Gourmet Chick talks to Maeve O’Meara

I have a confession to make. I have a complete girl crush on Maeve O’Meara, the presenter of Food Safari on SBS.  On Food Safari she is so enthusiastic and knowledgeable while still seeming down to earth despite the fact she has one of the best jobs in the world.  So I was very excited to get to interview Maeve exclusively for Gourmet Chick as part of Maeve’s role as an ambassador for A Taste of Harmony.

Photo supplied by Maeve O’Meara

Maeve is asking people to get involved in A Taste of Harmony which is a program all about encouraging people to share their food and culture at work.  A Taste of Harmony runs until the 25 March so there is still time to participate just click on A Taste of Harmony to find out more and register your workplace for free online. You’ll be sent a free promotional pack to help decorate your event and  then all you have to do is get ready to enjoy a the flavours of your workplace.

Here’s what Maeve had to say:
   
What is your role in A Taste of Harmony? 
I’m one of the ambassadors promoting this great initiative which encourages Australians to celebrate the cultural diversity that exists in their workplace. It sounds simplistic, but I believe food and the culture that goes with that food opens doors, breaks down barriers and helps understanding and this is the basic premise of A Taste of Harmony and I’m incredibly proud to be an ambassador.

Why would you encourage people to register for A Taste of Harmony? 
It’s fun and free! It also makes you realise what a truly fabulous multicultural country we live in…and there’s no better way to celebrate that than through food. Australia would be a very boring place if we didn’t have so many people from around the world come and teach us about everything from olive oil to appreciating good coffee and bread. We are a richer country as a result – can you imagine life without Italian pizza, Moroccan spices, Vietnamese salads? We have all this and more right on our doorstep.

Who have you learnt most about food from? 
I’d have to say the family that surrounded me when I joined SBS Television many years ago – there was such a great food culture there and spirit of sharing and people proud of where they came from and a willingness to bring everyone else into their circle. It was my best learning curve and many of my friends are gathered from those days.

What have been some of the highlights of presenting Food Safari? 
The sheer joy of being “behind the lace curtains” – in the world of people who have come from across the world with their culture and their recipes and who generously allow a strange film crew in to show off a recipe. It never ceases to amaze me at how people can absolutely sparkle showing off their favourite family recipes. I am truly blessed. We also film in some of the least known and best known restaurants but love to get chefs cooking in their own homes.

What did you learn presenting Food Safari? 
So many recipes, lots of funny stories and a real window into other lives lived. I’ve also learned that food is the thing that brings families together, the sitting down for a meal, the sharing of food and stories…those are the great moments of life.

Beautiful Greece.  One of the approximately 1 million photos I took in Santorini last year.  Such a photogenic place.

Is there a country in the world or region in particular that has captured your heart? 
I love taking people to Greece every year with my Gourmet Safaris … to learn about the food and the people…we visit four different islands and each time its filled with those experiences money can’t buy – sitting down with families in their homes, dancing with a whole village in the village square under the moonlight…I’m very fortunate to have great people around me who can make those experiences happen!

Is there a hidden area of Australia that you can recommend? 
I love Kangaroo Island for its wild beauty and pristine environment and some great produce…and Broome with its great mix of landscape and people and that magical beach that calls me back year after year – at sunset you feel like you’re inside a beautiful seashell as the colours change around you.

What are your favourite things to eat? 
Just about anything…good home cooked food, fresh seasonal produce. I love the spiciness of Malaysian food.

What are your favourite things to cook?
Most weeks I learn new recipes as we film our new show…I love trying them out on the family at home…our latest discoveries are Filipino adobo and Peruvian lomo saltado.

Do you have any recommendations for places to eat at or shop at for food at in Melbourne?
I love the fresh produce markets especially the Queen Vic Markets, love popping around the corner to Dolcetti to pick up nougat  - it’s fabulous, love the coffee at Pellegrino, seeing Guy Grossi and tasting something fresh and delicious from his kitchen – the lasagne! Our friends at the Ethiopian Bakery in Dandenong, the list goes on and on…

Do you read blogs?  What do you think of them?
To be honest I barely have time to breathe right now but love Gourmet Chick and your photos are amazing.

What are some final tips for the readers of Gourmet Chick? 
Go out and explore and taste something you’ve never seen before…and have a happy A Taste of Harmony Week.

Thanks Maeve for speaking to me.  If you liked reading this you might enjoy my interviews with Antonio Carluccio and Lily Vanilli.

Posted by: on March 21st, 2012     7 Comments »

Category: Interview
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7 Comments on “Gourmet Chick talks to Maeve O’Meara”

  1. Top Bird @ Wee Birdy said at 12:47 pm on March 22nd, 2012:

    Great interview – Maeve is fabulous. Love her Melbourne food recommendations – have you been to the Ethiopian Bakery? xx

  2. Andi of My Beautiful Adventures said at 10:03 pm on March 22nd, 2012:

    Awesome interview! Very inspired by her life. Queen Vic Market is AWESOME!!!

  3. vintagemacaroon said at 11:51 pm on March 22nd, 2012:

    Yes I think alot of use are envious of Maeve’s job. A taste of Harmony sounds like a great idea. I work with alot of Filipinos and I’m always asking what they are eating.

