The Good Cooks' Journeys

Date released
01 November 2018
Publication Code


Cook like the locals in Vietnam, Fiji, Indonesia, Philippines, Tanzania and Mozambique.

Australians’ love of food has become part of our national identity. It has inspired the development of new agricultural industries, which thrive despite the growing challenges of managing the soil and water resources of our ancient dry continent—against the backdrop of an increasingly variable climate.

In many ways, our inspiration for Australian cuisine has come full circle. Modern Australian menus feature uniquely Australian flavors that reflect our colourful history incorporating the bush tucker of our first peoples, grains of the northern hemisphere brought here by early colonists and vegetables introduced by Chinese gold-rush era immigrants who established some of our first market gardens.

Along with the rest of the developed and developing world, we face the new nutritional and health challenges posed by the proliferation of fast food outlets and supermarkets full of processed and prepackaged meals.

In response, we hunger for fresh, clean ingredients that are nutritious and tasty, as well as coming from sources that use sustainable practices, protecting our precious land and water resources. Australian agriculture has continually adapted to these challenges and responded with innovations in both technique and technology that have driven agricultural revolutions at home here in Australia and in many parts of the developing world.

The Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) has for the past 36 years played a brokering role in taking Australian agricultural know-how to developing countries on behalf of the Australian Government. Our projects involve investment in research projects of various scales, which are designed to suit local conditions, bringing multiple benefits to local communities whilst building economically and environmentally sustainable industries.

The Good Cooks showcases the results of ACIAR’s work through taking each of our six cooks on a unique paddock-to-plate experience in locations that are off the beaten track. Our Good Cooks all learned much about the role that international agricultural research is playing in working with local communities to make a real difference to the lives of the families and farmers who are growing food in some of the most vulnerable and challenging environments in the world.

These cooks have shared their journeys with you on screen—and now they are sharing their experiences and recipes with you in this booklet. Each recipe has been adapted to ensure that it can be recreated in any Australian kitchen, whilst keeping the essence and
the uniqueness of the original.

Along with our Good Cooks, we hope you enjoy these recipes and the short stories about the provenance of each recipe and the fresh ingredients that resulted—in one way or another—from an ACIAR agricultural research project. We are sure you’ll agree it’s where agricultural science and culinary creativity come together in kitchens around the world.