Arts & Entertainment

Locally Produced ‘Culture Kitchen’ Serves Pannekoeken on Ville TV

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"Culture Kitchen" producer Stephanie Peterson, at left, pauses during filming with guest chef Hayden Meulenberg wearing the chef's hat and his parents, Michiel and Karen. Credits: Courtesy of Stephanie Peterson
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SOMERVILLE, NJ - Guess who’s coming to dinner – a cameraman with a sound man in tow, boom mikes, klieg lights and a local producer with a big city background in network TV.

Somerville resident Stephanie Peterson is the originator and producer of “Culture Kitchen,” which will premiere its second episode on Sunday, Dec. 6 at 7 p.m. on Somerville’s local cable access station Ville TV.

What’s on the menu? Pannekoeken.

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Guest chef is six-year-old Hayden Meulenberg, a first-grader at Van Derveer School who puts on a chef hat and apron and learns how to prepare the traditional Dutch pancake with guidance from his parents, Michial and Karen in the kitchen of their Somerville residence.

What we put on our tables at home and eat for dinner is reflective of who we are, how we grew up and where we come from, according to Peterson.

“Culture Kitchen” is a celebration of the diversity within our community,” Peterson said. “We’re trying to get families to share recipes that have been passed down through the generations that are indicative of their native homeland.”

During the episode, the Meulenbergs talk about growing up in Holland and their son looks for answers to trivia questions about Holland from his friends.

A school project with her sons sparked the idea for the show.

“The kids were all excited about trying a recipe and taste foods from different countries,” she explained. “It was a great way for kids to experience a different culture through food. I thought ‘what if kids got in to the kitchen with recipes that were passed down through their families.’ It’s a way to really connect with your children, your family heritage and share it with your friends.”

That’s the final segment of the show – the young chef shares his Pannekoeken with friends in the Meulenberg’s home while Peterson asks their opinions about the dessert dish.

The first episode of “Culture Kitchen,” filmed in June, featured a family from the Dominican Republic and a recipe for rice pudding. Peterson had help from a faculty member and students from Raritan Valley Community College producing that show.

“Culture Kitchen” will be broadcast daily over the next two weeks at a different time each day on Verizon FIOS Channel 30 and Cablevision Channel 15. The broadcast schedule is listed on the Ville TV website, www.somervilletv.com.

The Somerville Business and Professional Association provided funding for the latest episode, and Peterson is hoping to find more sponsors for future episodes.

“A 30-minute show is costly,” Peterson said. “I would love to find someone that would fund the project. I want to continue doing it but there are only so many favors you can call in. “As more people view it I hope they will see the value in it and then hopefully the resources will come about.”

Peterson is looking forward to more episodes of “Culture Kitchen.”

“We are looking for families interested in working with us,” she said.

She promises that the next episode will feature a dinner recipe to offset the abundance of sweet desserts in the first two episodes.

Peterson agrees there is something to be said about a balanced diet.

“Yes, there will be a dinner dish next time,” she said.

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