Huey's blog

Showing only articles posted during 2011. See all.
  • Huey's 20th year on TV

    A few points of interest re: the amazing change in television audiences’ watching patterns.

    *   In 1990, when I first approached commercial networks re: a TV cooking show, I was informed that “cooking would never work on prime time TV” – I presume those program directors are now working as janitors.

    *   My cooking segments on ‘Healthy, Wealthy & Wise’, which began in 1991, were the first in prime time on a commercial network.

    *   Before TV, I was a successful chef-restaurateur who had achieved awards such as 2 x 3 Hats and 2 x Best New Restaurant awards from the Age Good Food Guide and, at one stage, I held 6 Hats from the Guide over 3 restaurants. In 1986, I received the Charles Heidsieck Award for services to cuisine and in 1987 restaurant critic Stephen Downes described me as the most important Melbourne restaurateur of the eighties, while The Age Good Food Guide in 1990 included me as one of the top chefs of the decade.

    *   When I first went on TV, my peers said that I had “sold out”. Interesting, because when I retired from ‘Healthy, Wealthy & Wise’ seven years later, most of them applied for my job.

    *   Beginning with ‘Healthy, Wealthy & Wise’, I have also featured in ‘A Cook’s Journey’, ‘Huey’s TV Dinner’, ‘Never Trust a Skinny Cook’, ‘Huey’s Cooking Adventures’ and my current show ‘Huey’s Kitchen’ airs at 4pm on Network 10.

    During my time on TV, I have been known for cooking outdoors and have travelled throughout Australia and many different countries around the world. Last year alone, I travelled to:
    -    the South Island of New Zealand (where I was, unfortunately, caught up in the Christchurch earthquake);
    -    down the Danube, Mein and Rhine Rivers from Budapest to Amsterdam;
    -    along the Mekong Delta; and
    -    on both the Ghan and Indian Pacific trains with stop-offs in Sydney, Perth, Adelaide, Darwin, Alice Springs and Broken Hill along the way.

    A few of my favourite memories from my time on TV.

    *   Arriving at a leading pig farmer’s house in Ireland and finding the farmer and his wife completely legless from drinking their homemade pear cider at 8am in the morning. As it turned out, this appeared to be a pretty normal state of affairs and, as he had been a chef in a past life, he not only turned in a sterling effort, but whipped up a terrific dish to boot.

    *   Cooking on the top of One Tree Hill in Auckland (which is now, I presume No Tree Hill, as the tree was blown down) and turning around just in time to see my bowl of salad bouncing down the hill propelled by the rather strong wind. I, of course, the King of Ad Lib, simply said: “I think I’d better whip up another salad”.

    *   Being told off by viewers for using a tea towel to wipe the plates (a very clean one, may we add) and then changing to paper towels only to be admonished because of the number of trees I had just wasted.

    *   Cooking at a camel farm in Alice Springs where a camel leant over my shoulder and snaffled the minute steak right off the plate.

    *   And then, of course, there is the heat, rain, hail, wind, flies, bees and various other insects and animals. And, let us not forget Dr Quack in Byron Bay, who did his business all over my shirt as I attempted to film an intro. Or Keith Floyd, who drank the wine that was supposedly for the sauce. Or the Spanish chef who turned out to be a waiter who couldn’t cook or speak a word of English – his Paella was ... interesting.

    But, overall, after 20 years, my philosophy hasn’t changed. Never intending to produce a Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous-type show, I began demonstrating to my audience that cooking could be fun. And, at all times, I have concentrated on persuading you to take just one step – from the frozen food cabinets or take away shops into the fresh food departments and then, consequently, into the kitchen where you could whip up something easy and tasty. Admittedly, these days, as his very loyal audience has progressed along with him, some slightly fancy pants-type cooking has crept in – but, at all times, still approachable and using readily available ingredients.


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