I’m so inspired by Charmaine Broughton’s passion for food, cooking and fitness! She’s a food media specialist who attended the George Brown Culinary Arts program. The minute she told me that she used to watch “Wok with Yan”, I knew we’d hit it off! (Anyone else remember that show?) Sit back and enjoy this energetic convo with Char!

  1. Tell us a bit more about your business.

My goal is to inspire people to get in the kitchen and cook – while enjoying every bite of what they recreate. I’m the host of three cooking shows: ‘In Char’s Kitchen’ (season 3 will begin airing September, 2021), ‘In Char’s Kitchen Quarantine Edition’ and ‘In Char’s Kitchen Fitness Edition’ (Cogeco cable).  

Thrilled to be adding cookbook author to my title! ‘Delicious & Doable ~ recipes for  real and everyday life’ will be available fall 2021.    

I also appear on a number of morning shows across the province (doing cooking segments) where I’m fortunate enough to work with some of my favourite brands while sharing my love of food, cooking and eating!! 

2. How did you get started in the media?

From a young age I was fascinated with television (and television personalities. Wok With Yan was one of my favourites – I was in awe of the way he could engage the audience while cooking/hosting). Deep down I always wanted to be on TV – but as a child growing up in the 80’s that just seemed so far out of reach.   

Early in my career I was fortunate enough to work with Dana McCauley (recipe testing and developing). Dana would often appear on morning shows (doing cooking segments). Part of my job was assisting her with prep (before segments) and helping her prop/food style in the studio. She was a regular on Rogers Daytime York Region – at the time, I too, was living in the area. After one of her segments I got chatting with the producer….and the rest ‘is history’.  

3. What was your most memorable media interview, and why? 

My first time on Canada A.M…

When I was in high school I used to skip class and would drive down to CTV (in Scarborough) to watch live tapings of the Dini Petty Show. I remember telling a friend of mine that: ‘one day, I’m going to be as famous as Dini Petty’ (bold, I know). When I arrived at CTV for my segment, I was ushered through several studios to the green room – one of those studios was where Dini filmed her show (although her show ended 15 years prior – I recognized the space immediately). I’ll never forget that moment, thinking: ‘OMG, I can’t believe I’m going to be on TV in the same building where Dini Petty filmed her show!!’ There was another memorable moment of my actual segment – see my answer below.               

4. Have you ever experienced a ‘fumble’ during an interview, and if so, how did you fix it / and what did you learn from it for next time?

Fumble is my middle, or should I say ‘first’ name…ha! I’ve had many fumbles – but here’s one of my faves.

My first time on Canada A.M. – I made a huge sandwich (like 5-inches high, huge). I cut into it, handed a piece to the host – and as my piece was heading toward my wide-open-mouth, the whole thing fell apart. It was a disaster to say the least, but I shoved what I could in my mouth and continued eating (because that’s what I would do in ‘real life’ *I never, ever waste a bite*). All the host and I could do was laugh – because it WAS hilarious. 

What did I learn from it: that was the moment when I realized – there is only one person you can be in life (on, or off of camera) and that’s 100% unapologetically yourself. 

And wouldn’t you know, that clip made the 2015 ‘Best Of/Bloopers Canada A.M. moments’.  Click here to watch  (around the 4 minute mark https://ottawa.ctvnews.ca/video?clipId=779414)

5. Can you share one tip / or a nugget of expert advice for others who would like to work / who are working in the media? 

It may take you a bit of time to get 100% comfortable in front of the camera (for most of us in the food industry who do cooking/food/nutrition segments – we have never had any formal training, or went to school for media/journalism (this is why I’m a huge fan of Media Training Bootcamp!!).

It took me a few years of doing regular segments – to show my true ‘Char’ colours. I used to get incredibly nervous before each segment and would often let my nerves steal my thunder. There were countless segments in the beginning that I did not even smile?!? But, I never gave up – and like with most things in life, the more you do something, the more comfortable you get at it. I no longer get nervous, and can confidently say sharing my passion for food, cooking and eating with an audience brings me a tremendous amount of joy!  Just hang in there, be yourself – and don’t forget to smile 🙂  

6. Is there anything else you would like to share with the readers?

In many cases you’ll be representing a brand/product. Don’t be afraid to speak up and be very clear with the PR company and/or brand contact what you are/or are not comfortable speaking about (PR companies/brands will send you a number of key messaging/talking points). Choose the messaging that works for you and YOUR brand/lifestyle.  

 For example: I always let my clients know that in most cases, I’ll bring up my family during the segment (husband, children and even my dogs!! ha!) and how much food teenage boys eat/and or the cost of feeding teens. So I choose messaging that fits with my lifestyle.   

I now only work with brands that I would use whether I was in this business or not (I understand this is 100% a personal choice). It’s much easier (not to mention: authentic) talking about a brand/product that you and your family (in my case) are familiar with/love/enjoy.         

All this loops back to ‘being exactly who you are’ – there is no better compliment than when people say to me ‘you’re exactly the same way on tv as you are in person/real life’. 

Watch one of Char’s recent media clips on CTV Ottawa here: https://ottawa.ctvnews.ca/video?clipId=2213301&fbclid=IwAR3xdLFROgHDs4wSVEvWGwIWoDQdc7gMRv1Md5YpEhF_oReFpjzLiWpA5Cs

Follow Char at:

Instagram: @Charmaine_Broughton

Facebook: Charmaine Broughton

Website: https://charmainebroughton.ca/