In late 2020, Bob Doran, New Canaan’s community public access television station (NCTV79) executive producer, teamed up with local home chef Caryn Antonini with an idea. The two worked together to combine their skills of broadcasting and cooking to celebrate New Canaan’s community, honor first responders and thank them for their tireless efforts in supporting the town throughout the pandemic.
The result is THE TOWN DISH series, scheduled to air beginning November 19 and highlighting Antonini’s kitchen adventures in which she whips up delicious meals and brings them to the police department, fire department, Department of Public Works, EMS and the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT). While at each of these locations, Antonini gets to know each service member personally and in turn introducing them to viewers. “The overriding sentiment was the commitment to helping people,” says Antonini.
Each segment in the six-part series opens with a “supermarket sweepish” feel with Antonini perusing the aisles of Walter Stewart’s, collecting ingredients needed to teach viewers how to make the meal she plans to serve. The whole process is filmed in her own kitchen, and she provides instruction and recipes for those interested in recreating the meals.
All these unsung heroes are really “people that we never want to meet, because if we do it means that there is probably a crisis,” says Doran. So, to spend time with them in a non-crisis situation and get to know them personally was the mission. Over the course of the program, viewers will meet the faces behind the badges. Tune in this month for the start of the series on cable channel 79 or on the network’s YouTube channel.
FACES BEHIND THE BADGES
A small path between Waveny Park and the high school called “Tiger’s Way,” named after Tiger Mann, director of the Department of Public Works, who has been working for the town for many years.
After 9/11, Captain Mike Socci designed and welded the sculpture that is displayed outside the fire station using steel recovered from Ground Zero. The three seagulls represent each of the buildings that were hit, and the garden below is in honor of those who died that day on Flight 93.
Community Impact Officer, Kelly Coughlin is an ex-basketball star who has wanted to be a police officer since she was little.
Stuart Sawabini, executive director of CERT has spent countless hours writing the town’s emergency preparedness plan, which allows New Canaan to get funding from the government if needed.
Jeff Deak, of the NCPD, spends extra time at Saxe Middle School during his shifts. He ensures that the grounds are safe, but also makes sure that students always have someone to talk to.
The EMS team and fire department employ high school volunteers.