Andy Allen likes to have a few pots on the boil.
The former apprentice electrician from Maitland, in NSW's Hunter Valley, who won MasterChef Australia in 2012, and is now a judge on popular cooking series, somehow found time to film another television show.
It's based on the five Three Blue Ducks restaurants he co-owns.
Allen and fellow Three Blue Ducks head chefs and co-owners Mark LaBrooy and Darren Robertson hit the road for Three Blue Ducks, which premieres on February 13 at 7pm on 10.
The trio, who are known for their shared passion for ethical produce, unique eating experiences and love for the bush and ocean, visit various destinations with a specific goal: to devise a new dish concept, source the produce and test the recipe in the field. Successful dishes will find their way to customers on the Three Blue Ducks menu.
The series kicks off at Port Stephens, a destination close to Allen's heart.
"I really wanted to take Mark and Daz home to see how I got into cooking, and that was literally just going out with my old man, whether it be fishing, spearfishing or foraging," he said.
"When Dad and I went out diving or fishing we would always come back and have a cook-up with family and friends at our holiday house at Fingal Bay.
"I wanted them to experience that, so I took them home and we ended up getting some lovely lobsters and some amazing beef because my mission was to reinvent the classic Surf and Turf.
"We came up with a concept for a dish on the back of that."
It's only in recent years, he says, that he has realised "how amazing Newcastle and surrounding areas are for food, wine and everything in-between".
"It's always been great but when you grow up and move away you really start to realise how good you had it in your own backyard," Allen said.
IN OTHER NEWS:
Three Blue Ducks takes the viewer on a culinary road trip of NSW from Eden up to Byron Bay. Travel restrictions as a result of COVID-19 meant interstate destinations were not an option.
"We were very lucky for it to happen, really. We were able to film six episodes over three weeks in a window between Junior MasterChef and the new season which we are filming now," Allen explained.
"We dive for abalone in Eden, we find trout on the Tumut River near Gundagai, we discover a beautiful duck farm just outside Byron.
"It's a very real representation of what goes on when you're coming up with a concept for a dish - what you have to go through to get that concept into something that's put on a plate and then out to the punters.
"It's a lot of fun and we have a lot of laughs along the way."
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