Online Show Highlights Thunder Bay Chefs’ Favourite Dishes

By Kris Ketonen

A new online show is giving Thunder Bay foodies a behind-the-scenes look at some of the city’s most popular dishes. Several episodes of Down the Hatch, a project by Thunder Bay filmmakers Damien Gilbert and Palash Bakshi, have been released on Instagram, with more in the works.

It was Bakshi who originally contacted Gilbert with the idea of doing a food show. “What my original thoughts were was that he was going to eat as well, but he’s basically just kind of documenting me eating,” Gilbert says. “And then just finding unique places around Thunder Bay.”

(L to R) William Kresky and Damien Gilbert

The show began by highlighting some of Gilbert’s favourite dishes in the city (the production has also hit the road, with some episodes filmed in Toronto). “I love eating food, and I wanted to see a few places in town that have the best food,” Bakshi says. “I knew Damien was into the food scene in town, so I was like, ‘I should just make a show out of it.’ Just have him be the host, and then he can show me places to eat, and then we’ll just make a funny show with it.”

Each episode focuses on a specific dish—for example, episodes have featured pie.ology’s mushroom swiss pie, the Sovereign Room’s fried chicken, and Bar Italia’s spicy chicken sandwich—and includes an interview with the chef about how the dish is prepared. “The main focus for each episode was not to make it a review thing,” Bakshi says. “But instead highlight or showcase just one dish that we both like.”

And while Gilbert’s contacts in the Thunder Bay food scene helped out with some of the early episodes, now restaurants are approaching Down the Hatch about being featured.
Gilbert says he believes people will be interested in finding out what sets a specific dish apart from others.

“Everyone’s had a burger, but maybe what they’re doing, the process of how they make their burgers or where they’re sourcing it, I think it’s kind of interesting,” he says. “And I’ve always been fascinated with the behind-the-scenes of any industry, so it’s kind of neat to see from that perspective.”

To watch Down the Hatch, follow @downthehatchshow on Instagram.