Heartfelt Reality TV

Minna Waldeck with chef Jonathan Scinto and Kate Merker. Independent/Courtesy ‘Family Kitchen Revival’

There’s no better time to be thankful than during the holiday season. In the new reality show “Family Kitchen Revival,” Long Island celebrity chef Jonathan Scinto is bringing families together over a warm meal to show gratitude and appreciation.

Produced by Tough Monkey Entertainment, Amazon Prime, and Roku both premiered the eight-episode season in November, featuring eight families from Nassau and Suffolk counties. Each 22-minute episode showcases a personal story about struggle and love, shared over a family inspired recipe created by Chef Scinto, formerly on “Chopped” and “Master Chef” and third-place winner in Walmart’s World Food Championship.

In Episode 2, “An Unimaginable Thanksgiving,” Minna Waldeck of Wading River mourns the loss of her son, Michael, who took his own life several years ago. During the show, Waldeck finds comfort and happiness with her son’s favorite holiday meal surrounded by those who helped her through the grieving process, a lifelong battle for any parent who lost a child. Chef Scinto is assisted by Kate Merker, chief food director of Good Housekeeping Magazine.

The season finale, “In the Spirit of BBQ,” was filmed at the non-profit Spirit’s Promise Horse Rescue center at Blossom Hollow Ranch in Riverhead. Founder Marisa Striano talks about her diagnosis with breast cancer and undergoing a double mastectomy.

“Breast cancer was a gift wrapped in sandpaper,” Striano said at the start of the episode. She thanked those who helped keep Spirit’s Promise operating during her recovery and the episode features both family and volunteers participating in a ranch-style BBQ with a special Spirit’s Promise burger.

Ultimately, “Family Kitchen Revivial” is a show about bringing people together over a dinner table, and a moment of gratitude to the support system that was there when it was most needed. Chef Scinto said, “The kitchen is the heart of every family and food brings people together.”

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