Tony Keats isn’t a stranger to the kitchen.
The Dover mayor can usually be found there piecing together meals for his wife Donna Gill-Keats and their family.
“I enjoy it and find it really relaxing,” said Tony.
The pair will often work together on a dinner dish most nights of the week once Keats finishes his job for the day. Donna will have some of the ingredients for that night’s meal prepared, making the transition to cook a little easier for her husband.
For the last couple of weeks their kitchen has been the world’s kitchen as Tony has been producing a regular Cooking with the Mayor Facebook segment as self-isolation has taken ahold of people’s lives. In the segment, Tony will give the recipe for a dish — his latest video had him cooking chicken tandoori on April 9 — as well as cooking instructions. When the segment appears on Dover’s Facebook page, it will include pictures and videos of Tony putting the dish together.
With each post, he encourages families to take some liberties with the recipes and not be afraid about substituting ingredients they would perfer. For the tandoori recipe, he did it on the barbecue instead of in a clay pot.
“I want people to try and reinvent (the recipes),” said Tony. “Don’t be afraid to try something different.”
Since the province enacted measures to help prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus, municipalities across the province have been filling their social media feeds with activities aimed at getting people active and children busy. During the Easter weekend, many towns organized an egg hunt for their youngest citizens and called for submissions from their residents in the form of pictures.
The cooking segment, however, evolved from an early contest Dover was putting off.
“We just thought that maybe every week we could do something for the kids and get them involved,” said Tony. “Especially get their parents involved in the activities with them too.”
Since it started on March 31, the mayor has been receiving plenty of calls from residents and other mayors saying they love idea. Some have offered recipes for Tony to try, while others have committed to cooking along with him.
His son has sent him messages about the use of the camera, which Tony does by himself most times.
For Donna, seeing her husband in the kitchen is nothing new. Sharing his cooking prowess with the social media world is a bit different, however.
“It is neat (to share it),” she said. “He really likes the feedback he has been getting.”