Maori Television’s new cooking presenter Manawa Wright may not be trying to emulate famous television chef Jamie Oliver but he definitely comes close in new culinary series TAO premiering on Friday May 7 at 6.00 PM.
A 100 per cent Maori language cooking show, TAO takes viewers on a journey to find cost effective, nutritious, healthy meals that are targeted at rangatahi cooks aged between 14 and 25 years. “I don’t pretend to be an accomplished chef,” admits Manawa (Ngati Rangitihi). “In fact, just like the viewers, I’m going on a culinary journey particularly in terms of my proficiency in the kitchen. It’s been a real trip for me to take lessons in dicing and chopping in order to look better on camera as the show progresses!”
TAO – which has many meanings including ‘cooked’ – comprises 32 half-hour episodes that take viewers to a different home every week, giving advice to suit varied lifestyles and budgets. Each episode is unique depending on logistics such as size of the individual kitchen, with the ultimate aim of benefitting the family’s health and pockets. In addition to the cooking element, the show includes tips on choice of produce and food bargains. The focus of the show also depends on individual guests’ backgrounds such as whether they are single, flatmates, tertiary students, stay at home parents or working households.
Manawa admits he’s finding the expert guidance of qualified clinical nutritionist Noella Taiapa (Ngati Porou, Rongowhakaata) also helpful on a personal basis. “TAO has taught me how to cook yummy nutritious meals in just 30 minutes. And learning about the nutritional value of different produce has been amazing.” Ultimately TAO aims to be a fun way to teach people how to cook healthy kai. Manawa adds: “I’m not a professional chef and may not be cutting perfectly but the meals still come out great. The idea is to enable everyone to make fantastic meals fast.”
The show’s producer, Pirihira Hollings (Te Arawa, Rangitane o Wairarapa, Te Atihaunui a Paparangi, Raukawa) says she was one of six in her family and had to cook from the age of 14. “It would have been nice to have had alternative yummy ideas to help vary the meals I prepared. And even though my dad was a talented cook, I ended up cooking the same meals when he had to work late only because I didn’t know better.”
Join Manawa on his journey to healthy, cost effective eating with TAO – screening on Maori Television every Friday at 6.00 PM from May 7.