Food Glorious Food with Iain ‘Huey’ Hewitson

I may have mentioned this before, but in 1990 – when we first ran the proposal for “Healthy, Wealthy & Wise” featuring yours truly past the executives at Channel Ten – the program director stated that cooking would never work on primetime TV. Fortunately the GM didn’t agree, but I must admit to being bemused, as food was certainly working on every other country’s screens. Anyway, the rest is history, as my cooking segment on “Healthy, Wealthy & Wise” became the first food segments on TV commercial networks in prime time. I mention commercial networks, because the ABC had over the years often featured cooking shows, such as New Zealander Graham Kerr who went on to become very famous in the States as the Galloping Gourmet, Peter Russel-Clark and Ian Parmentier. I always remember Kerr leaping over a white couch at the beginning of each show with a glass of red wine in his hand. I was always greatly impressed by his dexterity and balance, but was disappointed in later years to discover that the glass was tightly covered with clingwrap. He also, in latter years, discovered God and wanted the name of the show changed to “Cooking with God” – needless to say, the producers declined and he semi-retired to the great kitchen in California, I think.
Anyway, the point of all this is – do we now have far too much food TV with new shows seemingly appearing endlessly and two Pay TV channels dedicated to nothing else plus huge amounts on free to air TV as well. Sure, some shows such as “Masterchef” and “My Kitchen Rules” have been huge successes, which of course encourage everyone to follow suit. But, as I mentioned on “A Current Affair” recently, to me those are more game shows than cooking shows and, while they are well produced and I have no axe to grind with the hosts, I feel they do a disservice to both the competitors (who often go on to host their own shows without, in many cases, the cooking skills and the support and backup they receive from the well produced big boys) and the audience, who get the impression that they can whip up something like Peter Gilmore’s (of Quay fame) snow egg or similar completely over the top creations. I must admit I expected a lot of flack over my comments, but the reaction, particularly from hospitality professionals, applauded my views and felt (like me) that simplicity was needed to encourage people to get into the kitchen.
But, it’s not just Oz that is mad keen on culinary game shows. The other night I suffered through an American show where two groups are given the princely sum of $4000 and 24 hours to open a restaurant (admittedly, the kitchen is fully set up), but what a bloody awful show. And, sadly, my favourite American chef, Bobby Flay, whilst he does have a couple of decent cooking shows, seems to pop up constantly on some bloody silly TV cooking competitions along with Aussie surfer/checkout boy Curtis Stone.
I do enjoy “Great British Menu” though. In this, professional chefs compete for the right to cook at a banquet for say 140 Years of Wimbledon; Queen’s Birthday, etc., etc. Apart from the fact that one of the judges, Oliver Peyton, irritates the hell out of me – some terrific food is produced, none of which inspires me to rush into the kitchen though, which to me, is a good thing. And, by pre-recording it, I can whiz through the judges’ pronouncements, which makes it far more enjoyable.
But, above all, my favourite TV chef of all time was Keith Floyd. Completely irreverent and always enjoying a drink, he never took himself too seriously, was definitely funny and produced good, simple food, which we all could cook. His producer, David Pritchard, is one of the best in the field and these days produces Rick Stein, who I also don’t mind, but I must admit is a bit overdone – in fact, just plain too many shows! In a similar vein to Mr Oliver who also, to me anyway, produces far too many shows. I enjoyed them both more at the beginning of their careers when they were bright and fresh (and funny).
But, back to game shows – I do enjoy the Japanese version of “Iron Chef”, but the hosts of the American version do annoy the heck out of me. Maybe I’ve got a bit of a problem with hosts, but as mentioned before, the fast forward button is a great help.

Listen to the podcast here.


for 2)
Clean the mussels by scrubbing and removing the beards. (Just grasp each one and pull down the side of shell until it comes away.)
Heat a little oil in a wok and sauté 1-2 seeded and sliced chillies, 1 large crushed garlic clove and 1 cm piece peeled ginger, grated. Add 60 ml Chinese wine, 60 ml packet fish or chicken stock and a splash each of soy and oyster sauces. Bring to the boil and add 1 kg cleaned mussels. Cover and cook, removing them as they open (discarding any that don’t open). Spread the shells open or remove the top shell and place in 2 bowls. Add a little shaved palm sugar (or soft brown sugar) and fresh lime juice to the cooking juices with some chopped coriander, swirl for a minute or two and pour over the top.
Click here to go to Hueys Youtube channel

Who Is Iain “Huey” Hewitson
Born 4 October 1948 (age 69)
Otaki, New Zealand

Culinary career
Iain “Huey” Hewitson (born 4 October 1948 in Otaki), is a New Zealand-born chef, restaurateur, author, and television personality who moved to Australia in 1972.[1] He is best known for his television involvement with Network Ten. He was also the face of supermarket chain BI-LO.

image for illustration only.Photo by Chef floWer

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