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Australia is a country that chews up and spits out cooking shows year after year in search of cutting-edge culinary entertainment. Whether it’s competitive or informative – if there’s someone wearing an apron, turning on a timer or a lifting a cloche we’ll tune in – and these shows are some of the best gastronomical programs on the goggle-box.
Since 2009, Channel 10 has dished out eight seasons and five spinoffs of the Logie Award winning show Masterchef. Inspired by the British version, Australia’s Masterchef is screened across five nights, with the top 24 contestants battling through pressure tests, immunity challenges and elimination rounds until the single, best home cook is left standing. Winners receive $250,000 plus a monthly column in the magazine Delicious. Judging the food are Gary Mehigan, George Calombaris and food critic Matt Preston who is never without a colourful cravat.
MKR, also known as My Kitchen Rules, sees pairs of everyday Aussies from different states inviting opposing teams – along with judges Peter Evans and Manu Feildel – into their own homes for a three-course meal. Each dish is then scored, with the losing team facing elimination. The show premiered in 2010 on the Seven Network and has spawned copycat shows in New Zealand, Russia, Serbia, Britain and the United States. MKR has been nominated for five Logies, winning in the Most Popular Reality Program category.
Since 2006 presenter Maeve O’Meara has brought SBS and Lifestyle viewers along for tasty tours of global cuisines on Food Safari. Across five seasons, O’Meara has eaten her way through 32 cuisines including Moroccan, Lebanese, Croatian, Brazilian, Egyptian, Danish and more. Each episode typically starts with an explanation of ingredients and where to source them in Australia, before viewers meet a person from that nation who guides O’Meara and the viewer through popular recipes. Season five differs in that the focus is on cooking methods rather than cuisines. Spin-offs include Italian Food Safari and French Food Safari.
Author, chef, and owner of restaurant Red Lantern is Surrey Hills; Luke Nguyen took viewers on a culinary journey through Vietnam in Luke Nguyen’s Vietnam which broadcast on SBS One. From Saigon to World Heritage-listed Hoi An through to Hanoi, Sapa and Mai Chau, Luke invited viewers to meet his extended family, while sharing some of his favourite recipes – all of which can be downloaded here. The show spanned two seasons.
One of Australia’s most beloved daytime TV personalities, chef Iain Hewitson – better known as Huey – has been cooking on Australian television since the early 90s and in 2010 his most recent show Huey’s Kitchen premiered. Huey presented ‘simple yet special recipes’ in various scenic locations with the aim of educating home cooks both young and old. The show ran for four seasons and repeats occasionally air.