Child prodigy turned lawyer turned celebrity chef/TV host/author Adam Liaw entered university at the age of 16, graduated at 21, practiced law for a number of years including 6 (sometimes cited as 7) in Japan before deciding to audition for Australia’s MasterChef and emerging victorious in the show’s second season. The finale garnered the highest TV ratings of a non-sports event in the nation’s history with a viewership of some 4 million people and his fame has led to him having his own show on SBS. In Destination Flavour, Adam returns to Japan to introduce the world to the country’s rich culinary landscape. In addition, he has published two books and writes a food-related column entitled Around the Table for Wall Street Journal’s Scene Asia.
In this article, we’ll look at the second and third episodes of Destination Flavour. I have to admit the first episode of this show wasn’t that great.
General Format of the Show
(a) some background on the general area Adam travels to
(b) a story about the type of food that will be explored
(c) either a cooking demonstration set outdoors or a more in depth look at something fun and interesting about the place he’s in
Episode 2: Tohoku
Adam goes to Tohoku, an agricultural hub renowned for tuna sashimi that can fetch up to $1.5 million for a single fish. We look at the role of sashimi in the local economy and find out that it used to be considered peasant food! We then explore onsen culture and the food that comes with it, case in point, a scrumptious-looking hearty stew loaded with locally grown ingredients and potato dumplings. Next, we find ourselves at a soba glutton’s paradise: an all you can eat establishment where patrons are continuously and simultaneously urged and mocked by their table attendant to continue wolfing down small bowls of noodles. “Part lunch, part death match,” as Adam puts it sounds like a fairly accurate description.
The program closes with a sobering but heartwarming story about a 200 year old soya sauce company whose success for decades came to a screeching halt in 2010 with a devastating tsunami. However, support from all over the country from people of all backgrounds and across all industries poured into the city enabling the company to survive.
Episode 3: Hokuriku
In this third installent, Adam travels to his wife’s hometown of Ishikawa prefecture especially known for its nature. He takes us to the factory that supplied the sake at his wedding. He discusses the heart of every Japanese dish and any culture’s dish for that matter. And he does something that not many of us can do: comfortably share kitchen space with the mother-in-law!