Once upon a time, when she was wrapping up a degree in environmental science, Ivana Borojevic (aka Eva Bee) had an idea for a show that would inspire folks to eat locally and have fun with their food.
Five years later, Eva Bee’s Jamboree was born as a web series featuring Eva in various kitchens with up-and-coming musical acts. Launched in September 2012, a new webisode goes up on the first Thursday of every month (there’s a new one on deck for today!)
Dishes prepared during each webisode offer a glimpse into the guest’s tastes while celebrating local, seasonal ingredients. The idea is to encourage people to find what’s local in their area; the environmental footprint is much lower while the quality of ingredients is much higher. Eva encourages people who are afraid to cook “because they tried it and sucked” to check out local farmers’ markets and grab what’s in season: “You don’t have to get fancy. The simpler, the better.”
This project comes to life at an opportune time. Foodie culture is flourishing, more and more of us are buying local and the internet is a wildly popular vehicle for independent productions like Eva’s.
So who is Eva Bee’s Jamboree for?
“I want to reach those who don’t really have exposure to or background in [food politics] so they can be inspired to cook locally and eat well.”
Even though the series films in Ottawa and showcases local ingredients and musicians, the show wants to emphasize that ‘local’ is wherever you are.
“It’s important to know where your food comes from. It’s not just fuel. It’s about being part of your community, a more holistic dimension to eating.”
Eva is also excited about motivating young people to get into the kitchen.
“[Youth] are old enough to pick up a knife, their minds are being broadened, they want to learn new things, but they don’t always want it to be from a preachy or educational point of view.”
Viewers of the Jamboree are also served a hearty helping of Eva’s signature quirkiness alongside each recipe. While whipping up the featured dish, Eva and her guests engage in an improv-y interview. Humour features large in the unscripted series: “I can see potential in comedic moments and I like to bring them out.”
In a sea of cooking shows, food porn and products geared toward foodies, Eva hopes to branch beyond people who love food. The Jamboree hits other notes so that fans of music, improv and even local tourism can get something from it.
Incorporating music into the show was a no-brainer for Eva. She studied classical piano and has been obsessed with pop culture for as long as she can remember. Parlaying those interests into her love of cooking just made sense: “Food sets the occasion for things. Music does too. Both are part of our every day life. Being in tune with both of those things can really enrich our lives.”
A self-taught cook, Ivana was taken under her aunt’s wing when she was found peering into the kitchen as a child. Her alter-ego, Eva Bee, was born when she launched her Ottawa catering business a few years ago.
These days, she’s the mastermind behind the popular sandwiches at Red Apron.
Eva Bee’s Jamboree is a collaboration with Luca Fiore, a freelance filmmaker (Valkaline Productions) with a forte in media tech. They are aiming to produce twelve webisodes of the Jamboree and from there, will “take a step back and see how we can grow this further”.
Don’t miss Amos the Transparent, featured on Apt613 last month, making parsnip poutine with Eva in the current episode of Eva Bee’s Jamboree, which should be live today. You can visit the Jamboree’s website, or contact her via Facebook and Twitter.