SHANE DELIA & THE SECRET POLICE
Shane Delia’s Moorish Spice
Journey takes the Melbourne celebrity chef from the Sahara Desert to Andalucia.
Have you had any confronting experiences making the show? The most confronting thing was when we were in Iran. There was one instance where we shot with a mother and two daughters in a park — absolutely beautiful, great people. Later on in the day we were confronted by some secret police who wanted to see everything we were doing and they had a look on my personal camera. There was a photo of me, I had my arm around the mum. And he lost his absolute load and came at me, wanted me to delete all the photos, he wanted to confiscate my phone … he was saying ‘you cannot put your hands around our women!’ What was funny is these were women who’d had plastic surgery, they weren’t exactly veiled women— they wanted you to look at them!
With the show now screening in 160 countries have you found yourself recognised in strange places? I’m not Russell Brand where I walk down the street and girls chase me! When we were filming in Spain we were sitting in a little tapas bar and an Italian guy came up and said to me ‘I watch your show in Italy and I love your show, can I have a photo?’ And it was so flattering. Generally it’s Aussies, who come up to you and say: ‘Oh Shane howyagoin’, you shooting Spice Journey?’ We had heaps in Turkey.
What have you learnt about the importance of food to different cultures? When you travel through the Middle East — particularly areas that are considered to be second world or third world, that aren’t all about the hottest new restaurant to eat in— they’re about dishes from a community and they want to share them with you. They invite you into their home, they share with you the one loaf of bread that they have and the dish which is farmed from their region. That’s humbling.
How long do the three dishes you cook each episode stay on your Maha restaurant menu? The show will air on Thursday, they’ll hit the menu on Sunday and stay on until the following Sunday. We ask customers to tweet us during the show what their favourite dish is and at the end of the year we get the top 10 and do a dinner around that and it’s always a sell out.
Where to next for Spice Journey? I’m hoping to maybe go to the south of India because when people think of spice they think of Indian cuisines and we haven’t been there. In Australia people think of Indian as one cuisine — butter chicken and lamb rogan josh — but I’d love to get over there and show it’s really diverse regional cuisines and there’s really amazing vegan food. And talk about the spice trade. SHANE DELIA’S SPICE JOURNEY, SBS, THURSDAY, 8PM
Shane Delia found the hospitality of his hosts a humbling experience.