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See and taste Australia as never before and discover the ultimate Australian cuisine!
Join Mark Olive (aka the "Black Olive") on a fabulous journey around Australia in a brand new series of THE OUTBACK CAFÉ – searching for the real food and flavours of Australia.
He's a ‘chef on a quest’ – to combine the many and varied flavours of Australia with our very own native herbs, spices, fruits and berries to create the ultimate Australian cuisine.
A dash of lemon myrtle… a whiff of nutty, coffee-flavoured wattle seed… a sprinkling of desert raisins or mountain pepper: there are dozens of unique and ancient tastes which will bring a special new twist to your cooking.
Mark’s travels take him everywhere from the glories of the Grampians National Park in Victoria, to the nation's red desert heart, Alice Springs… from the meandering Murray River in South Australia, to the majesty of the Kimberleys in Western Australia.
Wherever he goes, Mark meets local indigenous people, explores the local culture, finds native foods growing wild and learns how they've been used traditionally.
Then, in the kitchen, he mixes the ancient with the contemporary – blending the native flavours with meats, pastas, sea-foods and some deadly desserts to create his own simple, easy-to-make, delicious recipes.
Mark opens the new series in the vast Grampians National Park in Victoria – just a few hours drive north-west of Melbourne, it's half the size of Ireland! He visits a very special and scenic valley, Hall's Gap, which has been a source of abundant native food and a place of ceremonies and feasts for the surrounding aboriginal tribes for thousands of years.
Mark joins local school kids for a master-class in boomerang throwing, discovers the ancient technique of "calling" to catch an emu – and tries to remember how to ride a motorbike, to help round up sheep at feeding time…
Local guides show him Victoria's finest rock art, dating back 40,000 years – then Mark tries his hand at creating some of his own and finds it's not as easy as it looks!
Later in the series he travels to:
• Murray Bridge, east of Adelaide, where he drives a house-boat on the Murray River. The Ngarrinddjeri people show him how to hypnotise a yabbie and do the Cockle Twist (no, it’s not a dance, but a way of gathering shellfish on the beach!)
• Jabiru, in the dazzling Kakadu National Park in the Top End. Originally built to house miners, the town now supports another industry: tourism, attracting over 200,000 visitors a year. Mark tries his hand at basket weaving, goes fishing alongside crocodiles for barramundi and samples a rare delicacy – file snake, cooked on an open fire the traditional way and served on paperbark plates.
• Alice Springs, in the glorious red centre of Australia, where Mark meets a renowned indigenous artist at work in the desert and the Arrente people show him where to find bush passionfruit, desert figs and sweet, succulent bush bananas.
• The Torres Strait Islands – a group of over 270 islands which lie in the Torres Strait, the waterway separating far northern continental Australia's Cape York Peninsula and the island of New Guinea. Mark joins the locals as they form a team to net a shoal of fish and catch mud crabs and mussels and hunt for turtle eggs.
• The rugged East Kimberley region and the Argyle diamond mine. It's the world's largest producer of natural diamonds – the Argyle gems are renowned for their unique brilliance and stunning colours, including exotic pink, sparkling champagne, rich cognac and dazzling white.
Mark's passion is to get people around the world just to try Australia's unique herbs and spices in their kitchen – to experiment and discover for themselves a whole new world of flavours. It's one of Australia's best kept secrets!
All the herbs and spices he cooks with on the show are sourced from indigenous communities working under the Outback Pride organisation – native plants are propagated and distributed to the communities for farming, creating jobs and a new, sustainable indigenous industry and a select range are availiable from Woolworths and Safeway nationally.
It’s a new cuisine, a new taste from the ancient Outback.
The Outback Café - bringing the fabulous flavours of Australia's ancient bush foods to your dining table!