Mexican Fiesta with Peter Kuruvita - Director's Statement

Mexican Fiesta Field Crew

Josh Martin, Travis Henry, Maritza Carbajal, Gary Lacroix, Peter Kuruvita, Gilbert Farkas - On Location in Mexico.

Taco Tuesdays were a big part of my childhood. Mum would cook up the mince in the Sunbeam electric fry pan, open a yellow Taco kit and serve it up with iceberg lettuce, sour cream, tomatoes, salsa and guacamole. It was one of my favourite weekday dinners and I thought Mexican food was great!

Having spent a year working on Mexican Fiesta, I now know that calling this type of supermarket kit Mexican is like putting a Cape Grim eye fillet in the microwave. Sure, its edible, but it’s just not right.

I was raised in Queensland and if someone was described as a Mexican, it meant they lived south of the Tweed. This slightly pejorative term is a result of the heavy cultural influence of the USA, which for many decades has coloured Australia’s view of Mexico.

For no specific reason, Mexico and Australia have never been particularly close friends. We are on opposite sides of the planet, with no direct flights and a lot of what we hear is filtered through American eyes. We hear reports of violence, poverty and asylum seekers but being so far away it doesn’t really affect us. Having now spent three months filming Mexican Fiesta, one of the big surprises for me is how similar our two countries really are. We are both strong multicultural societies, we both share a similar self-deprecatory humour; both countries have an innate sense of social justice but above all, we both love a great chat over good food and drink.

Mexico is an amazing country, so different to what I thought. I hope that over the course of these 10 episodes, our viewers will look at the country in a different light. We tried to show our audience the incredibly rich, proud and varied cultures that exist - a collection of cultures that stretch back many thousands of years.

I’m incredibly lucky to be part of a team making these types of food shows for SBS. At first glance, they may just appear to be cooking shows, but they’re so much more than that. By learning the recipes and rituals of a foreign country, by travelling the roads, meeting the people and having our cameras invited behind closed doors – any differences in appearance, customs and religion completely disappear over a plate of shared food.

Ultimately, it is just a TV show and I hope what we’ve made is fun, happy and entertaining, or to borrow a phrase, guilt free viewing. We’ve pulled out all stops to discover interesting people, tasty and exotic new meals and we’ve filmed them beautifully in all their high definition glory. I want viewers to be salivating as they watch, even if they have just had dinner! And maybe, just maybe their wanderlust may rouse and they might start thinking about a trip to Mexico.

JOSH MARTIN

Writer, Producer, Director - Mexican Fiesta with Peter Kuruvita