Ainsley Harriott and the produce from the Huon Valley
14 March 2019
In this edition of ‘Stories from the market’ we talk to UK celebrity chef, Ainsley Harriott, who recently visited Salamanca Market, filming for his latest TV show ‘My Market Menu’. We also showcase some of our producers and growers from the beautiful Huon Valley in Tasmania, who will feature in the show when it airs on SBS later in the year.
Above: Ainsley holding one of the dishes he prepared at his Salamanca Market stall.
Spot the celebrity, Ainsley Harriott
It wasn’t hard to play 'pick the celebrity' at the Salamanca Market recently. Just follow the crowds, and that voice. 'Have you seen the oysters? They’re enormous! Oh and sorry Cam, you can call me Bob!' he bellowed good-naturedly, having just called one of the local producers who makes magnificent wood-fired bread by the wrong name.
It’s a glorious, sunny and hot market day, and following the clamour and buzz of cameras zooming in under a canopy, we spy Ainsley Harriott, beloved chef from Britain and larger than life icon, holding court. He’s here to film the last episode of his new series, ‘My Market Menu’, and having a fine old time.
Getting up close and personal with Ainsley is as interesting as the food he cooks. He’s comfortable in front of the camera, that’s for sure, and is excited about the wonderful food and produce he discovered on a whistle-stop tour around Tassie’s south.
And what’s cooking exactly, at the market, with Ainsley on the tools?
'I never know what I’m going to cook ahead of time, but we’ve managed to capture the essence of what’s here today and I must say the quality’s been very high class. Something with oysters. Maybe a nice pickled cucumber sitting on top of a panko-fried oyster with a chilli spring onion and garlic crunched on top of that. An apple isle walnut toast. Oh, and I’m so impressed with the arrangement of the beautiful vegetables over there so we’ll do something with those, and the pickled walnuts, which I didn’t expect to find here in Tasmania! They’re going to go into a walnut salsa on top of some beautiful char-grilled vegetables.’
Ainsley breaks off and asks a local what she thinks of his delicious apple and banana French toast? He gets an enthusiastic thumbs up and continues on, 'It’s just a matter of having a look at what’s available, getting inspired along the way, having a little bit of a go, and taking it from there.'
Above: One of the colourful dishes from the day - Spicy fried Bruny Island oysters, with pickled cucumber.
What does he think of the market itself?
'There’s always been activity down here. I can tell looking at a lot of the old buildings around and the pubs. This is one of the most historical towns I’ve ever been to. You get a sense that there’s something going on here between the stallholders as well, they’re mates, coming here for 29 years some of them. I love the community feel of this place. That’s what a market’s all about. It’s sharing!'
Ainsley heads back to his pop-up kitchen, banters with some Salamanca Market staff and gets down to business. And this time, the queue of willing tasters is getting longer, and longer…
Above left: Ainsley talks to stallholders. Above right: Ainsley was happy to meet two market crew members Warwick and Ebony.
Although we can't share with you the Salamanca market inspired recipes that Ainsley cooked with when he visited, we can share with you some that he prepared earlier. His official website has a great selection of recipes to help inspire you in the kitchen. Visit his website to discover his recipes.
The Salamanca Market produces a regular newsletter featuring stories from the market. To read more stories like this one and find out more about what is happening at the market, sign up to our regular newsletter.