Meet Aaron Craze, a saucy British chef. Travel and Living Channel’s ‘Taste Off,’ September 16 at 10.30 p.m., puts him through the taste bud test.
For someone who has never been further than his home town, Craze now goes around the world including Mexico City, Sydney, Kuala Lumpur and Rio, on this mission. He learns about a county’s cuisine before challenging the local chef to a cook-off on flavours. Aaron also puts his spin on the regional dishes. Glimpses of some episodes.
In ‘Mexico City – Cactus Juice, Caviar and a Challenge,’ he prepares blue corn quesadillas on a boat, samples Mexican caviar with a top chef and enjoys a traditional family breakfast before deciding which chef he will take on to see if he can beat their dish on taste alone. In ‘Puebla – Mole, Mayhem and Mariachi,’ he is on a culinary crash course in this Mexican city that's home to some of the country's most iconic dishes. Puebla is considered the birthplace of the world famous mole, a complex sauce that can incorporate more than 30 ingredients including chocolate, cinnamon and several kinds of chili peppers. Here, locals are passionate about food, be it mole poblano, cemitas, chalupas poblanas, or chiles en nogada, and eating is one of the most celebrated activities. In just a few days, Aaron must not only learn the local fare, but also do well enough to challenge one of Puebla’s best chefs. Having never stepped out of the UK, Aaron soon finds Puebla’s flavours to be a delicious surprise, but can he master them in time to win over the local judges?
In ‘Rio – Copacabana, Caipirnha Cooking Conundrum,’ he is in the Brazilian city of Rio de Janiero, home of the famous carnival, Ipanema beach, bossa nova music and the caipirinha cocktail. Here Aaron faces tough competition: Auntie Lea’s shrimp cooked in a whole pumpkin at Vidigal favela, master chef Ludmilla Soero and her charcoal grilled tuna, or Maria and the trendiest feojiada (a stew of beef and pork considered by many as Brazil’s national dish). In ‘Paraty – Boats, Bananas and Beach Boogie,’ Aaron knows his way round a chopping board but has never been anywhere quite like Paraty, a beautiful beach paradise in Brazil. Locals are relaxed enough to travel by horse and cart. The top chef there likes her seabass with banana and Aaron has to face his fear of deep water to fish for his supper at a restaurant in a cave.
In ‘Kuala Lumpur – Skyscrapers, Satay and Underground Supper Clubs,’ Aaron has a few days to familiarise himself with Malaysian food, and uncover the secrets of KL’s best chefs, ultimately picking one to compete against. In ‘Sydney – Surf, Turf and Braving that Bridge!’ he gets a chance to taste some of their best signature dishes. Sydney has, in recent years, emerged as one of top dining destinations in the world, with its inventive local chefs forging a unique kind of cuisine with their native produce. After trying Korean-inspired street food, a perfect meat pie and a whimsical take on venison, Aaron must pick one for the battle.