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.

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