  4. cara waters said at 4:11 am on March 24th, 2012:

    Top Bird – No I haven’t but let me tell you it has gone straight on my wish list.

    Andi – I agree – love Queen Vic market

    Vintage Macaroon – Yes I don’t know much about Filipino food I have to admit so this program would be a great way to discover more.

  5. Anonymous said at 7:51 am on March 10th, 2013:

    ve dishes are ALL due to Turkish influence in Cyprus unilke what the Greek butcher on your show claimed as the sausage being the only Turkish influence. Turkish rule on the island was over 400 years and Greeks never ruled the island.

    You could perhaps even claim some Venetian influence on the food as well NOT just Greek!! Needed a bit more RESEARCH of course and I know research may be too much for a cooking show. Rather, perhaps visiting favorite places and tasting the homemade food sound more convenient and rightly so.

    To cut it short, please SBS team, I would understand commercial TVs but not SBS. SBS is supposed to be one of its kind in the world in terms of representing multicultural communities and their languag eand culture in Australia. This time you failed but please do not lose yourselves or the show in one-sided views and representation of food or cultures or communities of Cyprus. This is not true and it does not suit to SBS which is loyal to all cultures and stories. Your article below claimed you were showing Turkish and Greek dishes but all the dishes were named in Greek and apart from one represented all by Greek Cypriots though there are so many Turkish Cypriots living in Australia!!!

    If I had the money, believe me I would take you to court without thinking twice as well. Hope, one day someone will, even if they are not of Turkish Cypriot background. We suffered enough we do not need any of these media gaffes in Australia.

    Hope to continue to watch quality shows in the future without getting offended and feeling hardly done by!!!

    Regards,

  6. Anonymous said at 7:52 am on March 10th, 2013:

    Oops, sorry, not all my comments came up. Here it is again.

    Hi there,

    I wanted to give you some feedback on your show on Cypriot food or as you made it Greek Cypriot Food from Cyprus.

    As one of the many Australian citizens of Turkish Cypriot background, I was appalled and felt sick with your representation of Turkish Cypriot Food on your show.
    Generations of my family have been living in Cyprus not from Turkey or Greece like some of your guests may have been. My great great great and great parents all lived in Cyprus and cooked Cypriot Food. My mother has a cooking show of her own and cooks all the food and more and won awards on Turkish Cypriot TV as well. My mother in law cooks Cypriot food has been and will be in Australia. Your show or any of the TRADITIONAL Greek propaganda are not and will NOT be ABLE to stop HER!!!

    PERSONAL SIDE:

    My father gave his life for Cyprus fighting people who were trying to divide the island and Greek junta supporters and terrorist groups doing ethnic cleansing to not only their own Greek citizens (They attempted to assasinate the Greek president so many times and sent him to exile because he wanted to give Turkish Cypriots equal rights) but mainly to many innocent Turkish Cypriots. So you know this means a lot to me!!
    When it comes to true representation of information, your show failed!! No research done and/or deliberate support of one ethnic background were demonstrated on your show!! Most of the dishes like Seftali Kebabi, Dolma.

    Sheftali kebab has a story like many other dishes in any culture which your show fails to present – six billion stories and counting – remember?? – Sheftali Kebap which is also the Turkish word for ‘peach’ has its roots from the well known 17th century Turkish chef named Ali hence the name Sheftali- Shef is Turksh word for chef, Dolma comes from Turkish verb for ‘filling in’ ‘doldurma’, tzatziki comes from imitation of the sounds in Turkish word ‘cacik’ made of yogurt which is also a Turkish word from the verb ‘yogurmak’ and etc)

    These above dishes are ALL due to Turkish influence in Cyprus unilke what the Greek butcher on your show claimed as the sausage being the only Turkish influence. Turkish rule on the island was over 400 years and Greeks never ruled the island.

    You could perhaps even claim some Venetian influence on the food as well NOT just Greek!! Needed a bit more RESEARCH of course and I know research may be too much for a cooking show. Rather, perhaps visiting favorite places and tasting the homemade food sound more convenient and rightly so.

    To cut it short, please SBS team, I would understand commercial TVs but not SBS. SBS is supposed to be one of its kind in the world in terms of representing multicultural communities and their languag eand culture in Australia. This time you failed but please do not lose yourselves or the show in one-sided views and representation of food or cultures or communities of Cyprus. This is not true and it does not suit to SBS which is loyal to all cultures and stories. Your article below claimed you were showing Turkish and Greek dishes but all the dishes were named in Greek and apart from one represented all by Greek Cypriots though there are so many Turkish Cypriots living in Australia!!!

    If I had the money, believe me I would take you to court without thinking twice as well. Hope, one day someone will, even if they are not of Turkish Cypriot background. We suffered enough we do not need any of these media gaffes in Australia.

    Hope to continue to watch quality shows in the future without getting offended and feeling hardly done by!!!

    Regards,

  7. Paul said at 9:16 pm on November 3rd, 2013:

    I love food safari but I think Maeve needs to be more descriptive when she is tasting the food.. All she says is “mmm, wow, that is beautiful”…
    There’s no description of flavour and texture which would really add to the program…


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