Geelong Advertiser - TV Guide

Dinner date

Chef Adam Liaw is back with a fourth season of prolific foodie program The Cook Up. With 400 episodes and counting, he shares the secret to the show’s success with Lauren Mitchell


THE kitchen is often billed as the heart of any home, so it should be no surprise that guests are clamouring to get into Adam Liaw’s kitchen on The Cook Up, even after three seasons and 400 episodes.

“We don’t have to chase anyone,” Liaw laughs.

“People are contacting us all the time saying ‘It’s my dream to be on The Cook Up, can we please get on?’”

Among the lucky guests joining Liaw on the convivial cooking show this time around are chefs Ben Shewry and Colin Fassnidge, fashion designer Colette Dinnigan and music journalist Zan Rowe.

“For years we’ve been trying to get [Attica owner] Ben Shewry,” Liaw says.

“He was, I think one of my real favourites this year because you know, we’ve been trying to get him for so many years, since we started essentiall­y, but the schedules just haven’t really worked out.

“And then finally, having him on the show this year was really great. You know, [he’s] probably the best chef in Australia. And you get to see how he makes a spaghetti bolognese.

“Attica is a fine-dining restaurant, but he was really excited about it. He spent quite a long time thinking about bolognese and how to get the best out of it.”

In addition to foodie friends, entertaine­rs and sportspeop­le, this year Liaw was able to get one of his idols on the show.

“Elizabeth Chong was someone who I was really excited to get on the show,” he enthuses.

“I don’t know if people remember her from the Bert Newton show [GMA], but I used to watch that growing up ,and there was Elizabeth Chong making dishes every morning and [she was] really one of the earliest food influences for me. To be there cooking with people like her and Gabriel Gaté, it’s just such a fun show to make.”

The Cook Up’s focus on fast, delicious meals to share with friends and family is one of its many strengths. Viewers are unlikely to see the sort of fine-dining fare that they might expect from a MasterChef winner, but that’s fine by Liaw.

“The feedback I get from people who watch the show is it’s these little tips – how to hold a knife, or at what point do you take the pasta out of the water, those kinds of things –that genuinely improve people’s cooking,” he says.

“I get so many messages from people saying, ‘This is the one show that has genuinely improved my cooking. Of all the cooking shows that I’ve been addicted to for my whole life, this is the one that has made me cook better’. And that’s so gratifying to me.”

■ The Cook Up with Adam Liaw, weeknights, 7pm, SBS Food and SBS On Demand

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