Gusto’s Cook Like a Chef to make 2020 comeback

The cooking series will return 20 years after it was first created by Gusto president and CEO Chris Knight, airing on the rebranded CTV Life channel next year.

chris-knight-headshotGusto Worldwide Media is reviving its classic cooking series Cook Like a Chef in partnership with CTV.

The 20 x 30-minute series will head into production in Ottawa this week at Gusto’s 13,000 square-foot TV studio. It is the first original series order for the rebranded CTV Life channel (formerly Gusto).

The Cook Like a Chef format, created by Gusto president and CEO Chris Knight (pictured), features four professional chefs who walk viewers through how to cook certain food items, rather than focusing on single recipes and meals. The original series spanned six seasons and 165 episodes from 2001 to 2004 on the Food Network, won a Gourmand cooking award, and was one of the channel’s early commissions.

Knight told Playback Daily he has received requests from fans of the show for years to revive it, but only in the past year did he consider the idea of bringing it back. The challenge for him was how to keep the new series look similar to the original with contemporary updates. “There was nothing like when it went to air and there still isn’t in terms of the blocking and the way the show looks,” Knight says, referring to the kitchen-less set and the fourth-wall-breaking shots of the film crew.

The changes Knight landed on are more technical and international than stylistic. The new Cook Like a Chef will be shot in 4K and incorporates cooking techniques from other regions, compared to the French technique solely used in the previous series. “We probably use half the butter we used last time,” Knight jokingly adds.

The series features four new chefs: Ottawa’s Katie Ardington, Montreal-based chefs Derek Dammann and Natalia Machado (One World Kitchen) and Toronto’s Craig Wong. Producers considered a list of factors when casting its chefs, including bringing in a more global perspective and ensuring there were an equal number of men and women. Knight says they interviewed nearly 200 chefs for the new series before landing on the chosen four.

Gusto Worldwide will also take the format to MIPCOM next month, alongside its recent series DNA Dinners, calling them “distinct and unique formats” that are a good fit to bring to the international market.

Cook Like a Chef will premiere in Canada on CTV Life channel in 2020 and will be available internationally on Gusto TV in regions such as Singapore, the U.S., the U.K. and Latin America. Knight says that the channel rebrand has not impacted Gusto’s partnership with Bell Media as the company will continue to produce new content for the broadcaster. “We’ll continue to grow the Gusto brand internationally,” he says.

Image courtesy of Gusto Worldwide Media