Tourism PEI cooks up a show

The government organization has signed up famous TV chef Michael Smith for a cooking show featuring the province's famous potatoes, mussels, lobsters and oysters.

Tourism PEI has tapped local talent, chef Michael Smith, to promote the region with a new 24-episode web series called Food Country.

The tourism bureau’s food-related wing, the Culinary Alliance of Prince Edward Island, released the first episode at an event Friday in Charlottetown, with the following episodes to be released each Tuesday on the Food Country website.

Food Country is meant to highlight the culinary charms of the island and inspire foodies in Ontario, Quebec and the eastern seaboard of the US to visit, says Sebastian Manago, director, culinary, Tourism PEI.

‘We’re a small province, with a small budget for advertising and marketing, so we have to do something interesting,’ he says. ‘We can’t just buy straight-out ads, we’re not going to make a big impact when we do that, and we need to get the message out that Prince Edward Island is a great place to visit and it’s a great place for culinary tourism and foods.’

Without a large budget, Tourism PEI is relying on social networks, PR and word-of-mouth to promote Food Country.

The show will alternate formats throughout its 24 episodes, with Smith in the field visiting farms and gardens to collect and learn about ingredients for half the shows and in the kitchen cooking with those ingredients for the other half.

Smith, famous for his several TV shows and bestselling cookbooks, is also the official food ambassador of PEI and the host of the province’s Fall Flavours Festival.