• Maeve goes hunting for mushrooms with father-and-daughter duo Franca Norris and Angelo Bonacci. (Food Safari Earth)Source: Food Safari Earth
Vegetables have a sexy side! Food Safari returns with a brand-new series that explores the endless possibilities of fruits, vegetables, herbs, spices and more. #FoodSafari
21 Sep 2017 - 9:25 AM  UPDATED 19 Mar 2021 - 12:53 PM

Home cooks have long known the value of vegetables and more and more chefs now showcase them as the main event on menus and this 13-part extravaganza sees host Maeve O'Meara explore the bounty of fresh vegetables, vibrant fruits, herbs, grains, pulses and flowers the earth has to offer.

Episode 1 - The New Green

Aired Thursday 12 October at 8pm on SBS. Watch on SBS On Demand here.

Maeve talks herbs and vegetables with Sydney chef Peter Gilmore in his extensive garden before delving deep into eggplant territory with Thai chef and restaurant owner Amy Chanta and her daughter Palisa Anderson at Boon Luck Farm in the NSW Northern Rivers. Melbourne’s Middle Eastern chef Joseph Abboud, re-imagines the golden smoky delight of eggplant in a dish he calls ‘the whole baba’ – like the famous baba ganoush before it's blended. Then Maeve gets a rare insight into the science-meets-food-art kitchen of Sepia's owner and Executive Chef Martin Benn. 

Thanks to Amy Chanta (Chat Thai), daughter Palisa Anderson (Boon Cafe, Jarern Chai), Peter Gilmore (Quay, Bennelong), Joseph Abboud (Rumi, Moor's Head) and Martin Benn (Sepia).

Chat Thai story
Meet the family behind Sydney’s much-loved Thai food institution
They've built a restaurant empire from scratch – now they’re redefining paddock-to-plate dining with 30 types of eggplant and more types of basil than you can count.


Crisp artichoke, carrot and sheep's milk feta salad

Eggplant and pumpkin green curry

The whole baba

Martin Benn's beetroot three-ways with house-made goat's cheese


Episode 2 - Staples

Aired Thursday 19 October at 8pm on SBS. Watch on SBS On Demand here.

This week, Maeve seeks out the deeply satisfying carbohydrates at the heart of many of the great dishes of the world. Indian chef, Ajoy Joshi shares his recipe for the textural delight that is gossamer, thin Indian dosa with spicy potato, sambhar and dhal. While down in Melbourne, she then visits pasta genius Alberto Fava who shows us how to transform durum wheat into silky sheets before shaping them into little ‘hats’ called cappellacci, before meeting Ethiopian bakers Karim Degal and his mother Meftuha Osmen who give Maeve a hands-on lesson in injera bread-making.

Thanks to Ajoy Joshi (Nilgiri's, Tellicherry), Alberto Fava (Tipo 00), Karim Degal and Meftuha Osmen (Mesnoy Bakery), Emma Sofy (Emma's Snack Bar), Danielle Alvarez (Fred's).

When your bread is the plate: Here's the lowdown on injera
Injera is the heart of east African food and the Ethiopian immigrant baker is bringing a slice of his homeland to Melbourne.


Masala dosa

Pumpkin cappellacci with bergamot


Corn and guava cake


Episode 3 - Spring

Aired Thursday 26 October at 8pm on SBS. Watch on SBS On Demand here.

Spring is the season that chefs around the world look forward to most and Italian food legend, Stefano Manfredi harvests the freshest produce of the season for a Roman vignarola. Chef Chase Kojima reveals the secrets to a perfect tempura batter as Ibrahim Kasif is inspired by a Turkish spring and shares his dish of slow- braised broad beans. Maeve then visits the garden of Zimbabwean-born home cook Dorothy Johnson as she prepares muboora une dovi – a recipe of pumpkin shoots and delicate flowers served with a rich peanut sauce. 

Thanks to Stefano Manfredi (Pizzaperta), Chase Kojima (Sokyo, Gojima, Kiyomi), Ibrahim Kasif (Stanbuli), Dorothy Johnson and Samira Saab.

