Maeve O’Meara is playing with fire in her latest series of Food Safari. The show is now in its seventh season and this time around its dedicated to “fire”, that is braising, steaming, smoking, grilling, roasting and barbequing using fire, wood, charcoals and different ovens. The show is ultimately a visceral one that is brimming with recipes from all around the world and includes lots of different techniques and tools, some of which have been passed down for generations.
O’Meara is a vibrant and enthusiastic host who has honed her experience over two decades of presenting food shows. She also picks a number of interesting guests including top-class chefs like Tetsuya Wakuda, Guy Grossi, Cheong Liew, Somer Sivrioglu and Frank Camorra. It’s funny that in a number of cases the chefs take a back seat and almost have to be apprentices when their parents are the ones cooking. It proves that the techniques are old and practiced ones that are well-revered. It also means that age definitely comes before beauty in this instance.
Two episodes of this series are dedicated to the wood fire oven and the tandoor oven, respectively. In the former we see award-winning margherita pizza being made as well as whole baked fish and Greek filo pie. In the latter it’s all about aromatic prawns, spicy kebabs, tandoori chicken and different sorts of flatbreads including naans and Afghan or Persian bread.
The other instalments include ones dedicated to Asian and American barbeques (where the technique “low and slow” is preached) as well as street foods and different smoking and grilling techniques. In episode one we learn from Firedoor Chef, Lennox Hastie about how different kinds of woods used in the cooking process can help perfume the food and create subtle differences in the flavour. But perhaps the most fun and interesting segment is watching Jerry Uesele and his extended family cooking in a traditional Samoan Umu oven. The way they make caramel using volcanic rock is ingenious.
The special features on the DVD are very disappointing and are just two segments/recipes that failed to make the final cut. While these look tasty (a grilled fish in banana leaf with a tamarind salsa and a suckling pig cooked in a caja china) it would have been better to see more behind-the-scenes stuff. The program is an engaging one and these finishing touches would have helped with the overall presentation to ultimately make a better collection.
Food Safari Fire is a warm and informative program that features some passionate home cooks and chefs in a series that is perhaps their most sensual, raw and mouth-watering one to date. The recipes cover a lot of different cultures and techniques but predominately include preparing meats, breads and fish. In all this is an understated food/cooking program that celebrates the simple pleasure of cooking with the powerful medium known as fire. It’s a good throwback to ancient times and it’s a fun way to reconnect with your food.
Originally published on 5 March 2016 at the following website: http://www.impulsegamer.com/food-safari-fire-dvd-review/
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