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‘The Good Cooks’ premieres Thursday 8 November on SBS Food

Good cooks feature image

An innovative new television series commissioned by ACIAR will premiere on SBS Food (channel 33) this November. 

The Good Cooks takes six Australian chefs to remote parts of the world to learn how ACIAR is helping improve food security through our agricultural research projects and to learn how to cook like the locals.

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.

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 pre-packaged 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.

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.

In many ways, our inspiration for Australian cuisine has come full circle. Modern Australian menus feature uniquely Australian flavours 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.

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.

For the past 36 years, ACIAR has played a brokering role on behalf of the Australian Government in taking Australian agricultural know-how to developing countries across the Indo-Pacific. 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.

For more information and to view a teaser for the series visit the Good Cooks page at aciar.gov.au/goodcooks 


An Introduction to our Good Cooks

  1. With irrepressible energy and enthusiasm, Dan Churchill a Sydney born chef, who recently opened a new restaurant in New York, travelled to the Mekong Delta of Vietnam. He tried his hand at seafood soup, rice paper rolls and even catching, filleting and cooking a local water snake. Premieres Thursday 8.30pm, 8 November, with a encore on Sunday 6.30pm, 11 November and on SBSOnDemand.
  2. As if being a mum, entrepreneur, chef and running three restaurants isn’t enough, Sarah Todd travelled to the tourist hub of the South Pacific, Nadi, Fiji to explore the fledgling tropical fruit industry being helped by Australian agricultural science and to cook like a Fijian. Premieres Thursday 8.30pm, 15 November, with a encore on Sunday 6.30pm, 18 November and on SBSOnDemand.
  3. Aussie food writer, TV presenter, and chef Rebecca Sullivan went to West Timor in Indonesia to meet beef farmers and to learn how to cook their way (with rather a lot of chilli). Premieres Thursday 8.30pm, 22 November, with a encore on Sunday 6.30pm, 25 November and on SBSOnDemand.
  4. Aussie fitness/wellness coach and cookbook author, Luke Hines travelled to Guimaras Island in the central Philippines to cook some local delicacies and learn how captive breeding of giant grouper is important for the future of the Asian fishing industry. Premieres Thursday 8.30pm, 29 November, with a encore on Sunday 6.30pm, 2 December and on SBSOnDemand.
  5. Mark Olive, aka ‘The Black Olive’, is a well-known celebrity chef with a charismatic style and creative approach to cooking Australian bush foods. Mark saw first-hand how an Australian poultry vaccine is improving Tanzanian village nutrition and to learn how to cook like a local in the remote Rift Valley. Premieres Thursday 8.30pm, 6 December, with a encore on Sunday 6.30pm, 9 December and on SBSOnDemand.
  6. Passionate about connecting people to how their food is grown, Chef and TV presenter Paul West took an adventure across the Indian Ocean to Mozambique to see how one of Africa’s poorest nations is being supported through an Australian-led research partnership. Premieres Thursday 8.30pm, 13 December, with a encore on Sunday 6.30pm, 16 December and on SBSOnDemand.