Popular cook, author and TV presenter Adam Liaw has visited Kangaroo Island to highlight how regional areas and producers are springing back to life after the Black Summer bushfires.
His new series Adam Liaw's Roadtrip for Good visits bushfire-affected producers around Australia andpremieres onSBS Food Wednesday, December 2 at 8.30pm.
Small towns are at the heart of regional Australian life. The worst bushfires Australia had seen in a century devastated many of these areas over the 2019-20 summer, affecting lives and livelihoods.
In his new series Adam Liaw's Roadtrip for Good, the popular cook, author and TV presenter visits the bushfire-affected regions as they spring back to life.
Over four episodes, Adam unearths some of the best food Australia has to offer, making mouth-watering Asian-inspired dishes with the produce he collects along the way.
He meets with locals and discovers that these resilient communities are rebuilding and ready to welcome visitors back with open arms.
Adam kicks off his roadtrip in South Australia's Kangaroo Island. When the bushfires hit, half the island went up in flames.
Volunteer firefighter and garlic farmer, Shane Leahy, lost everything except his one shed of garlic. There he also meets organic honey producer, Peter Davis, who lost over 500 hives in one day.
Shane said he took Adam out into his garlic field at Stokes Bay, which he doubled in size this year to 10 acres, producing conservatively up to 10 tonnes.
"It's been a very mild winter with some good rainfall and so it's an exceptional crop this year," Shane said.
He is just about to start harvesting the garlic, which will then need to to cure for about two weeks, before it is sold as fresh garlic to local supermarkets and markets, or processed into garlic powder and salt or fresh frozen peeled cloves in his on-farm processing shed.
Fortunately, Shane has had a German backpacking couple stranded in Australia due to COVID-19, as well as his regular locals helping.
After collecting some of Shane's garlic cloves and Peter's honey gold, Adam makes two Chinese classics - sizzling his Garlic Butter Prawns and Honey Chicken recipe.
Adam's journey continues to the Adelaide Hills where he grew up to visit his old friend and cheesemaker Sheree Sullivan, who lost nearly $2million worth of her award-winning cheeses in the bushfires.
He also pays a visit to local vintner David Bowley who lost his entire vineyard. There he collects some pinot noir to cook an Australian Chinese dish few people know about, Billy Kee Pork.
Adam travels to Victoria's East Gippsland, an area that has struggled not only with bushfires but drought. He visits the family-run farm, Forge Creek Free Range, to collect eggs to make an elegant Japanese Chawanmushi.
He also stops at the coastal town of Mallacoota to source Australia's best abalone and then onto Tallangatta in Victorian high country to visit Mandy Crispin's bakery, which provided refuge to those evacuated during the fires.
Adam collects some crusty bread rolls from Mandy to make a Vietnamese Roast Pork Banh Mi. Then it's off to the Victorian town of Beechworth, home to award-winning chef Michael Ryan's two-hatted restaurant Provenance. There he makes Japanese Cabbage Rolls with some of Michael's roasted tomato sugo.
Adam also journeys to NSW to visit the historic village of Berrima in the Southern Highlands, Gary Rodeley's famous South Coast oyster farm in Tathraand the coastal town of Ulladulla, home to Cupitt's Estate, a vineyard that avoided the blaze but lost all its grapes to smoke taint. With their locally sourced ingredients, he whips up Peking Pork Ribs, Sichuan Beer Duck and a hawker-style Oyster Omelette.
The last stop is Australia's apple capital, the NSW town ofBatlow, which was considered undefendable in the face of the devastating fires before the local Country Fire Service took it upon themselves to defend their town. Adam meets grower Ralph Wilson's roadside stall to buy some apples for his Chinese Toffee Apple Fritters.
Roadtrip For Good is a community-led non-profit initiative established in response to the bushfires.
It encourages people to give back to bushfire-affected communities by planning their own #roadtripforgood via its website.
"2020 has been a tough year for everyone, but few places have been more affected than regional Australia. Before COVID, there were bushfires and before bushfires there was drought," presenter and producer, Adam Liawsaid.
"Adam Liaw's Roadtrip for Good is about telling their stories and reminding people what's great about regional Australia.
"Their resilience in the face of so much is truly inspiring, and if we can help them by safely getting out to these areas and boosting our domestic economy in the process it's a triple win. A win for the regions, a win for those of us who get a great holiday, and a win for Australia as a whole."
Josh Martin, SBS Commissioning Editor for Food, said: "Everyone loves a roadtrip, especially to support people in need. And with such loss felt across regional NSW, Victoria and South Australia, it's inspiring to see how these businesses have risen from the ashes to recover and rebuild. Overseas travel is out of reach for us at the moment but Adam Liaw'sRoadtrip for Good is a breathtaking reminder of the incredible destinations we have right here on our doorstep and how each region is bursting with fresh food and flavours."
Adam Liaw's Roadtrip for Good is produced by i8 Studio.
Adam Liaw's Roadtrip for Good premieres on SBS Food Wednesday December 2 at 8.30pm. The series is available after broadcast on SBS On Demand.
Recipes and more are available atSBS Food website