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National cooking show films at Easton Public Market

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Dr. John Wilson, Nicole Gaffney and Chef Mike Pichetto  on the set of “The Chef’s Kitchen” series “St. Luke’s University Health Network’s Healthy Dining” at Easton Public Market. (Photo/Wendy Solomon)
Dr. John Wilson, Nicole Gaffney and Chef Mike Pichetto on the set of “The Chef’s Kitchen” series “St. Luke’s University Health Network’s Healthy Dining” at Easton Public Market. (Photo/Wendy Solomon)

Dr. John Wilson has seen a number of chefs come through the emergency room doors at St. Luke’s-Anderson for knife cuts. But his services were not needed Thursday as he chatted with Chef Mike Pichetto, who deftly sliced and diced his way to make a healthful dish of salmon and gnocchi puttanesca during a taping of “The Chef’s Kitchen.”

The national cooking show was shooting a segment of the “St. Luke’s University Health Network’s Healthy Dining” series at Easton Public Market for the first time instead of at its studio PBS-TV39 in Bethlehem. “The Chef’s Kitchen,” which has been on air for 17 years, reaches more than 76 million households and has helped launch the careers of numerous prominent chefs.

Pichetto, who owns Easton’s Third & Ferry Fish Market and Third & Ferry Fresh Fish, maneuvered between sautéing a piece of salmon, boiling and draining a pot of gnocchi before lightly sautéing them with spinach and keeping an eye on the puttanesca sauce simmering on the back burner – all while smiling and chatting amiably with Wilson and “Chef’s Kitchen” host Nicole Gaffney for about an hour.

For the last three years, St. Luke’s has sponsored the series on healthy dining, which features physicians from the network and area chefs, said Kenneth Szydlow, vice president of marketing and public relations, who watched the taping at the market.

The series not only promotes St. Luke’s mission as a health care provider to encourage healthier lifestyles that improve community health, it also has marketing value.

“It makes our physicians appear more relatable,” Szydlow said.

The doctors enjoy being on the show, and patients often give them feedback after seeing them on the show, which is also shown in shorter segments in the waiting rooms of St. Luke’s primary care offices, he said.

Also, the dishes the chefs make on the show that are featured in their restaurants are noted on their menus as a St. Luke’s healthy fine dining dish and with a symbol of a cloche, the domed serving container.

Steven Horn, director of “The Chef’s Kitchen,” said they wanted to film part of the series in Easton Public Market because “it’s not a typical farmers market.” The vendors are of unusually high quality.

For example, chef Lee Chizmar, who owns Mister Lee’s Noodle House in the market and Bolete restaurant in Salisbury Township, is a graduate of the prestigious Culinary Institute of America, has won numerous awards and was a James Beard Award semifinalist.

Chizmar was among the five chefs who taped the segment. He was paired with Dr. Holli Warholic, obstetrician and gynecologist, who assisted with his dish of mushroom ramen by de-stemming shiitake mushrooms.

The others were Chef Josh Palmer of Sette Luna in Easton with Dr. Tiana Shekari; Chef Ryan Kor of Ocean 235 in Easton with Dr. Nicholas Taylor; and Chef Ricky Heinrichs of Spinnerstown Hotel Restaurant & Taproom in Milford Township with Dr. Francis Burt.

Horn and his staff filmed in the upscale urban market’s high-end demonstration kitchen created by Morris Black Designs based in Hanover Township, Lehigh County.

By hosting the show, Easton Public Market gets exposure, too.

“We want this to be a community gathering space. We like to think we unite people with food,” said Megan McBride, market district director of Easton Public Market.

The use of local chefs, doctors and healthy recipes “helps reinforce the local food culture in Easton,” McBride said.

The half-hour segments filmed at the market will air in late January or February. The shows also will be available online and as three-minute podcasts.

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