Shane Delia's Moorish Spice Journey - Directors Statement

 

Josh Martin (Director), Shane Delia (Presenter), Gilber Farkas (Cinematographer)

On Location - Marrakech, Morocco

 

For many people, the predominate images of the Middle East and Northern Africa, are those seen on the nightly news and more often than not, they show a region beset by political and religious upheaval. It’s a desensitizing experience, and it’s easy to forget that away from the news cameras, millions of people are just trying to go about their daily lives.

In previous seasons of Spice Journey, Shane Delia has travelled through Lebanon, Iran and Turkey, providing an alternative story to counter these all-too-common media reports. It’s a spicy story - filled with real characters, rich history, art, culture, beauty - and food. All of us, regardless of race, creed or colour, revel in a good meal shared with loved ones. How good would it be if these were the images brought to mind when discussing this region?

In this new series, our destination is Morocco and Andalucía. We trace the path the Arabs took when they brought their religion across Northern Africa into Morocco, and across the Straits of Gibraltar into Europe. The Moors ruled the Iberian Peninsula for close to 800 years, but they brought more than just religion – they brought art, culture, an advanced civic society and yes, they brought new food, flavours and culinary techniques. 

This was an incredible series to shoot. Morocco is a spectacular, exotic and welcoming country. And Andalucía is a vast, sprawling area of Spain full of vivacious, cheeky and creative people. But what was fascinating to the crew and I, were the links between these two regions. The Andalucían cuisine is firmly grounded in Moroccan ingredients and techniques, but its evolution over the course of 500-odd years has taken these dishes in surprising new directions.

And just as the Andalucíans have evolved the cuisine of the Moors, it’s intriguing to watch Shane re-invent them again to serve in his own Australian restaurant. We have refreshed the format this season in an attempt to really get into the mind of a chef. We get to witness Shane as he mulls over ideas and scribbles down notes before heading into his brand new test kitchen where the act of creation kicks off! But the best bit is seeing customers in his restaurant trying these new dishes for the first time. 

It’s a subtle, but effective update of the Spice Journey format, and I hope the audience has as much fun watching it, as we had making it.

JOSH MARTIN

Director, Producer, Writer - Shane Delia's Moorish Spice Journey