"Seafood is definitely the protein of the future and to see the way the world's cuisines use this wonderful food in so many inventive ways is nothing short of dazzling. Food lovers will adore the inventiveness and many lightbulb culinary moments, and everyone will love the colourful cast of characters and celebration of multicultural Australia!" – Maeve O'Meara
SBS's much-loved food series, Food Safari, returns in a wave of glory to explore the bounty of the water, both salt and freshwater.
Hosted by Australia's empress of food television, Maeve O'Meara, Food Safari Water is a vibrant 13-part series that serves up an abundance of multicultural seafood recipes and cuisines, traditions and tastes. It seems every country on earth does something inventive and delicious with seafood, and all of it can be found here in Australia.
Now in its 12th year on SBS, the latest stimulating series not only showcases the diverse seafood dishes of the world, it dives deep into the customs of catching and preserving fish, shellfish, crustaceans and sea vegetables. It's also a celebration of the hardworking fishermen and women, divers and foragers, processors and smokers as well the brilliant chefs and home cooks who share their treasured recipes and techniques.
The Food Safari magic that SBS viewers have come to love, continues – showcasing cuisines as diverse as Senegalese, Sri Lankan, Greek, Spanish, Peruvian, Lebanese, Turkish, Thai, English and Brazilian.
Take a journey with Maeve as she unearths Peter Conistis's signature scallop and taramasalata moussaka; Frank Camorra's mastery of Spanish seafood tapas; a masterclass on how to cook fish with Australia's top seafood chef Steve Hodges; and the heart-beat-faster excitement of the mullet run, up Australia's east coast with Giovanni Pilu.
SBS Director of Television and Online Content, Marshall Heald, said:
"We're thrilled to be bringing back one of Australia's most iconic food programmes. Food Safari Water is a visual delight featuring world-class chefs and the best cooks of multicultural Australia."
"Fear of fish can afflict even the most confident cook. Food Safari Water presents seafood via practical, healthy recipes that are approachable and attainable. Whether it's showcasing recipes that have been handed down over generations or multicultural dishes with a twist using local ingredients, Maeve O'Meara is the perfect tour guide for this flavourful voyage to some of our country's most beautiful destinations."
"Maeve's appetite for adventure and knowledge of these quintessential seafood dishes is evident during her travels, as she gives Australians a front row seat to all the deliciousness and fun."
"Our research showed a vast number of seafood recipes across the cuisines of the world but putting the episodes together and seeing the stories and the dishes come together gave us goosebumps – this is one of our very best Food Safari series!" – Maeve O'Meara
Food Safari Water airs Wednesdays at 8.00pm on SBS from 1 August.
Episodes will be available after broadcast anytime, anywhere, on your favourite device via SBS On Demand.
Recipes from the series will be available anytime, anywhere, for free via SBS Food Online
Join the conversation #FoodSafari and @SBSFood
Question: What should audiences expect from Food Safari Water?
Maeve O'Meara: Food Safari Water is like diving into a wave at the beach …it's refreshing and unexpected and full of delight. It's one of the most comprehensive series ever made based on the produce of the water - seafood, sea vegetables, crustaceans, freshwater fish and eels…and with recipes and tricks and tips from cuisines from around the world… it's a visual delight and populated with a vibrant cast of characters from tops chefs to homecooks, fishermen, divers. It's full of delicious moments, wide blue horizons, pretty cool music and celebrates multicultural Australia. You can tell we are proud of this series!
Question: What did you learn whilst on set for Food Safari Water?
Maeve O'Meara: My learning curve was surprisingly steep. I thought I knew fish and seafood and enjoyed many recipes but nothing prepared me for the bounty and the sheer deliciousness of what we've found from our network of cooks and chefs. One big lesson - we overcook fish - I've tasted it just as the protein sets and it's a completely different taste and texture…especially good when you have really fresh produce to start. One of our Japanese chef friends told us how healthy he feels when he eats eel …and I'd have to say I felt healthier and lighter in the 12 month period that we shot this series. I've also learnt about secondary species - the less well known fish that are just as delicious and heaps cheaper; that fish have seasons - actually winter is the peak time for fish in Australia.
Question: How can we embrace seafood, in Winter?
Maeve O'Meara: Winter is the best time to enjoy seafood. I can't count the number of times I've made Steve Hodges' simple mirror dory, dusted with rice flour, cooked simply and quickly in a pan with a simple salad. It's healthy, it's the perfect meal! Winter is a perfect time to enjoy easy fish curry - our chef friend Jimmy Shu's lemongrass and coconut milk very made with fresh barramundi is superb; weekend bunch of the Vietnamese showstopper yellow pancake banh xeo with prawns and pork and fresh herbs is a delight; a pot of steaming Belgian mussels and crusty bread is healthy and indulgent at the same time; and one of my big favourites - the Peruvian seafood stew parihuela - abundant, delicious and its said to have magic powers too! Plus the bigger fish that are at their best in winter like kingfish make the very best crudo - the Italian style sliced raw fish.
Question: What are the physical and mental benefits of seafood?
Maeve O'Meara: Benefits : So many cooks and chefs talked about how much better they felt on a diet that contained more seafood. One Croatian chef friend lost 25 kilos movie from eating meat to seafood…and he looks great – really vibrant and healthy. For me, I've just naturally wanted to test all the recipes we filmed (also for cookbook coming out in October) so I've been eating more seafood and really feel the difference. In terms of being kind to the planet, there's nothing better for the environment - or your body - than sustainably caught fish, farmed mussels, wild gathered scallops or pipis….the list is endless.
Question: Which of the dish showcased on Food Safari Water holds the most memories, for you?
Maeve O'Meara: Most memorable - like trying to choose a favourite child. There's just so much - from bite-sized deliciousness like Spanish sardines or lovely Thai flathead served on betel leaf to the light delicious kokoda of the Pacific, using sliced raw fish in the purest just squeezed coconut milk with chilli and lime.. I really love chef Frank Shek's cheat's version of sous vide cooking of abalone - sealing a zip lock bag with spices and a little oil to simmer in a pot to beautifully tender and then serving in a stupendous omelette with Asian mushrooms - all achievable in a wok and incredibly delicious …and the best abalone I've ever eaten, I love getting tips and tricks from chefs and de-mystifying dishes - I think that's what Food Safari does best - showing people how easy it is to make great food.
Interview by Brooke Hunter