Cam chases kai tra­di­tions with show

South Waikato News - - Your Paper, Your Place - LUKE KIRKEBY

It’s a jour­ney of dis­cov­ery for Pu­taruru celebrity chef Cameron Pet­ley dur­ing the sec­ond sea­son of his hit Maori Tele­vi­sion show Cam’s Kai.

The 20 part show sees Pet­ley, who rose to fame as a fan favourite on sea­son two of Masterchef New Zealand, teach­ing guests se­cret fam­ily recipes as well as ex­plor­ing his favourite mar­kets through­out New Zealand.

But this time he has also trav­elled to Raro­tonga where he said he learnt not only about lo­cal cui­sine but also about the ori­gins of tra­di­tional Maori cui­sine and the cul­ture it­self.

‘‘In Toko­roa I’ve spent a lot of time with Cook Is­lan­ders and I wanted to learn more about their cul­ture but what I didn’t re­alise un­til I went to Raro­tonga was how closely re­lated Maori and Cook Is­land peo­ple are. It was a bit of a shock to the sys­tem,’’ he said.

‘‘We were there for hun­dreds of gen­er­a­tions and that’s where our dishes like ika mata, which is raw fish with co­conut cream, came from.’’

He is now work­ing on the fi­nal two episode voice overs for the sec­ond series which was made af­ter the suc­cess of the first which was one of Maori Tele­vi­sion’s high­est rating shows in 2015.

Five episodes of the sec­ond sea­son, which airs at 7.30pm ev­ery Mon­day, are based in Raro­tonga which Pet­ley said was a re­ward­ing ex­pe­ri­ence.

He has learned tra­di­tional dishes like mak­ing his own co­conut cream. He now un­der­stands the health ben­e­fits of these recipes and wants to en­cour­age other Maori and Pa­cific Is­land peo­ple to em­brace their own cuisines.

‘‘Over there they are strug­gling with West­ern food which is mak­ing them over­weight. They want to get back to eat­ing sus­tain­ably and eat­ing what their tupuna (an­ces­tors) used to eat,’’ he said.

‘‘I am also try­ing to get away from Western­ised food and go back to a tra­di­tional style of food which is always go­ing to be a slow change for peo­ple no mat­ter what but it is up to peo­ple like me to plant the seed in peo­ple’s minds.’’

‘‘Our Maori and Pa­cific Is­land cul­tures are not re­ally seen as food cul­tures, es­pe­cially our Maori cul­ture be­cause we were voy­ag­ing peo­ple, but we do have a cui­sine we just have to re­search it,’’ he said.

Pet­ley said he’s en­joyed mak­ing the sec­ond sea­son.

LUKE KIRKEBY/ FAIRFAX NZ

Pu­taruru celebrity chef Cameron Pet­ley is into the sec­ond sea­son of his hit Maori Tele­vi­sion show Cam’s Kai.

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