TV cook-off draws Abbotsford family

It’s West vs East as an Abbotsford family faces off against a Prince Edward Island household in a televised cooking competition.

An Abbotsford family prepares to take on their competitors in the new Canadian TV series Family Cook Off airing March 29 on Food Network. From left

An Abbotsford family prepares to take on their competitors in the new Canadian TV series Family Cook Off airing March 29 on Food Network. From left

Tyler ORTON

Contributor

It’s West Coast versus East Coast as a family from Abbotsford faces off against a Prince Edward Island household in a televised cooking competition airing March 29 on the Food Network.

Randall Peters – along with wife Heather, 16-year-old daughter Milan and 12-year-old Josie – are representing B.C. in the new TV show Family Cook Off.

Instead of professional chefs, each episode follows two average families cooking in timed head-to-head matches where judges award points to determine the winners.

“The idea was that you had to use recipes that you used before that weren’t just from a cookbook,” Randall said.

The Peters found out about the competition from a friend after another family backed out at the last minute. They had just 10 days to prepare for the culinary challenge before filming their episode on Vancouver’s seawall late last summer.

“The kids were a little bit freaking out that I said yes to it without really asking them, but they loved it. It was a really fun experience,” Randall said, adding there were some frantic moments in the days leading up to the show as the family tested recipes to make sure they’d work in the allotted 20 minutes.

Despite such a short amount of time to perfect their culinary chops, Randall said he was certain his daughters could handle the pressure of the competition due to their experiences cooking at home.

With a family of six that includes two full-time working parents, the Peters decided a few years ago that a different child needed to prepare dinner every other day.

“Kids are actually way better than you think when you give them responsibility. They’re making really cool dinners,” he said.

That doesn’t mean everything went smoothly in front of the cameras.

“When you’re in someone else’s kitchen, you have no idea how that element’s going to work or how that pan’s going to work and then you’ve got the host talking to you,” Randall said, referring to some of the difficulties his family faced making ginger beef and Asian salad rolls on TV.

“I got kind of manic, because of the time, the pressure and the pans burning stuff.”

Although it wasn’t his intention, he said his experience “in the crazy zone” resulted in a lot of laughs from the audience that gathered at the seawall to watch the competition.

Despite this, he said he wouldn’t hesitate to appear on the show again due to the positive impact it’s had on his family.