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FOOD is something of a fetish for those of us with Mediterranean blood flowing through our veins.
The flavours, the aromas, the colours all come together in a fusion of culinary delight that isn’t simply about nourishing our bodies, but very much part and parcel of our respective cultures.
Recipes are learnt, not from a book, but passed down from mother to daughter (and sometimes even from father to son), with all number of secret ingredients and special techniques that have been perfected generation after generation. It’s not about whether you’re well versed in conventional cooking methods, or able to pronounce terms like “amuse-bouche” (or, for that matter, whether you even know what they mean). It’s about the experience and, ultimately, the taste.
Which may explain my aversion to the subculture that has exploded over the past decade (largely thanks to shows like MasterChef), which finds many a self-proclaimed foodie peering down their nose at those of us who dare to disregard the burgeoning “dahhling, it’s a jus, not a juice” type of pretentiousness that has come to accompany said subculture.
But then there’s Hayden Quinn. He of the perpetually dishevelled sun-bleached hair, easy smile and general boy-next-door charm. Forget the airs and graces – this lad from Down Under is all about slicing, dicing, sizzling, baking and shaking, all in the name of, (gasp!) first and foremost, enjoying the age-old practice of food preparation. With a dash of adventure and an appreciation for Mother Earth through his various sustainability initiatives thrown in for good measure.
Cue his new venture, Hayden Quinn South Africa. The 13-part series documents the surfer-cum-marine biologist-turned international foo-lebrity’s journey across our shores, as he undertakes a discovery of “Sawf Afriiken” taste sensations, interspersed with a plethora of thrilling heart-pumping exploits.
It’s the latest in a growing list of projects Hayden has taken on since he first came to public attention in the 2011 season of MasterChef Australia – a cookbook (naturally), a partnership in a wine label and a gym (to work off all the grub, no doubt) among them. Not bad for a lad who only placed sixth in the popular reality programme.
The question now playing on everyone’s lips is whether there’s anything this self-effacing 27-year-old can’t do? Well, having had the honour of getting our hands dirty with him during last week’s Cape Town launch for the series, let’s just say Hayden would do well to steer clear of bread-baking.
• Hayden Quinn South Africa kicks off next Monday on SABC3 at 9.30pm.
WIN WITH CENTRUM
Throughout the series, Centrum (one of the official sponsors of the series) will offer 13 lucky viewers an opportunity to experience their idea of what it means to live life at 100 percent, à la the hunky Hayden, with a cash prize of R3 000! Simply visit the Hayden Quinn South Africa Facebook page, click on the Centrum tab, answer an easy Centrum question and explain what kind of activities you would like to see Hayden engage in during the second season of the show.