The series compliments Lim’s “gate to plate” seasonal food philosophy – every episode was filmed on location around New Zealand. Nadia’s quest to discover the best local produce took her to High Country sheep stations in Central Otago, garlic farms in Marlborough and a secret island in Tauranga Harbour where they grow avocados. She ate raw mussels straight out of the sea, drank a cappuccino made with sheep’s milk and picked tiny pinot noir grapes to put in a salad.
An award-winning author and dietician, Lim is a genuine foodie. “New Zealand produce is among the best in the world and it was such an honour to take the time to explore the range of produce in our country. People are becoming increasingly interested in how and where our food is grown and they want assurance it is full of taste and has been produced with nutritional integrity” she says.
Lim shares some delicious and nutritional recipes throughout the series: persimmon and fennel salad; fresh clams and mussels in a spicy coconut broth; sticky chicken drumsticks drizzled with manuka honey and a vanilla dessert with boysenberries.
“New Zealand With Nadia Lim” is made by Auckland-based production company, KM media- who specialise in food and lifestyle programmes. In 2011 and 2012, they made two seasons of “Café Secrets” presented by Julie Le Clerc for tv3.
Producer Kari Hall believes this new series has real relevance: “Parents want to know the food they’re giving their families is safe – so we made a real effort to show where food was grown or how it was raised. This meant travelling from one end of the country to the other during harvest time – to show people what ripening fruit looked like – whether it was boysenberries in Nelson or KiwiBerries in Tauranga.
“In Southland, we saw sheep grazing in a paddock before being milked and then filmed that milk being turned into cheese. We visited a Canterbury sheep station and saw the merino sheep that supply Hellers. We went behind-the-scenes and it was reassuring to see just how open and transparent food production methods are and how high the standards are in New Zealand.”
The programme is also being screened throughout South East Asia, via The Asian Food Channel – the premier food and lifestyle channel in the region. They screen to 11 countries and 130 million viewers – and it’s hoped these important messages will provide a real insight into the quality of New Zealand food.
Lim encountered some real characters throughout her travels. In episode one, she met Chris Redwood- the owner of Omega Seafood – a proud, family business. Redwood grew up on an island in the Marlborough Sounds and his passion for the region and the family were obvious. He took Lim out on his boat – a beautifully restored old whaler, made from solid kauri to see a floating mussel farm.
Some of the High Country Sheep farmers Lim encountered were just as memorable. Duncan McRae of Wanaka, is one of life’s “conservative eaters” but Lim managed to persuade him to eat her Asian-style lamb shanks – and to his surprise, he loved her dish!
Quintin Quider is a former Californian free-diver, he’s now settled in Central Otago and set up his own boutique vineyard, called “Wild Earth Wines”. He showed Lim how to smoke food in an old French wine barrel. They cooked salmon and paua, a few steps from a riverbank – it was a magical setting.