals, I often got asked to MC and introduce the other acts. It was something I really liked doing.

At one event on Vancouver Island a local TV producer approached me. She told me I was funny and that I’d make a good TV host.

She told me i was funny.

We kept in touch and the next thing I knew I was hosting an arts and culture show called The New Canoe. I’d always been fascinated with television and really enjoyed the work. It was very collaborative and definitely challenging.

New Directions

I always knew I was going to continue my cooking career. I just didn’t know when.

One night I cooked dinner for Micayla's parents and a few of their friends. When it was over one of their guests asked if I would cook for dinner party they were having.

They offered me $50 a head!

I did the dinner, and afterwards a couple of guests asked if I would teach them how to cook. It got me thinking. I developed a course, rented some space at a local community centre, and advertised my very own cooking class.

It filled right up!

New Opportunities

The next season I started doing Cree voiceover work with another producer on an aboriginal kids show, called Tiga Talk. It wasn’t quite as exciting as being an on-air host but I got to use my Cree language skills.

Then one day the producers approached me about a role in front of the camera. I was a little reluctant because it was a kid’s show, and I was pretty busy with my music, but I went for it and eventually ended up with the part of "dad", the show’s real life father character.

It was really fun!

New Opportunities

The cooking classes led to a lot of catering gigs, and I was also selling a fair amount of cooking and kitchen products on the side.

We went from working out of our bedroom to a garage to a kitchen downtown. Eventually we started thinking...

...we might have something here.

What we had wasn’t a restaurant but a hybrid business built around a love of food.

We called it the london chef.

It included the cooking school, our catering services, a pantry where you could buy specialty food products, and a café.

Face to Face

One day, on set, a producer I’d told about my time as a bush cook came to me with a new show idea.

We pitched it to our executive producer, Hilary Pryor. She liked it but said there wasn’t enough to make a show out of.

Around this same time there was a new catering company on set doing the craft services. At the helm was a chef named, Dan Hayes. He was kind of a character, and the exec suggested he might be a good fit for the show. We took him out for coffee.

He was sceptical, to say the least.

Face to Face

One of our catering clients was local television production company called May Street, who had hired us to do craft services.

On our second or third day there I was serving lunch to the crew when this great big Indian chap comes up in line. He was one of the performers and was holding a prop, a fake wooden rifle. I started talking about shooting, and, as it turns out, we both loved hunting.

A couple of weeks later he comes to see me with Hilary Pryor, the show's producer. She explains they want to do a show and that we might work well together...on television!

I was a little incredulous when they first pitched the idea to me. What did I know about it?

I’d barely ever watched tv let alone been on tv.

They asked me if I would do a screen test, and I said yes thinking it would never fly.

It was obvious from the footage they shot that there was a great chemistry between us. We were very different people, and that added some tension, but we had enough in common to cut through it.

The producers cut a demo reel.

It looked great...

The producers started pitching it around.

There was quite a bit of interest.

The next thing we know, APTN is signing off on the idea.

We had a show!

The rest, as they say, is history

Thanks for joining us on our trip down memory lane.

We hope you enjoyed getting a little peek into where we come from, and how we ended up together on TV. The journey has just begun.

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