About 12 months ago, someone approached me with the idea to film a TV series that would reveal to the world everything I love about the Middle East. The plan was that I would travel to places I'd never been and gain a firsthand experience of the food unique to each region. I love visiting countries I've only ever heard or read about, so I was on board with the idea instantly. I suppose that’s when Shane Delia’s Spice Journey was born.
24 May 2013 - 12:51 PM  UPDATED 6 Sep 2013 - 9:31 AM

Along the way, I met some amazing people, made lifelong friends and ate truly beautiful food. It wasn’t all champagne and caviar, though. Life on the road, while filming a show, wasn't easy. Picture remote locations, scorching heat, long days, all types of language, plus cultural and political tensions. Not to mention being away from all my staff and beloved restaurants. That was tough!

Since returning home, I have a million ideas for new dishes, brilliant concepts and exciting directions for my restaurant family. I couldn't wait to get back into my kitchen studio in Melbourne to start cooking all these new things I'd tasted. Petros, one of my passionate and loyal chefs, has been working alongside me during the filming of the recipe segments of the show to bring the ideas and flavours of my trip to life! Since I returned from Iran, Petros and I have been busy weighing, testing and creating new dishes that will appear in each episode of the show.

Nearly all the dishes are first attempts, which is unheard of. I mean, we tested a few of the main recipes and a couple are oldies that form the base of our repertoire, but the majority have never been done before. So, as you'll see from the videos, the final stage where we plate-up the meals is real and nerve racking. But it's all been very exciting and authentic! It’s always a buzz seeing an idea I hatched overseas finally coming to life. I must say I haven’t been disappointed yet. All the food we produced back in Melbourne has been beautiful and exceeded my expectations. Please write and let me know what you thought of the recipes.

And now, thanks to an amazing production team, everything has come together and Shane Delia’s Spice Journey will air next week, 2 May on SBS ONE. I’m really excited to share my experiences with you and I hope you feel the love I have for this very special part of the world. I was able to go there and see it for all of its beauty and kindness, not just what the media shows us on the news.

In a part of the world where nothing is certain, it’s the people and their culture that is the shining light in the face of all of the adversity, tension and unrest. If nothing else, the food rocks.

Visit Shane's website, or connect with him via Twitter and Facebook.