Kiwi food and travel series World Kitchen is taking the world by storm with sales around the globe and season four screening currently on TV3 Sundays at 5:30pm. World Kitchen, brought to us by Tegel, takes viewers on an exciting culinary journey around the world seeking out the most delicious recipes from each region and bringing them back home to recreate using easy to find ingredients.
With its global view and accessible approach to recipes World Kitchen has proven to really hit the spot. Having successfully sold in 70 countries the series is now tempting viewers’ taste buds in Central and South America, Europe, Asia, the Middle East and Australia. Host Nici Wickes believes part of the show’s appeal is its no-nonsense approach to cooking. “We make food for the everyday person and their family, nothing is beyond the level of your average cook,” says Nici. “When we’re travelling in search of new recipe ideas we’re always careful to stay focussed on the real deal – the everyday lives of the people we meet, and of course the cooking and eating of dishes that represent each culture. It’s a very down to earth show.”
This new season sees Nici travelling to Turkey, Egypt, Greece, China, Malaysia, and Vietnam. In Istanbul Nici meets a wildly eccentric Baklava master and learns the tricks of the trade… and just how much butter goes into this delectable desert. She cooks with a Kurdish family and visits a high end Turkish restaurant for Testi Kebab, a dish cooked in a sealed clay jug that has to be cracked open once cooking is complete.
“This recipe inspired me to cook my own version of a Turkish Chicken Hotpot”, says Nici. “One that didn’t involve breaking the dishes at the end!
“I used the same complex mix of spices to give the wonderful flavour but my version is faster and less complicated …and just as delicious.”
Other episodes see Nici eating pigeons in Egypt, hand-making noodles in China, visiting a centuries old olive oil factory in Greece, biking through jungle in Malaysia to reach the famous BBQ smoked chicken, and making rice paper wrappers and fresh spring rolls in Vietnam.
World Kitchen’s Producer and Director, Martha Jeffries, attributes much of the show’s success to Nici’s openness and willingness for a challenge. “I often put Nici in interesting and challenging situations but she won’t shy away from anything. She perfectly captures the adventures of culinary travel, where new food is so often an acquired taste. In Shanghai I really put her gastronomic boundaries to the test, having her try ‘stinky tofu’ and snails in a local street market. And in Egypt she eats street-pigeon.”
“On another day Nici tries to learn how to make noodles from scratch and fails spectacularly. But we include this in the show because in cooking, not everything goes right the first time,” continues Martha.
Filming for World Kitchen typically involves a hectic travel itinerary with the team spending no more than a few days in each location trying to capture as many food adventures as possible. “This requires a lot of forward planning,” says Martha. “But it’s a great adventure and we never go hungry!”
Four series in and Nici still thinks she has the best job in the world. “I get to travel and eat, and I meet the most interesting people. What’s not to love?!”
World Kitchen, Sundays at 5:30pm on TV3.