No, you really must try this, Maeve O’Meara insists as she leans across her coffee table and tears apart a Turkish sweet, pismaniye, before pouring another cup of sweet apple herbal tea.
When the TV food guru makes a culinary suggestion, it is wise to follow her advice. And on this occasion, she is right again -“ the Turkish sweet is a true delight.
O’Meara is in her element as she speaks about food, something she has been doing as both a TV presenter and magazine writer for over a decade.
But as she chats with the Star in the living room of her north shore home about her latest TV venture, SBS’s new Food Safari, she admits the new series is something of a labour of love -“ and not only because it is all about food.
She says what she loves about the series is embracing the cultures of the many nationalities living within our city.
We are so blessed to be living in a country like this which is made up of the influences from so many other countries, O’Meara says.
What I hope this series can do, through food, is help with a better understanding of the people who have come here and what they have left behind. But also, the richness of their own cultures they have brought with them.
I am from a very Irish background, but I think what I am really is a Greek, Lebanese, Turkish wannabe at heart.
Food Safari is a 13-part series which explores in each episode how to cook one specific cuisine with authentic results from the people who know best -“ the immigrants who cook this way every day.
Some of the cooks are among the city’s top chefs, others are in the suburban restaurants of the city’s various ethnic cultural centres while others are O’Meara’s friends who are passionate home cooks.
Among the cuisines explored in Food Safari are Moroccan, Malaysian, Vietnamese, Turkish and Mexican.
For someone who has made a career out of working with food on TV, O’Meara says Australians have a passion for how food is presented.
There is a term for it -“ it’s known as -˜TV gastro porn’, she laughs. It is that thing that sells food, that close-up of the little drizzle of sauce coming down a perfectly cooked cake onto a strawberry that makes you want to bite into it.
Food Safari screens from 6 December at 7:30pm on SBS TV.