It’s the time of year where we associate good food with good memories and time spent at the table with people we love, and there’s a new streamable show that examines the intersection where these things meet: “Breaking Bread with Brooke Burke,” available exclusively on Feeln, a subsidiary of Hallmark. Each 22-minute episode features Brooke Burke-Charvet (an actress and TV host you might recognize from Dancing with the Stars) in a restaurant or at a celeb’s home to discuss their favorite cooking and dining memories and experiences. Guests include Florence Henderson, Jane Seymour, Carnie Wilson, Ali Landry, and more.
“The show is much more than a cooking show and another celebrity interview show,” Burke-Charvet says. “This really is about getting to know celebrities in a different way. I take them on a walk down memory lane through their palate. The nucleus of this show is food, but it’s really about family and love and traditions. I think the show is an important reminder to hit the pause button and connect with family and friends, and it’s easy to do that over food.”
I had the chance to ask the hostess with the mostest a little more about how food is central to her own family life:
How did you become passionate about cooking?
My father was a meat and potato kind of guy. So family dinners, although they were important, weren’t always flavorful. But, I still look back and appreciate so much that we gathered together as a family at 5:00 p.m. every night. My passion for cooking began when I travelled the world for my first TV gig. I visited 40 countries and began to develop my palate and discover new flavors that I enjoyed enough to bring back to my own kitchen. I love to try to recreate dishes that I have in restaurants at home.
How does healthful eating factor into the way you cook and feed your family?
I want to take the best care of my family that I can, and I love to cook. So for me, it’s really about fresh and colorful ingredients (the most important one being love). I like to play a game with my children and remind them to eat the colors of the rainbow. And in doing that, they experiment with different fruits and vegetables. I also try to make a lot of homemade meals, which my children look forward to and count on. The fragrances from a home-cooked meal are comforting for them when they get home from school.
What’s your earliest food memory?
My mom was a working mom, and I can remember her spending hours in the kitchen on Sundays to prepare meals for our family during the week. She would make them and freeze them, but it still had Mom’s touch, even when she had to be away from the house. One of my fondest childhood memories was every year for my birthday, she would make a homemade chocolate cake. And looking back now, I know how difficult that is to do — to make a homemade double layered chocolate cake with frosting. It’s something I still try to squeeze in for my own kids and fortunately, I have teenagers that can help me do the decorating now for the little ones.
Any tips for forming new food-related memories with your family?
I always encourage my kids to taste things twice. Sometimes the shock of a new flavor will turn a child off. So we have a rule: try everything, don’t eat anything that you don’t enjoy. I also like to do theme nights, so for example, we’ll do Taco Tuesdays, and I may incorporate new sauces and salsas and new flavors and different blends of herbs with taco meat. I really encourage my kids to have fun and to enjoy trying new flavors.
Exposing them to a lot of things helps them develop their palate. I also love to dine out as much as dine in with my children. In doing that, they’re able to discover new dishes that they’ve never had at home. And it makes family meals not only meaningful, but also educational.
Catch a sneak peek of “Breaking Bread with Brooke Burke” here: