A report by Jil Hogan for The Canberra Times.
Growing up in Trinidad in the Caribbean, Wayne Joseph would shadow his mother in the kitchen from a young age.
“We come from a bit of a foodie culture. So I’d watch what mum was doing and sometimes before she’d come home I’d try replicating a dish. There were many failures but eventually I got the hang of it,” he said.
“Then tasting everything basically allowed me to get a hang of the ingredients and then do my own thing.”
Now living in Canberra, it was that experience that made him apply for The Chefs’ Line, a new SBS cooking show starting on April 3.
The show explores a different cuisine each week, partnering up with a restaurant of that cuisine. Four home cooks are challenged to cook dishes from the restaurant, first against the apprentice chef, then the best three take on the station chef the next night. The top two then take on the sous chef on Wednesday, with the remaining home cook going up against the head chef on Thursday.
Joseph features in the second week of the show, which focusses on African cuisine, and he and three others cook off against the chefs at Adelaide restaurant Africola.
“Their chefs were very inspiring but also intimidating as hell. They do this day in day out – we have day jobs. I think I respect them even more now, the team at Africola I imagine producing perfection night after night day after day,” Joseph said.
After going to university in Texas, Joseph moved to Canberra six years ago on a Rotary scholarship. He lives in Braddon and since finishing his studies, has worked as a student welfare advisor at ANU.
It was after spending two months in Europe and South Africa last year, “travelling according to what I wanted to eat,” that he decided to apply for the show, and said he was thrilled to be selected.
Post the show, Joseph said he now wants to work in food, and plans to return to the Caribbean
“I want to try to develop my own stuff, but also to tour the region and get a better sense of my food culture, because it’s quite diverse, every island has their own take on things. And I think I want to be the person that starts representing more of a global view of Caribbean food and culture,” he said.
The Chefs’ Line premiers April 3 on SBS weeknights at 6pm.