A new TV cooking competition is underway: Plate of Origin. We asked judges Matt Preston, Manu Feildel and Gary Mehigan to tell us more about world cuisine.
Q: What’s special about this cooking competition?
Manu: "It’s like the Olympics of cooking – 10 teams of two, 10 different countries and 10 different cuisines."
Gary: "Plate of Origin is a celebration of who we are as Aussies, from all walks of life, from every corner of the planet. Expect lots of fun, joy and pride in who we are and where we’re from."
Matt: "No one has ever taken 10 teams representing some of the best food on the planet and asked them to show us why their cuisine is best. This series showcases great home cooking to inspire you to try these dishes in your kitchen."
Q: What do you think team sport and cooking have in common?
Matt: "Whether it’s cooking in a team or playing sport in a team, the pressures and responsibilities are similar. People support competitors in cooking shows in the same way they do their sporting teams."
Gary: "Pride, passion, the weight of expectation, representing your country and the desire to win! Just like athletes, our teams are racing against the clock in the heat and stress of the kitchen."
Q: What can viewers learn from the contestants?
Matt: "Age-old family tips and tricks for delicious dishes that you may not have tried before and the importance and value of respecting where you come from. Plus, I believe that food and cooking is a wonderful route to cultural understanding."
Gary: "We hope this competition stirs some emotion, creates some friendly rivalry and gets everyone cooking even more. Maybe something familiar and much loved, maybe something a little different or, even better, something entirely new."
Q: Which of the cuisines featured on the show will be the next big trend in home cooking?
Manu: "I’ve loved every cuisine featured on the show, but Vietnamese is the one I want to know more about."
Matt: "The food of Venezuela and Cameroon are lesser known, so people will be hankering to try some of their dishes. The beauty of Plate of Origin is that every team will show you something you haven’t seen before and that you’ll want to try at home."
Q: Which of the cuisines do you think is the easiest for beginner cooks to get right?
Manu: "I’d say Italian – it’s a simple cuisine based on amazing ingredients and it’s absolutely delicious."
Matt: "Italian, Greek, or Australian cooking because the techniques are largely straightforward."
Q: Which of the cuisines do you cook most often at home?
Gary: "I cook a lot of Vietnamese, because I love the sweet and sour flavours with lots of aromatic herbs and crunchy textures. Indian features a lot in my house too – I enjoy the riot of spices and complexity, from very fresh and light to rich and luscious."
Q: Manu, what do you wish people knew about French food?
Manu: "I’d love people to realise that there’s more than the obvious rich food in France. There are also light and delicate dishes."