He’s traversed the globe with his successful Spice Journeys series. But Shane Delia’s latest project lands a lot closer to home — and is a lot more personal.
In his new series, Shane Delia’s Recipe for Life, which kicks off today on SBS, the Melbourne-based chef and restaurateur gives viewers a much closer look into his life away from the kitchen, and what drives him both personally and professionally.
Episode one focuses on Feed the Mind, a project he’s been working on with caterer Peter Rowland. They’re on a quest to reintroduce healthier food options to school canteens.
So far, so Jamie Oliver. But Delia insists he’s not on a quest to become Australia’s answer to Britain’s zealous food warrior.
“I suppose the way SBS are pushing it now is that it’s ‘Shane’s food crusade to make people eat better’. But it’s not. I’m not Jamie Oliver,” Delia says. “I don’t want to be perceived that way.
“I don’t want people to think I’m ripping him off. I just want to eat good, and I want people around me to be enjoying themselves and living a good life.”
Episode one grew out of Delia’s horror at learning, with his first child going to school, that all sorts of rubbish was dished up in canteens.
“I don’t read a lot of the news and I don’t probably know as much as I could, but I thought all that (bad food), and soft drinks, were out of school,” he explains. “I honestly thought that was a rule imposed by government, and that you could no longer get that stuff.
“But it’s not the case at all. And I was really horrified.”
The eight-part series charts his progress in this and other community programs, and it’s not always smooth sailing. As well as his charity initiatives, we get a look at how Delia juggles business — including Melbourne eateries Maha and Biggie Smalls — and family commitments. It’s fair to say he has a lot of plates in the air.
So did he feel nervous about having so much of his personal life stripped bare for the series?
“One hundred per cent,” he says. “But Josh Martin, who was the producer, and Sonja Armstrong from Essential Media — those two have done the whole Spice Journey stuff with me. And they have watched me grow as well. They know who I was when I started, and what we have done now. I respect them and they respect me.”
Shane Delia’s Recipe For Life airs today at 8.05pm on SBS.
Originally published on The West Australian on 11 January 2018. Written by Clare Rigden.