Dishing out Japanese flavour
Maggie Beer with chefs and restaurant owners Kanejiro Kanemoto of Nodaiwa and Koji Fukada of Terra Australis Maggie Beer and oriental food don’t obviously go together. Beer, who lives in South Australia’s Barossa Valley, acknowledges the Mediterranean influences in her cooking. And her role as a judge on The Great Australian Bake Off would suggest other continental influences and traditional expertise.
However, apparently Beer has had a secret affinity for Japanese food and cooking methods for some time — but says she has been reluctant to try her hands at it.
This attractively produced one-hour special follows Beer from Tokyo to Osaka and into the countryside, where she encounters chefs who have cooked a single dish their whole careers, those cooking in their family homes, high-end cuisine, and everything in between. Ultimately, Beer brings home her Japanese influences and cooks a fusion-style feast for her friends.
The program coincides with more food shows on Australian TV than ever before, including the SBS Food Network and higher-end productions such as Netflix’s Chef’s Table series. (This program is produced by Lingo Pictures, which is also working on the Wake in Fright remake.)
For her part, Beer tells The Advertiser she is a reluctant star, despite appearances again this year on MasterChef. “I’m not very good at balance. I seem to take on too much. But I’m lucky I have huge energy and a family and community life that gives me amazing grounding,” she says.
“I don’t need it (TV), I have to put it aside in my life because I don’t have a lot of time for it. There is a thing about it taking over your life which I run away from.”
Viewers of this program will be pleased she yielded. Wednesday, 8.30pm, Lifestyle.