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Making David Suzuki Lunch (Behind the Scenes)


By Emily Ho
Looking for a dietitian to speak about healthy ageing, a producer from David Suzuki’s The Nature of Things turned to the BC Healthy Eating for Seniors Guidebook. Nicole Fetterly, a contributor/editor to the guidebook, was invited to a lunch interview on healthy ageing with David Suzuki.

Please read below for a Q&A with Nicole Fetterly about this career highlight. 

How did you feel about doing an interview with such a well-known public figure?

When I first heard about it, I couldn't believe it.  Suzuki to me is such a national hero.  He was as big to me, as a kid, as Michael Jackson and Madonna. Suzuki was somebody else I saw on TV, and really somebody who's been quite this icon for my whole life. I was definitely very excited, but nervous, and kind of honoured to have that opportunity. It definitely was a career highlight, a career milestone.

What was the most enjoyable part of the whole experience?

I really do find I get a lot of joy from feeding people. David, when he came in, was hungry. He hadn't had breakfast, and he got there after doing this Taekwondo or Karate exercise piece. The kitchen had all these nice aromas of cooking food, and he was starving. And so, forget the piece! All I had to do was get David Suzuki some food in his belly! When people are hungry, then they really need to eat instead of just having a bite for the camera or making a nice, smiley face. I think that was the best part—just seeing him appreciate the food. He really ate with relish and enjoyment and gumption.

We also got to chat a bit. He grows his own pumpkins to make his pumpkin pie. He also makes his own stuffing, and he told me his stuffing secrets. To connect with him about food in that way was really special.

What aspects of this media experience did you find challenging?

Making food, especially for somebody so renowned—I wanted it to be perfect. Prepping all that food, getting it into the kitchen, and making it on a timeline—there’s a lot of stress, for sure. (But you want to look good, so no sweating allowed!)

I was also having to work extra hours and juggle my other jobs and priorities at the same time (because I didn’t get to determine when the filming would happen). It was a big thing to fit in, but of course, worth it.

What advice would you give to others who are interested in doing media pieces?

The piece with David Suzuki was interesting because it was a food piece, and that adds a whole new dimension. You can’t prepare too much. Always better to have things completely ready and then just pretending that you’re cooking.

Be concise. Practicing is essential, but not scripting it because none of the interviewers want a script. Have confidence in yourself and know that there’s really no expectation. People don’t know if you missed something you wanted to say or if you said it in a slightly different way.

Don’t expect that it’s going to turn you into a superstar or dramatically change your career path. It’s great to have clips out there, but generally, it’s unpaid and very time-crunched, time-sensitive work.
Otherwise, I would just say, it's a great opportunity. The more that we have these features in the media, the better it is for dietitians across the country and the better it is for Canadians.

  Watch Nicole's video with David Suzuki on The Nature of Things

Emily Ho is a nutrition student studying at the University of British Columbia. She is currently pursuing a degree in dietetics and has been eager to learn more about life as a dietitian. After connecting with Lisa McKellar, she was introduced to a few dietitians and dietetics students whom she then had the pleasure to interview. She wrote these articles (based on their conversations) to shine a spotlight on the unique work and personal experiences of individuals within the dietetics community. She has enjoyed gaining a better understanding of dietetics through this project and is excited to continue exploring the dietetics profession.  

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