The Chefs' Line: New taste, no added drama
WATCH out MKR and MasterChef, SBS is set to spice things up on the small screen.
The multicultural broadcaster, which has its own dedicated food channel, is making its first foray into the reality cooking genre with its new original series The Chefs' Line.
The weeknight series pits home cooks against a line-up of apprentice, station, sous and head chefs from some of Australia's leading restaurants.
Leading indigenous chef Mark Olive, who judges alongside chef Dan Hong and food writer Melissa Leong, says The Chefs' Line is the antidote to manufactured drama where food is the afterthought.
"We've become so indoctrinated in the way we look at cooking shows these days, which is why this is so refreshing," he tells The Guide.
"(On The Chefs' Line) people are sharing their passion for the food, going 'How can I do this better?' or 'Look at what this person did'. The drama is around getting that dish up and nailing it within the time frame."
Each week features a different cuisine, shining the spotlight on the exotic flavours of Turkey, Vietnam and China to name a few.
With each new theme comes a new group of amateurs and professionals for viewers to meet every Monday, opening the door for cooks who would never dream of spending months away from their families or jobs to go on a reality TV show.
Where else, argues Mark, would you get people as varied as CEOs and scientists to stay-at-home mums and drag queens sharing their family recipes?
"SBS got a lot of feedback on this show where people who applied said they wouldn't apply for the other cooking shows because there's too much drama and this only took a couple of days out of their time," he said.
"Cooking is something they really enjoy as a hobby. They're not looking for their 15 minutes of fame."
But that doesn't stop some of the home cooks from plating up dishes that bested the professionals, and seriously impressed the judges.
"I've had a huge career in food over the past 30 years, but I've focused on indigenous and contemporary and classic cuisines so to come across African (food) was really exciting," Mark says.
"Even though some of these dishes were maybe simple to a lot of people, the way the home cooks and chefs brought their own twist to the cuisine was great. During Thai week we did a Pad Thai and the different twists people put on it was exciting."
Each Friday host Maeve O'Meara also gives viewers a guided tour of the featured restaurant, the chefs share stories from the week and tantalise with delicious recipes.
Mark believes the show, scheduled for the traditional dinner prep time at 6pm, will be addictive.
"It's a positive, feel-good show. At 6pm people can turn on the telly, get some good ideas and have a laugh," he said.
"We've got home cooks from different creeds, cultures, religions; we're crossing every boundary. That's why this show is going to be so unique and popular."
The Chefs' Line premieres on Monday at 6pm on SBS.