Perfect tempura in 6 easy steps
It's time to take tempura out of the too-hard basket, and to start thinking outside the (bento) box.


La vignarola

Olive oil braised beans with tomato and lemon

Pumpkin shoots with peanut butter

Mulberry syrup

Spring vegetable tempura

Asparagus and all its spring vegetable mates have the perfect crunch for tempura appetisers.


Episode 4 - Legumes

Aired Thursday 2 November at 8pm on SBS. Watch on SBS On Demand here.

Protein-rich beans have always been the heavy lifters of the vegetable world. In this episode, Maeve discovers the secrets of a classic falafel with Al Alseel's chef and restaurateur Faysal El-Abd. Culinary teacher Daisy Rajan shares her delicious recipe for Keralan green beans with coconut and Maeve also discovers how soy beans are transformed into silky tofu with the Kim family. And to finish, pastry chef Joao Cadete showcases his Portuguese tart using white beans known as queijadas de feijao.

Thanks to Faysal El-Abd (Al Aseel), Daisy Rajan, Mariana Purnama, Attila Yilmaz (Pazar Food Collective) and Joao Cadete (Sweet Belem). 



Beans thoran

Gado gado

Red lentil köfte


Episode 5 - Herbs & spices

Aired Thursday 9 November at 8pm on SBS. Watch on SBS On Demand here.

This week, Maeve explores the wild thyme known as za’atar and finds out how it is grown, dried before using it in a home-baked flatbread. Young Persian chef Sanam Janghorban creates a spectacular flavoursome fresh herb omelette kuku sabzi before Bangladeshi-born chef Tapos Singha showcases the whole spice blend known as panch phoron in a Bengali vegetarian dish called shukto. After this spicy bash, Maeve is then rewarded with a luscious Sri Lankan love cake baked by Debbie Solomon.

Thanks to Andrew McConnell’s (Cutler & Co., Cumulus Inc., and more), Jarouge family Sanam Janghorban, Debbie Solomon, Russoul and Nadia Sajadi and Tapos Singha (BANG).



Roasted beetroot salad

Sir Lankan love cake


Persian herb omelette (kuku sabzi)

Food Safari's Persian omelette (kuku sabzi)

Episode 6 - Summer

Aired Thursday 16 November at 8pm on SBS. Watch on SBS On Demand here.

Tomato Day is the most special day on the Italian food calendar and Maeve joins three generations of the Baggio family in suburban Melbourne as they preserve the goodness of summer with a homemade passata. Italian food legend, Guy Grossi celebrates the seductive power of the vegetables known as nightshades (eggplant and tomatoes) with a delicious pasta dish, garganella alla Norma. With an abundance of fresh fruit over the summer, third generation gelato-maker Marco Enea of the Melbourne gelateria il Melograno whips up fragrant fresh strawberry gelato, Sicilian-style!

Thanks to Guy Grossi (Grossi Florentino), Tetsuya Wakuda (Tetsuya's), Joseph Abboud (Rumi), Victor Liong (Lee Ho Fook), Marco Enea (il Melograno).



Braised eggplant with saltbush

Garganelli alla Norma

Crispy eggplant with spiced red vinegar

Koussa fattoush


Episode 7 - Flowers

Aired Thursday 23 November at 8pm on SBS. Watch on SBS On Demand here.

A touch of saffron as Maeve cooks up a saffron risotto with Italian-born chef Alessandro Pavoni. From Tassie, Maeve travels up north to Darwin to meet food legend Jimmy Shu who unlocks the butterfly pea for a Nyonya-style dumpling. And as the world of flowers is explored, Maeve goes behind-the-counters and into the kitchen of sweets palace Abla’s to see how those delicate essences are used before taking some of those notes and layering them in a baklava recipe by Armenian home cook Arpy Iskikian.

