Global chef right at home on TV show using te reo

By sonya.bateson@dailypost.co.nz, Sonya Bateson


From the small Tuhoe town of Matahi on to the silver screen, Joe McLeod is sharing the culinary knowledge he gained at home and overseas.

Mr McLeod will be preparing international recipes using local ingredients on Maori Television's new cooking show, Joe's World on a Plate, which will air for the first time at 7pm tomorrow using both te reo and English.

Each week a new entree, main and dessert will be on the menu, covering dishes such as goose from Alaska, snake from Papua New Guinea and pickled pork from Germany.

He said putting the show together had been a beautiful experience, but a lot of hard work.

"I'm brand new to it - I was as green as they come. I used to laugh at TV bloopers; I won't be any more.

"It was really tough but the opportunity to show my stories was unbelievable, to be able to show my whanau you need hard work to reach your goals."

The television show will not only show off Mr McLeod's culinary prowess. He will be telling stories about his life and travels around the world, and the ideas he brought back home.

Although he's changing parts of the traditional recipes by using local ingredients, Mr McLeod said he would stick close to the originals.

Using te reo was a treat, he said. "I found I relaxed more rabbiting off in te reo than I would have been in English."

Maori were gifted artists and cooking was his way of expressing himself.

"Maori are very artistic, I use food as my medium."

He started cooking professionally in 1972, but had been involved in marae catering long before. Growing up in Matahi meant Mr McLeod was born into te reo and tikanga Maori (customs), and he learned from the "masters" the arts of cooking food in a traditional way.

After travelling the world and working in top international restaurants, he came home in 2006 and embarked on a research project on how to preserve Maori cuisine.

"I learned from the masters how to do things like cooking kereru and tui, although I wouldn't do that these days.

"Everything I do is for our people, I was surprised how many tribes have no clue about the foods that grew in their area; this is my koha to them, to give it back."

Joe's World on a Plate is produced by Reuben Collier and Jo Santamaria of Rotorua's Maui Productions, which also does Kai Time on the Road for Maori TV.

- ROTORUA DAILY POST

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