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Episode 69: An Italian Cook in Rural Victoria

Stefano de Pieri

In this episode of Extravirgin, we talk with Italian-born cook and restaurateur Stefano de Pieri about authentic Italian food and why such a small country as Italy has such a diverse food culture - expect everything from food for feasts to the genius creations of the "cucina povera" or "poverty cooking."

Stefano, who has run a successful restaurant and cafe in regional Victoria for 30 years, is passionate about using the food of his local area in the Murray-Darling Basin, known as the food bowl of Australia.

We discuss threats to the waterway, the significance of the native Murray cod, and what changes our food producers are putting in place to preserve this delicate eco-system; and we hear of the fortitude of our farmers as they withstand the bitter cycles of drought and flood.

In our interview, the award-winning restaurateur pulls no punches as he discusses the environment and his frustrations with the Australian palate but Stefano's love of his adopted community shines through. Back in the 1990s, Stefano first shone a light on the Murray River in his acclaimed book and tv series, A Gondola on the Murray.

Twenty years later, he has a new tv series, Australia's Food Bowl with Stefano de Pieri, in which he meets the people who produce our food and then uses the produce of the region to whip up great Italian-inspired food. The 10 part series airs on SBS Food from 27 May, 2021.

Buon appetito! LISTEN HERE


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