Tonawanda News


November 1, 2011

Nickel City Chef show releases book, DVD

Christa Glennie Seychew wants everyone to take notice of the food scene in Western New York. The producer of the Nickel City Chef cooking competition — think Iron Chef, the Buffalo edition — says she wants to bring awareness to local food, whether it be area farms where produce is grown, the markets and restaurants selling that food or the chefs cooking it up in the kitchens.

“My whole career started out as trying to put Buffalo’s food scene on the map,” Seychew said. “But I first needed to convince Buffalonians that we had great, fantastic, world-class food.”

That’s where the NCC challenges came into the picture. And those challenges — there have been 16 over the past three years — are being highlighted in a new book and DVD, “Nickel City Chef.”

Something between a cookbook, a source for local ingredients and a who’s who in Western New York cuisine, the book has a little bit of something for everyone, Seychew said.

“If you’re a person that doesn’t like to cook but loves to eat at local restaurants, you’ll still like the book,” Seychew said. “As the publisher (Marti Gorman) likes to say, it’s such a great book you’ll like one for your coffee table as well as one for your kitchen.”

It features 16 chapters, one for each NCC challenge that’s been held to date.

The chapters include two recipes (one from the challengers, one from defending NCC), a profile of the challenge’s secret ingredient, a full menu from each chef and a profile of the challenging chef. Area farms are also highlighted as sources of fresh produce, meat and dairy products.

“It shows the wonderful food products that are here in Buffalo that are sourced locally from farmers, (which is preferable) simply because of the freshness of it but also because it’s wholesome, it’s organic,” said John Bourdage, a NCC judge who is a wine and hospitality consultant. “People know that’s so much healthier.”

Bourdage, of North Tonawanda, says he thinks the NCC show and book are part of a growing interest in food, not just in Western New York, but across the country. He calls it a “foodie revolution.”

“I think you see far more creativity now with (food). I think the food scene has grown and with Food Network people are becoming far more aware,” Bourdage said. “People are cooking at home, trying to create different foods that they haven’t tried before.”

Bourdage — who has also worked as an etiquette specialist at Niagara University — echoes Seychew’s concern that the Buffalo culinary scene has been overlooked. He said chefs in Buffalo have a lot to bring to the table.

“I think too many times Buffalo’s been branded a rust belt city and people overlook the culinary talent we have,” he said. “I think this book would be a landmark to have a rediscovery for what’s going on.”

“Nickel City Chef” and accompanying DVD can be purchased at local bookstores, Barnes and Noble and For more information, visit www.

Text Only
  • SUN LIFE fair story 1 072714.jpg More than rides & food

    When the Niagara County Fair opens Wednesday, hundreds of people will enter the county fairgrounds in Lockport for the first of five days of exhibits, shows, rides and food.

    But what not all of the visitors may realize is that much of this summer tradition is the result of months of hard work by 4-H Club members and their leaders and families, all focused on the words of the 4-H motto: “Learn By Doing.”

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • SUN LIFE tattoo 1 072714.jpg COLUMN: Behind the tattoo gun

    Tattoos can be a touchy subject. Of course, people have heard they shouldn’t judge a book by its cover; still, people continue to report being denied jobs and being judged harshly for proudly displaying their ink.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • sig - Crib Notes 2014 RGB.jpg CRIB NOTES: No matter what, the kids just want to play the game

    At 35 years old, I may be the oldest person ever to record an out in a kids’ T-ball league.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • sig - critter companions RGB CRITTER COMPANIONS: Visiting the neighbors

    This past week, our lovely neighbors went to the beach for their annual weeklong vacation.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • SUN LIFE Open gardens 1 072014.jpg Stop and smell the flowers

    More than 90 private gardens throughout Western New York, and a number of public ones, are open to the public for select hours Thursdays and/or Fridays during July as part of the National Garden Festival’s Open Gardens program, now in its fifth year. The program is separate and distinct from local garden walks, and the gardens range from Gasport to Holland. They’re organized into districts of about five to eight gardens each, including Northtowns West (which includes gardens in Kenmore and the Town of Tonawanda) and Niagara Trail (which includes gardens in Lockport, Gasport and Lewiston).

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • SUN LIFE terrariums 1 072014.jpg For the love of nature

    Sara Johnson lives surrounded by green and growing things. Showing a visitor around her apartment in North Buffalo, she pointed out the plants in every room, the balcony and even in two small greenhouses — houseplants, flowers, vegetables, even carnivorous plants.

    "I try to keep as much growing in the house as I can," she said.

    Another goal of hers is to show others how to do the same — and to that end, Johnson is offering a series of workshops this summer in connection with her business, Sylvatica Terrariums, and Project 308 Gallery in North Tonawanda, teaching people how to bring a piece of the outdoors into their homes in the form of a terrarium or other greenery.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • SUN LIFE fresh air 1 072014.JPG Getting some fresh air

    As an effort to get children out of the big city and give them a chance to spend part of their summer playing outside, the Fresh Air Fund brings New York City kids to stay with host families for a 10-day trip to a place which is vastly different from their usually surroundings.

    “They will be running outside and playing in the grass and going swimming,” said Cheryl Flick, a fund representative of the Northern Erie and Niagara Counties chapter of the Fresh Air Fund at a picnic for the host families and kids. “They won’t be cooped up inside, they’ll be outside, getting fresh air and being active.”

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • sig - SUN LIFE double trouble 2014.jpg Still waiting for that letter from Hogwarts

    I think it’s true of many parents, that amidst the many challenges and hard work of parenting, we anticipate the day our children grow up just enough ... to like the same things we like, whether it’s as an ongoing phenomenon or a fond childhood memory.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • sig - critter companions RGB Calling all the basic locavores!

    Did you know that the suffix “vore” comes from the Latin word “voro,” which means to devour? I probably knew that once, but I should have paid better attention in my Latin class. “Vore” is used to form nouns indicating what kind of a diet an animal has, such as omnivore, carnivore and herbivore.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • SUN LIFE NT tours 071314.jpg A closer look at NT

    When Explore Buffalo Tours got started about eight months ago, the business concentrated on specialized tours designed to showcase specific aspects of the City of Buffalo’s history, architecture and culture.

    Now the organization is looking to the future and trying out ways to highlight the other unique aspects of the Western New York region. The tours change out each month, but the more popular ones will circulate back in, according to Explore Buffalo Executive Director Brad Hahn. This month it’s test-driving its “North Tonawanda: Lumber City” tour, one of only a few to take place outside the City of Buffalo. (Although a Lockport tour is in the works.)

    July 14, 2014 1 Photo