John Torode’s Australia: the MasterChef judge heads home for a culinary road trip

The TV cook serves up his home nation on a plate in his new Good Food series. Read on for his top travel and eating tips when visiting Down Under

New South Wales native John Torode cooks in five states and travels 3,293km for his new ten-part series John Torode’s Australia. Catching up with past employees, family and friends, he offers an intimate look at how Aussies perceive their food. “What we seem to do in the UK is go and do a huge shop on Sundays, chuck it all in the fridge and then bin half of it on Thursday,” says Torode. In Australia, he buys food fresh every day, the fresher the better.


During the series, the MasterChef judge hunts crabs with Aborigines using a spear, and dives for abalone [sea snails] with a Tasmanian local. “I went with a guy called Rob, who takes people out diving, grabs some abalone and lobsters from the sea, then cooks them on the boat and gives you a glass of wine – all while you’re out in the middle of the water.”

He also rummages around markets in New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia, as well as visiting the rainforest and huge fruit farms in Queensland. “It was a really incredible journey,” says Torode.

The produce in Australia is diverse, a product of its varied climate, he says. “Australia is a massive country – at one end it’s freezing cold and at the other end it’s boiling hot. But the only reason food becomes what it is is because communities come together. And that’s what’s happened in Australia.”

The Greeks followed the Brits to Australia; Chinese and Americans came during the Gold Rush. After the Second World War, Lebanese, Italians and Russians made their way Down Under, as did Vietnamese after the Vietnam War. And according to Torode, critics of the Australian love of “fusion food” are running out of arguments. “If the first chilli hadn’t been brought to India from South America, there would never have been chillies in India. If Columbus hadn’t brought potato across to Europe, we wouldn’t have fish and chips in Britain. You can see the cultural diversity of a place very simply by the food. 

“Give Aussie food a go – go to the places packed full of locals, not tourists. If you’re wrong, think of it as a life experience.”

John Torode’s Australia begins on Monday 3rd March on Good Food (Sky / HD 247, Virgin 260)

Visit Australia with Radio Times Travel, see here for more details

John Torode picks his top spots to try food in Aus…


Go to the fruit farms where they have these wonderful, massive fruits called jackfruit. They’re like a cross between a melon, an apple and a marshmallow — and absolutely delicious. And eat the beef at the top end of Queensland. It’s all hand-raised beef, b2red out on the open plains — really good.


You’ve got to go and eat a bit of crocodile when you’re in Australia, and there’s nothing better than croc and chips. You can get it all around the country.

Perth and Rottnest Island

Go here for the rock lobster. It’s just the most amazing thing in the world — it’s got no claws on it, it’s just got a big shell.


In Tasmania, you will discover some of the most incredible Japanese food that you have ever had in your life. They grow more wasabi [a fiery horseradish] than anywhere outside Japan. Tasmania also supplies a quarter of the abalone produced in the whole world.

South Australia

There are two things that come out of the fresh waterways: yabbies and marron, which are both freshwater crayfish. Marron (left), which originate in Western Australia, are a lot bigger and more expensive, but they are absolutely beautiful.


If you want to eat great Lebanese food, there’s an area in the west of Sydney called Greenacre where you can have manoush for breakfast. It’s a flatbread, which they put tomato and oregano on and then roll up.


Go to Melbourne and to my mind you’ll find the best Greek food in the world — the food in the bakeries and delis is unbelievable. Also, there’s a guy I’ve known for years who runs a café called Marios. Have a coffee here and you’ll realise what coffee is all about.

John Torode’s Australia begins on Monday 3rd March on Good Food (Sky / HD 247, Virgin 260)

Visit Australia with Radio Times Travel, see here for more details