Wildcat Lake man selected to prepare recipe on KCTS

Berger -
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The heat was on and the cameras were rolling.

Jeff Berger of Wildcat Lake had eight minutes to create his dish of stir fry orange pork with vegetables during a recent live broadcast of KCTS Cooks: More Favorites.

An avid viewer of the public network, Berger decided to submit his recipe. He was selected along with 11 other viewers to prepare their specialty dishes on air. Although he has submitted recipes in the past which were featured in the station’s cookbooks, this was the first time Berger was provided the opportunity to create his recipe on television.

“Being able to share my recipes, that’s what I like the most,” he said.

Viewers still have a chance to watch the broadcast featuring Berger. It will be replayed from 2 to 6 p.m. today on Seattle’s KCTS station Channel 9. Berger will be on-air at about 4 p.m. The program also will be featured at 12:30 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 12 and Tuesday, Dec. 13.

“It’s always a little weird seeing yourself on television,” he said. “But you pick up on things that you were told to do or not to do on-air.”

Berger’s stir fry orange pork with vegetables also will be included in KCTS’s Favorite Recipes 2 cookbook which Berger says is expected to be available in the next month from the station for about $60. It also can be ordered when the program airs again, he said.

“Over 400 recipes will be in the cookbook,” he added.

His featured recipe was actually a dish that he came up with only two weeks before he went on the show. He even added some local fare into the recipe with the house special fried rice from the Mandarin Chinese Restaurant in Silverdale.

“I’ve eaten there for years, they do no MSG in their food and it’s really good authentic chinese cooking,” he said.

The program, which initially aired in November, was an all-day process, according to Berger. He arrived at the station in the morning and was given time to prepare prior to going on-air. Because of the limited amount of time given to prepare the dishes, he was sure to slice and dice ahead of time. Once he got to making the dish, he says, he wasn’t nervous about being on television.

“You go on and you’re so focused on doing your recipe that you don’t have time to look at yourself on the monitor,” Berger said.

It was at the end of the program that he says was one of his favorite moments.

“All the recipes come back to a big room and you get to taste everything,” he said.

For Berger, cooking has been a lifelong love and was something he learned at a young age.

“My mom was a single parent, she made sure (my brother and I) knew how to cook, she made it fun,” he said.

He adds that later on in life, the more interested he got in wine the more he got into gourmet cooking.

“It’s something that’s fun,” he said. “I like good food and I like good wine.”

Having just retired in April from the Washington State Liquor Control Board after 31 years, Berger is now able to find more time for cooking, which means more time for new recipes.

“I’ll probably keep submitting (recipes) as long as I’m able,” he said with a smile.

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