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Huey cooks up a storm

Thursday, 24th March, 2011

CULINARY DELIGHTS: Iain 'Huey' Hewitson cooked dishes made from kangaroo and quandong outside the Court House yesterday. CULINARY DELIGHTS: Iain 'Huey' Hewitson cooked dishes made from kangaroo and quandong outside the Court House yesterday.

By Kurtis Eichler

It's been a big year for celebrity chef Iain 'Huey' Hewitson, who survived a devastating earthquake, celebrated 20 years on television, and made his first visit to Broken Hill.

Here to film segments for his new international cooking series, 'Never Trust a Skinny Cook', Huey will visit and cook at a number of different places including Pro Hart's gallery and the Broken Earth restaurant.

The host of 'Huey's Kitchen' spoke with the BDT yesterday in the Palace Hotel's lobby where he and his crew shot several scenes.

"We wanted to break up the train trip, and I just loved the idea of the history of it," he said.

"This is not something I know a hell of a lot about. Remember, I'm originally a New Zealander, and I found it really fascinating to hear the story about BHP."

'Huey's Kitchen' has just finished its 11th season, and last year was the highest rating daytime show in Australia.

Huey said through his new show he hoped to entice train travellers to spend more time in the Silver City.

"We're going to be doing the touristy things. You know we're obviously going to talk about the history of Broken Hill," he said.

"I'm cooking with some quandongs, I'm doing some kangaroo with some salt bush lamb, so that's sort of the cooking part of it, but a heck of a lot's to do with the tours that come off the train.

"What I'm encouraging people to understand is they can hop off for a couple of days and pick up the next train."

A chef for 40 years, Huey's brother, Don, who runs several London wine bars, got him into the profession.

"It's his fault. I started off as a dish washer and for many years was a serious chef in the sense that I ran serious restaurants," Huey said.

"And then television came along so I was quite lucky because cooking's a young man's game."

Mr Hewitson now owns and operates Barney Allen's Bar and Diner in St Kilda in Melbourne.

Now in his 20th year on-screen, Huey gave fans the secret of his success.

"I think the main reason I have survived is because my aim was always to get people into the kitchen," he said.

"It's getting them out of the frozen food department and actually into the fresh food department to buy a carrot and a lettuce or something like that and make something."

Huey also gave the thumbs up to some of the city's food.

"One of the crew on the train recommended the Chinese restaurant just around the corner. I thought 'oh yeah this is going to be interesting' because someone recommends it maybe their cousin owns it or something. It was fantastic, the food was terrific."

Huey is nearly always travelling and last month he was in Christchurch when the devastating earthquake hit.

"We were in New Zealand and our plane was delayed so we went for lunch. We were actually staying in the Cathedral Square ... and we just went around the corner to have lunch and we're sitting there and we were outside and the whole bloody floor just got up and moved, just absolutely right in front of our eyes, and the inside fell down," he said.

"It was scary stuff ... we were very lucky. We got out of there and the building behind us had fallen down completely. The one where we were, which was three or four stories, was still intact, so that could have fallen down and we could have been in deep (trouble)."

Tomorrow Huey will reboard the train and make his way back to Melbourne.

Film BH's Lyndall Roberts said they had been pitching ideas to Huey and his production team for months before he came to the city.

"It's really exciting to have a well known chef visit us in the city and because Huey's cooking shows are very popular in daytime TV, it just gives Broken Hill more great exposure," Ms Roberts said.

"Especially since the Amazing Race has just aired and we are fresh in people's minds."

It is not yet known when 'Never Trust a Skinny Cook' will air in Australia.

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