Surfing the Menu

Watch Surfing the Menu

  • 2004
  • 4 Seasons
  • 7.9  (20)

Surfing the Menu is an Australian cooking show that first aired on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation in 2003. The show stars Ben O'Donoghue and Curtis Stone, two well-known Australian chefs, as they travel along the Australian coast in search of the country's best seafood. They are joined by Mark Gardner, a surfer and fisherman who helps them catch some of the local seafood.

The show is split into two parts, with each episode featuring a different type of seafood. The first part of each episode sees the trio travelling to a different coastal town, where they explore the local area and learn about the local seafood. They meet with local fishermen and fishmongers, and try their hand at catching some of the seafood themselves, before heading to a local restaurant to sample some of the local dishes.

The second part of each episode takes place in a kitchen, where O'Donoghue and Stone cook up a series of dishes using the seafood they have collected. They each create two dishes, with Gardner acting as judge, and the winner receiving the coveted Surfing the Menu trophy.

One of the things that makes Surfing the Menu stand out from other cooking shows is the focus on seafood. Australia has over 59,000 kilometers of coastline, and the show takes advantage of this, showcasing some of the lesser-known seafood that is native to Australia's waters. The show also highlights the importance of sustainable fishing, with the team ensuring that they only catch seafood that is in season and that they have been given permission to catch.

The show's presenters are a key part of its appeal. O'Donoghue and Stone are both experienced chefs, and they bring their own unique personalities to the show. O'Donoghue is the more laid-back of the two, with a love of BBQ and a passion for surfing. Stone, on the other hand, is more focused and intense, and brings his experience as a Michelin-starred chef to the show.

Gardner, meanwhile, is the show's wildcard. As a surfer and fisherman, he has an intimate knowledge of the Australian coastline, and his enthusiasm for fishing is infectious. He also serves as a foil to the two chefs, often poking fun at them and providing a unique perspective on the dishes they create.

The show's production values are also impressive. The coastal towns that the team visits are beautifully shot, with the show making the most of the natural beauty of the Australian coastline. The cooking segments are also well-produced, with the team using a range of techniques and ingredients to create their dishes.

Surfing the Menu was well-received by critics and viewers alike when it first aired, and it has since become something of a cult classic. The show's mix of stunning scenery, delicious food, and quirky personalities makes it an enjoyable watch for anyone with an interest in cooking or travel. It also showcases the many different facets of Australian cuisine, making it an important cultural touchstone for those interested in learning more about the country's culinary traditions.

In conclusion, Surfing the Menu is a charming and engaging cooking show that makes the most of its unique Australian setting. The combination of beautiful scenery, delicious seafood, and quirky personalities makes it an enjoyable watch for anyone, and its focus on sustainable fishing practices makes it an important contribution to the wider debate on environmentalism and food sustainability.

Surfing the Menu is a series that is currently running and has 4 seasons (32 episodes). The series first aired on January 13, 2004.

Surfing the Menu
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Southern Lakes, New Zealand
8. Southern Lakes, New Zealand
January 4, 2007
Bender and Mark are in a chopper with wilderness expert Jeremaia taking them out to Big Bay past snow covered peaks and thick dense forests to meet back-woodsman Dale Hunter.
Wairarapa, New Zealand
7. Wairarapa, New Zealand
January 11, 2007
Bender and Mark surf an amazing break on a black volcanic beach. Nearby they help a lobsterman beach his boat with the help of a bulldozer.
Hawke's Bay, New Zealand
6. Hawke's Bay, New Zealand
January 18, 2007
Bender is a fly-fishing tragic and the world-expert on flies is Derek Quilliam who makes the boys Trout Flies for the exact lake they're going to. He sends them off to find Marlene Skeet at Lake Tutira.
Bay of Plenty and Rotorua, New Zealand
5. Bay of Plenty and Rotorua, New Zealand
January 25, 2007
We open inside a 1954 Sea Otter Float Plane flying over steaming volcanoes and geysers. We then land on the shores of Mokoia Island where they meet Mark's Maori friend Charles Royal, an expert in wild native herbs and spices.
Marlborough, New Zealand
4. Marlborough, New Zealand
December 21, 2006
From the tranquil Marlborough Sounds the region spreads south along some amazing beaches with spectacular views, plus vineyard after vineyard.
Northland, New Zealand
3. Northland, New Zealand
July 1, 2007
At the farm near Keri Keri, Bender and Mark meet award-winning young cheesemaker and surfer Jesse who shows them how to make mascarpone.
Gisborne, New Zealand
2. Gisborne, New Zealand
December 28, 2006
Gisborne is Mark's hometown. He knows everyone and everyone seems to know him. Mark check up on his new surfboard being finished off nearby.
Otago and Canterbury, New Zealand
1. Otago and Canterbury, New Zealand
December 14, 2006
Bender and Mark soar above the spectacular snow-covered Southern Alps in Gliders. Down below them is the Mt Cook Salmon Farm.
Where to Watch Surfing the Menu
Surfing the Menu is available for streaming on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation website, both individual episodes and full seasons. You can also watch Surfing the Menu on demand at Amazon.
  • Premiere Date
    January 13, 2004
  • IMDB Rating
    7.9  (20)