Thanks to Alessandro Pavoni (Ormeggio), Jimmy Shu (Hanuman Restaurant), Jinan Afiouny, Aziz Bakalla, Vanessa Martin, Abla’s Sweets and Arpy Iskikian.

Taking those delicate essences and layering them in a baklava recipe by Armenian home cook Arpy Iskikian.


Armenian baklava

Artichoke and pea tagine

Risotto alla Milanese

Blue pea flower dumpling

Fried cauliflower with tarator

Stuffed zucchini flowers


Episode 8 - Stuffed, rolled & wrapped

Aired Thursday 30 November at 8pm on SBS. Watch on SBS On Demand here.

From the Mexican favourite of mild fresh poblano chillies stuffed with a melting cheese, fried and added to a delicious tomato-based sauce, Maeve begins to explore the amazing versatility cuisines take in stuffing your vegetables. This week, she explores the intricate and complex world of classic Chinese dumplings with Shanghai-born chef Chris Yan who shares his recipe for their best-selling silverbeet and spinach dumplings. Then it's an afternoon of showstopping yemista – a range of vegetables stuffed with delicious herbed rice then baked before getting on a roll with easy silverbeet and fig leaf mezze sensations.

Thanks to Rafael Nazario, Chris Yan (Lotus), Kathy Tsaples (Sweet Greek) and Abla Amad.

Sweet Greek
Melbourne's Sweet Greek dishes out tips for Christmas dinner (and dessert)
Melbourne's dessert hero, Kathy Tsaples, divulges a few secrets behind her cooking (figs and octopus, to name two), gushes about her favourite desserts, and teaches us how to ‘go Greek’ for Christmas this year.


Fig paste

Silverbeet and spinach dumplings

Stuffed poblano chillies

Silverbeet rolls



Episode 9 - Tropic & exotic

Aired Thursday 7 December at 8pm on SBS. Watch it on SBS On Demand here.

Exploring Australia’s enduring love for Asian flavours, Maeve visits the respected master of Thai cuisine, David Thompson who shares his recipe for the most delicious, all-vegetarian pat sii uu. Then, it’s the fresh crispness and astringent power of unripe, or green fruits, as chef O Tama Carey demonstrates her Sri Lankan family recipe for green mango curry. Colombian-born chef, Oscar Espinosa showcases the power of the plantain and then Maeve discovers how to extract real coconut cream before delving into a Goan treat of coconut and jaggery, known as patoleo.

Thanks to David Thompson (Long Chim), O Tama Carey (Lankan Filling Station), Oscar Espinosa, Jesse Willets, Louis Tikaram (EP&LP), Maryann Borges and Thibault Fregoni (Daintree Estates).

'Plantation to plate': The life and times of chocolate-making
How does a French-born former press photographer wind up in far-north Queensland managing the post-harvest for a well-known chocolate company?

Maeve O'Meara learns how to master pad sii uu with Thai cooking extraordinaire David Thompson.


Pat sii uu

Plantain chips with guacamole

Coconut cakes (patoleos)

Green mango curry

Online exclusive: Pandan custard


Episode 10 - Autumn

Aired Thursday 14 December at 8pm on SBS. Watch on SBS On Demand here.

It’s the season of mellow fruitfulness and this week, Maeve hits the road and joins her friend Franca Norris and her father, Angelo Bonacci on a mushroom hunt before discovering the secrets of perfect gnocchi with mushroom sauce. Autumn’s olive harvest is one of the highlights of the food world as Pietro Demaio demonstrates how easy it is to bottle your own olives. Then modern Greek chef Peter Conistis makes magnificent olive and tomato keftedes with a green olive sauce, before joining home cook Judy Saba to discover how to make the Lebanese Lenten staple, pumpkin kibbeh.

Thanks to Franca Norris, Angelo Bonacci, Pietro Demaio, Peter Conistis (Alpha), Judy Saba, Our Lady of Lebanon and Alla Wolf-Tasker (Lake House).

Maeve goes hunting for mushrooms with father-and-daughter duo Franca Norris and Angelo Bonacci.


