TV series explores Sask. cuisine

Documentary dedicates episodes to ingredients that represent the province, including wheat, lentils, beef and honey

Saskatchewan ingredients and cuisine are the focus of a six-episode documentary about foods and the people who grow, gather and prepare them.

“Each episode looks at an ingredient or a tradition that is quite iconic in Saskatchewan,” said Jenn Sharp, a Saskatoon-based author who hosts the mini-series.

Flat Out Food is based on Sharp’s 2020 book, Flat Out Delicious: Your Definitive Guide to Saskatchewan’s Food Artisans.

In 2018, she travelled the province to research the book about prairie cuisine and the producers and chefs involved in the ingredients and the food creations.

The food writer then teamed up with Adrian Halter of Regina’s HalterMedia to create the documentary series, which premiered Feb. 24 on CityTV Saskatchewan and streams online at citytv.com.

From wheat and lentils, to beef and honey, the series explores Saskatchewan’s diverse agriculture and local food scene.

“We’re looking at each of these unique ingredients and tracing the journey from the field or the forest, wherever they’re grown, who’s growing them, who’s foraging them, through to different artisans that are interpreting these ingredients in different ways,” said Sharp.

Elder and cultural consultant Judy Pelly talks with host Jenn Sharp. | Flat Out Food Productions photo

The series visits operations such as a grass-finished beef ranch, a regenerative grain farmer, organic heritage wheat farmer, a butcher shop and a beekeeper.

Another unique episode called ohtapamihowin, which is the Cree word for nourishment, looks at traditional Indigenous foods such as chanterelles, fiddleheads, nettles and bison.

“We go up into the boreal forest northeast of Prince Albert and forage for these mushrooms (chanterelles), learn about how these three Saskatoon chefs are using them in different ways in their menus and fermenting and serving fresh, and then have this final dinner scene with the beautiful forest jewels,” Sharp said.

“Each episode ends with a beautiful scene, with an independent chef or restauranteur (who) has created a beautiful meal to share.”

Sharp said the demand for local food has grown in the past two years, particularly in 2020, which helped shift people’s perspectives about food security and what’s important to them and to their families.

Ian Eaton, owner of Good Eat’N Honey near Hepburn, Sask., teaches host Jenn Sharp about beekeeping in Flat Out Food’s honey episode. | Flat Out Food Productions photo

“It’s the power of these stories that captured me the most, both researching the book and then filming this docu-series last summer. It’s shown me and I hope it will show viewers what we’re capable of in Saskatchewan,” said Sharp.

“How much we grow and produce here, how much we have to be proud of and how many opportunities there are to keep some of those ingredients here, add value to them here and keep some of that money that we’re exporting out in our province and build our economies.”

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