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The Good Cooks Episode Five: Tanzania with Mark Olive

Mark Olive cooking under boab in Tanzania with Angelina and Wende

In episode five of ‘The Good Cooks’, Aussie chef, Mark Olive, travels to Tanzania to learn how ACIAR is helping protect village chickens from disease and to learn how to cook chicken the Tanzanian way. 

In Tanzania, animal proteins and the amino acids and micronutrients they provide are as scarce as they are essential. The village chickens are a vital to villages, not just for their meat and eggs but as a source of income, as a stepping stone to other livestock and for their manure to enrich vegetable crops.

However, a deadly virus called Newcastle Disease can wipe out whole flocks of chickens, creating food insecurity in what are already some of the poorest communities in the world. Children are particularly at risk as, in Tanzania, over 40% of under-fives experience stunted growth.

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Mark Olive learning how to cook a Tanzanian chapatti recipe with Raffa
Mark Olive learning how to cook a Tanzanian chapatti recipe with Raffa

The only vaccine against Newcastle Disease required refrigeration—and there are no fridges in most villages. So ACIAR brought together a team of scientists to develop a thermostable eye-drop vaccine that’s both heat tolerant- and easy to administer. Since its development in the 90’s, the vaccine has transformed the lives of entire communities by safeguarding both the chickens and the children’s diets.

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Mark Olive in Sanza Village with his chefs and some members of the community
Mark Olive in Sanza Village with his chefs and some members of the community

In this episode of ‘The Good Cooks’, Thursday 8.30 on SBS Food Network, Aussie chef, Mark Olive, travels to Tanzania to learn how Australian agricultural know-how is improving Tanzanian village life and to learn how to cook like a local in a make-shift kitchen under a giant boab.
Mark Olive
Mark Olive, aka ‘The Black Olive’, has been a chef for over 25 years and has become a well-known Australian celebrity with his charismatic style and creative approach to food, starring in his own television series ‘The Outback Cafe’ and a host of cooking, lifestyle and travel shows nationally and globally. Mark’s passion for fusing native food and culture with contemporary lifestyle cooking has led to a huge international profile specialising in gourmet Australian Indigenous cuisine. 

Recently he’s been a judge alongside Dan Hong and Melissa Leong on the successful series on SBS The Chefs’ Line which brings home cooks and seasoned chefs together making some delicious dishes followed by a new short series on NITV as a celebrity chef on the series “On Country Kitchen”.

As a Bundjalung man, Mark’s family originated from the Northern Rivers region in NSW. Born in Wollongong he became interested in cooking as a child, watching his mother and aunts prepare meals. He trained under a European chef and has worked in a number of kitchens ranging from theatres, universities, health services, film sets and in a lá carte restaurants around the globe, before establishing his own successful business in 2008 which operated till 2014.

With thanks to the community of Sanza Ward, Manyoni District in Central Tanzania, Manyoni District Council, Singida Region, Tanzania, Tanzanian Veterinary Laboratory Agency and The University of Sydney.

For more information on the ACIAR research project visit: Strengthening food and nutrition security through family poultry and crop integration in Tanzania and Zambia