Olive and tomato keftedes

Pumpkin kibbeh

Red wine elderberry pears with ginger cake

Gnocchi in mushroom sauce

Hard and fast rules for ultimate gnocchi
Who wants foolproof gnocchi? These easy tips will have you confidently strutting your soft potatoey pillows all over the place.

Episode 11 - Sweet & sour

Aired Thursday 21 December at 8pm on SBS. Watch on SBS On Demand here.

Explore the sweet power of onions with Spanish chef, Pablo Tordesillas Garcia and discovers the delights of a Catalonian favourite of char-grilled baby leeks with romesco sauce. Sicilian-Australian chef, Rosa Mitchell shares her version of caponata - a sweet-sour vegetable dish and Maeve visits Israeli born chef, Michael Rantissi who shows us how to make pomegranate molasses from scratch which then goes into a vibrant fresh cauliflower and pomegranate salad.

Thanks to Rosa Mitchell (Rosa’s Canteen), Michael Rantissi (Kepos Street Kitchen/Kepos & Co.), Jaya and Ankit Chopra, Federico Zanellato (LuMi Dining).




Cauliflower and cranberry salad

Charred leeks with romesco

Tamarind and date chutney

Burnt wheat, yukari and yuzu tart


Episode 12 - Preserving & fermenting

Aired Thursday 28 December at 8pm on SBS. Watch on SBS On Demand here.

In this week's episode, Maeve meets preserving supremo Pietro Demaio who shows her the ropes to a fiery Calabrese ‘Explosive Mix’ – a magnificent blend of chopped preserved vegetables perfect for bruschetta. From there she visits Korean food ambassador Heather Jeong who demonstrates how to make a vegan radish kimchi before chef, Somer Sivrioglu shares his secrets for making the red pepper paste in every Turkish pantry known as biber salçasi. 

Thanks to Pietro Demaio (author bestselling Preserving the Italian Way)) Claudia Kindler, Martin Boetz (Cook’s Co-op), Paldo Kimchi, Heather Jeong, Somer Sivrioglu (Anason/Efendy), Tomoko Onuki and Yukiyo Copley (Rice Culture) and Brent Savage (Yellow).

Maeve with Tomoko Onuki and Yukiyo Copley (Rice Culture).


Koji black rice with snake bean

Korean radish kimchi

German cucumber salad (gurkensalat)

Preserved eggplant

How this business discovered the secret to making Japanese food great
Koji is the starter ingredient behind many much-loved Japanese foods. It also inspired “fermentation fanatics” Rice Culture to start a business that showcasing just how amazing it is.

Episode 13 - Winter

Aired Thursday 4 January 2018 at 8pm on SBS. Watch on SBS On Demand.

Root vegetables come into their own during winter and Food Safari Earth explores a spicy Singaporean ‘white carrot’ cake made from daikon radish known as chai tow kway which is a hawker stall favourite and an easy recipe shared by Maeve’s friend, home cook Helina Lee. Cabbage is another winter favourite and Maeve meets Danish chef Bente Grysbaek who shares her recipe for spidskål using sugarloaf cabbage, horseradish, salted lemon and burnt butter. The comfort of warming puddings and desserts never goes unnoticed and home cook Ulku Gani makes a deliciously healthy touch–your-heart Turkish sweet that’s often referred to as “Noah’s pudding” called asure with dried fruits, barley, spices and nuts.

Thanks to Ross Lusted (The Bridge Room), The Marshall Family, Bente Grysbaek (Restaurant DANSK), Jose Silva (Bibo Wine Bar) and Helina Lee.

Singapore's carrot cake is not what you think it is
It’s completely savoury, eaten for breakfast and contains no carrots whatsoever: Singaporean carrot cake (chai tow kway) is the much-adored Hawker-style street food you need to know about.


Fried carrot cake


Salt-baked celeriac with truffle

Steamed sugarloaf cabbage with lemon and burnt butter



Have we got your attention and your tastebuds? For recipes and more visit the program site right here.