Village on a Diet’s Chef Jonathan Chovancek is Helping Canadians get Creative (and healthy) in the Kitchen

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*photo: Walter LeDaCa

The new CBC reality show Village on a Diet, part of the Live Right Now initiative, focuses on the residents of Taylor, BC, one of the unhealthiest towns in the country, as they struggle to get healthy and collectively lose one ton of weight over a three month period.

They aren’t doing it alone. Several experts have been brought in to help them improve their lives including a psychologist, nutritionist, trainers and Vancouver’s own Chef Jonathan Chovancek, who makes his debut on tonight’s show, which airs at 9pm on CBC (and on the website shortly after).

Watching the first two episodes has been an eye-opening experience. Some of the townspeople have never even purchased produce before, let alone exercised. It will be interesting to see how they respond to Chef Jonathan who will be tackling the challenge of teaching them how to make better food choices and healthier recipes at home.

The Vegan Project was delighted to get a chance to talk to Chef Jonathan about his experience with Live Right Now and Village on a Diet:

VP: How do you feel about being part of this new initiative by CBC? Why is it important to you?

JC: I am very proud of the Live Right Now project and of the work we did in Taylor, BC. Live Right Now is a way to help Canadians make healthy changes in their lives by taking little steps towards big change. Eating two vegetarian meals a week, going for a walk on your lunch break, quitting smoking, joining a gym, learning a new recipe a week and eating as a family – these are challenges that Canadians have given themselves.  The coolest part is that you are not doing it alone – you are doing it with the WHOLE COUNTRY! This is an incredible opportunity for Canada to show the world real social change.

VP: What are you personally doing to ‘Live Right Now’?

JC: My first challenge was something that I do every week; filling my refrigerator with fresh fruits and veggies. Red and green kale, radishes, broccoli, turnips, brussel sprouts, apples and mangos. This may seem normal to many people who read this but to a great majority of Canadians this is a novel thing. We live in a society which has been programed and literally brainwashed from the time we were young children to eat food from a drive though, freezer or box. My mission is to get Canadians shopping for whole, healthy foods and then show Canada how to cook them. I literally want Canada to get ‘creative in the kitchen’ every day!

VP: How do you think a making more plant-based food choices fits with the ‘Live Right Now’ concept?

JC: As a society we eat too much meat, and the quality of meat is generally from animals who have not led happy lives and have been pumped full of growth hormones and antibiotics. The meat travels long distances from were it lived to be slaughtered, processed an distributed. Looking for local sources of healthy meat is very important to our health. That said, we do not need to eat animal protein everyday! Getting creative in the kitchen and cooking recipes which use combinations of vegetables, nuts and legumes is just as delicious as eating meat and will lead to overall better health.

As consumers we need to seek out the best products whether it is beef, pork and chicken or soybeans, quinoa and almonds. If the food has been raised or grown in an environment full of poisons then you do not want to put it into your body. It is important for Canadians to support your local farmers and farmer’s markets. Buy food that is in season when you can, and when you can’t, make informed decisions about what you are feeding yourself and your family.

VP: What can you tell us about your experience on Village on a Diet? What did you take away from it? What can we look forward to?

JC: Working on Village on a Diet gave me the opportunity to do what I love most – cook and share the love of cooking and food. The opportunity to open up peoples minds to the concept of healthy cooking as a path to a long, healthy life. I will continue to work on creating recipes which are unique and delicious, but most importantly healthy! This is a dream job for me. The most amazing thing is that Taylor, BC inspired me to come up with the concept of getting Canadians creative in the kitchen and I hope to continue to spread that message.

VP: Thanks Chef Jonathan! Can’t wait to watch your debut!


  1. […] and delectable three course meal that is whipped up by a good friend of mine, the brilliant Chef Jonathan Chovancek, co-owner of Kale & Nori, a boutique style catering company. The other half of the dynamic duo, […]

  2. […] it. Plus, it’s great to have access to all the wonderfully healthy and delicious recipes Chef Jonathan Chovancek has been sharing with the […]

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