Documentary Australia Foundation

Next submission deadline is
16 May 2014


Director /
Philip Nelson
2010 November
AUD $840,000
6 episodes of 25 each minutes
Health & Wellbeing

About the film

Steve Sunk is a Masterchef who has spent 20 years perfecting his knowledge and cooking techniques with indigenous cuisine particular to the Aboriginal communities in northern Australia. He has developed an inspiring fusion of Western cuisine and traditional Aboriginal foods.

Miriam Rose Bauman, an articulate and humorous Aboriginal elder, has worked with Steve for the last 15 years teaching communities about nutrition and traditional food, providing an alternative to the fried fast food that's caused diabetes and coronary disease epidemics.

Together they have written the first cordon bleu bush tucker cook book, 'Walkabout Chefs', with recipes such as bush banana salad with balsamic vinegar, kangaroo tail braised in Italian tomato and herb sauce, and wild greens and crocodile frittata.

This six part series will explore the invaluable work that Steve and Miriam do in re-introducing traditional foods and how these will assist in improving the health and living standards of Aboriginal communities.

The Walkabout Chef will also introduce the world to the way traditional food in northern Australia was caught and prepared, while giving viewers ideas for using this knowledge in their own cooking, through their fusion recipes.

But, this is not just another cooking series. On show will be the spectacular areas of northern Australia, much of which will be shot on locations in Aboriginal lands that have had little previous camera access. Picturesque billabongs teeming with barramundi and huge freshwater prawns. Giant lotus pads afloat upon fertile flood plains hiding fat snakes and crocodiles. A veritable cornucopia of traditional food.

And, each week will be a new location and a new celebrity chef to match skills with Steve and the locals. We'll see elders passing on traditional hunting and gathering methods to boys, as well as exploring the local history, rituals and of course , food.

We are planning that some of Steve's best local students be offered apprenticeships in the kitchens of the visiting celebrity chefs.

Steve has been the subject of episodes from 2 US cooking series previously and has displayed a natural talent for TV

Total Project Budget

AUD $840,000

Length of Production

6 episodes of 25 each minutes

Stage of Production


How does the project meet the aims of a philanthropic foundation?

This is not another cooking show – far from it. The aim of this production is to document the extensive variety of indigenous food and its preparation, particularly that food of the indigenous people of Northern Australia.
It is anticipated that this series will serve as a catalyst which will serve to change the eating habits of indigenous people, many of whom are now faced with the possibility of diabetes and other debilitating health issues brought about by over dependency in the last decades on food quite alien to their traditional eating habits, particularly fried "fast" food.

This series will be an important way to bring about a change in bad eating habits and will serve to show how current health issues amongst Indigenous communities can be avoided by resorting to more traditional eating patterns.

What outcomes do you hope to achieve by making this film and how will you measure its impact?

The greatest outcome would be to see a decline in diabetes and coronary disease amongst Indigenous communities. This may be too much to expect in the short term – but having a record of what was traditional fare and how it was prepared will be a valuable first step in achieving this aim as a long-term goal. What better record than to have an entertaining series serving to entertain and educate at the same time, and one that can go on for many years as a record depicting traditional methods of food gathering and preparation.

Utilising the talents of Steve Such and Miriam Bauman, as well as highlighting the beauty of Northern Australia, should also do much to promote the attractiveness of this region to overseas visitors which in an indirect way assist in tourist activities and assist Aboriginal employment.

What is your education and outreach strategy

The DVD of this program will be distributed for free to communities in Northern Australia as an educational tool. It will also be screened on TV in Australia and distributed on DVD.

Additionally written teaching material will be produced to cover all indigenous food preparation in the series – plus some ideas for fusion cooking. It is hoped that this will provide inspiration for restaurant ventures amongst the indigenous communities of Northern Australia.

The intention is to produce an entertaining series that will be attractive to broadcasters internationally thus ensuring widespread distribution. It is hoped that a European co-production partner will become involved in this production and produce a second version more palatable to the myriad food timeslots that have grown on networks right around Europe.

Who are the filmmakers responsible for the project?

Pria Viswalingam - Director -Possibly best known for his nine series "FORK IN THE ROAD" Pria has been involved in producing, directing, writing and presenting TV series for SBS and ABC for 18 years.
Dixi Joy Bankier - Producer - Dixi Joy is a Darwin-based writer and independent producer of documentaries.
Philip Nelson - Executive Producer - Philip has been working in the film and television industries for more than 30 years in the areas of production, investment, sales and marketing.