Australian culinary icon Maggie Beer takes viewers on a gastronomic journey across three stunning locations in Maggie in Japan next month on Lifestyle
Maggie in Japan follows the celebrated cook as she travels from Tokyo to Noto Peninsular and finally Osaka, inspired by her love of learning and the exciting new challenge of producing a Japanese-inspired feast for her friends back in her hometown of the Barossa.
With the help of both traditional and new wave chefs, Maggie immerses herself in the local food and lives of her culinary guides, experiencing the essence of Japanese cuisine and some of the unique cooking techniques found across the country.
In Tokyo, Maggie joins Koji Fukuda, a former head chef at Luke Mangan’s Salt and now owner of two restaurants in Tokyo. Koji invites Maggie in to his home during her Tokyo visit, preparing her an everyday family meal that provides inspiration for Maggie’s own Japanese feast.
She also meets Kanejiro Kanemoto of Nodaiwa, who is a revered shokunin. A shokunin is a craftsman who devotes his entire life to mastering one dish, and Kanejiro has been cooking eel for the past 60 years.
Finally, keen to get a feel for the younger and more modern chefs of Tokyo, Maggie visits Hideki Ii of Shirosaka, where she experiences food that is a creative interpretation of both Japanese and Western cuisines – including a Japanese-influenced pate’ to rival her own.
Next, Maggie travels to rural Noto Peninsula where she meets Australian chef Ben Flatt and his wife Chikako who run a typical Japanese inn, upholding the ancient traditions of Chikako’s family. Here, Maggie finds a land which has so many similarities to the Barossa, and yet the flavours are so different. Once again, in Ben’s cooking Maggie finds an amalgamation of cuisines, with Ben’s Italian background cleverly influencing the dishes he makes.
Finally, after crossing the country and going south, Maggie arrives in Osaka. Here, she enjoys a “Kappo” style meal at a Michelin-star restaurant, run by second generation chef Osamu Ueno.
After her whirlwind tour, Maggie heads back to the Barossa where she adapts her newfound knowledge to create her own Japanese feast.
The unique dishes Maggie creates clearly illustrates that her search to understand and perfect Japanese flavour techniques has paid off – and has made its way into her own stunning food creations.
Maggie in Japan premieres on Wednesday, August 2 at 8.30pm on Lifestyle.