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Newfoundland-and-Labrador-born chef Christine Tizzard helping people eat better

Chef and author Christine Tizzard poses for a photo outside the Lord Nelson Hotel in Halifax this week.
Chef and author Christine Tizzard poses for a photo outside the Lord Nelson Hotel in Halifax this week. - Ryan Taplin

Burns and cuts are common when you work in a kitchen, but usually there isn’t a studio audience and camera crew watching.

“I have pretty good knife skills, but there was so much going on,” says chef Christine Tizzard, remembering back to 2012 and her first day as host of Best Recipes on CBC.

“My assistant runs over, he looked at my finger, got on his walkie and said, ‘We need to get a medic over here.’”

She’d cut through her fingernail nearly to the bone.

“It was traumatizing,” says Tizzard, laughing. “You feel so bad because everybody has to stop working.”

Today the Newfoundland-born model, actress, chef, and then TV-host works for herself. With her own YouTube channel and a cookbook — “Honest to Goodness: Every Day Recipes for the Home Cook” — on the 2018 shortlist for Canadian cookbooks, Tizzard is showing no signs of slowing down.

“I love to teach people how to cook,” says Tizzard who is in Halifax this week to promote her book. “Teaching simple method and easy things that people can do, and one of the things I do with my recipes is I always try to put as much nutritional value into something that I can.”

Whether Tizzard is working in front of a camera or alone in her kitchen, knowing what goes into the food she makes is a top priority.

“I had my son when I was 22, and that’s when things started to really change with me food-wise,” says Tizzard. “I would go to the grocery store and look through the aisles and aisles of stuff and started reading ingredients.”

At a closer look, a lot of her favorite things to buy weren’t that hard to make.

“I just started baking from scratch.’

Through her cookbook, YouTube channel, and in her public appearances, Tizzard wants to push people toward the benefits of back-to-basics cuisine.

“Sugar and salt are in everything, so when you have absolute control over that, you realize how healthy you feel very quickly.”

Cooking from scratch is a task few people feel they have the time for, but Tizzard wants people to know that it doesn’t have to be a chore.

“Start simple, and with something that you eat regularly, and love,” she says.

For Tizzard, it was yogurt.

“I read how easy it was and I thought, ‘Why are all these people buying it?’ she says. “Now I get to skip that whole aisle when I go to the grocery store.”

Another one of Tizzard’s favorites is something that grows in abundance in the Atlantic Provinces.

“I love wild blueberries, I grew up eating them,” she says.

Tizzard recently teamed up with the Wild Blueberry Association of North America and has been extolling the benefits of this abundant Atlantic berry at farmer’s markets, and on her channel where she will take a single ingredient and show three different ways to use it in the kitchen.

“Even though you can only get the fresh for a short time in the year, you can still freeze them year-round. So, I wanted to do a little segment where I show people how to use frozen wild blueberries three different ways,” Tizzard explains.

Hence Tizzard’s YouTube channel name, “The Three-Way Chef.”

“I like to take little things like that and show an interesting twist on them just to make it a little bit more interesting and educational as well,” she says.

For someone with a self-described love affair with cookbooks and who used to watch cooking shows like “Wok with Yan” and “Emeril Live,” Tizzard has certainly risen to the standards of her culinary models. Her cookbook is on people’s shelves across the country, and her YouTube Channel gives Tizzard the chance to do what she loves without the caveats that come with a major TV network.

“I learned the most I have ever learned in my entire life during that time,” Tizzard says, thinking back to when she hosted “Best Recipes Ever.”

 “But, I had to fit into certain guidelines that represented that brand which is very outside of my typical every day personality. I’m a Newfie, I swear a lot and I don’t typically wear pink sweater-sets,” she says.

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