Ever the underdogs, a little cheer goes up from our sunburnt country whenever an Australian makes it on the world culinary stage. Take Mark Best and Shane Osborn coming that close to bringing home the trophy on Netflix's The Final Table, Attica's Ben Shewry claiming his own episode on season one of Chef's Table, or … journalist Annabel Crabb presenting at The World's 50 Best Restaurants award ceremony in Singapore last year.
Lennox Hastie is the latest chef to receive the international spotlight. The executive chef of Sydney's fire-fuelled restaurant Firedoor appears in episode two of Chef's Table: BBQ, the latest iteration of the globe-trotting food documentary series where barbecue and open-fire cooking are the focus.
The trailer, released today, shows exquisitely framed clips of Hastie at his Sydney restaurant and at an outdoor grill, all leaping yellow flames, glowing coals, smoke, and close-ups of Hastie's pensive expression as he tends to a wood-fire grill. "Cooking with fire, it's something that has a life, because you're never fully in control. The fire's in control," he says in the trailer.
[Watch the trailer for Chef's Table: BBQ below.]
Hastie honed his open-fire skills at Etxebarri, the celebrated wood-fired kitchen in Spanish Basque Country, before opening Firedoor in 2014. "My fascination with fire very much began at an early age [...] and I think it's something that's innately human. It's a very primal element," he told Gourmet Traveller at the time.
Hastie's episode was filmed earlier this year in Sydney. A still from the episode, as featured on director Brian McGinn's Instagram, shows the chef walking through Sydney's Carriageworks carrying what appears to be a whole animal carcass on a spit, in a style similar to Argentina's al asador.
The four-part series also follows prized pitmasters in Mexico and the USA, including the 85-year-old Tootsie Tomanetz who, until recently, worked weekdays doing maintenance at a local school, and spent her Saturday mornings at Texas barbecue joint Snow's BBQ. (The restaurant has temporarily closed due to the current health crisis.)
The series also heads east to Charleston in South Carolina where Rodney Scott – a James Beard award-winning chef – runs the eponymous Rodney Scott's Whole Hog BBQ restaurant; and south to Yucatán, Mexico where Rosalia Chay Chuc specialises in cochinita pibil. "Rosalia's still cooking like the Mayans did 1000 years ago," says an unnamed narrator in the trailer. "This is where barbecue started."
(Oddly, there's crossover in the current series with Netflix's other golden-child food series, Ugly Delicious, hosted by David Chang. Chay Chuc and Tomanetz appeared in the first season, Hastie in the second. Scott, meanwhile, featured in season two of the Anthony Bourdain-narrated series The Mind of a Chef.)
The first series of Chef's Table débuted on Netflix in 2015, and profiled chefs including Shewry, Dan Barber, Massimo Bottura and Magnus Nilsson. Chef's Table: BBQ is the seventh instalment in the series.
Chef's Table: BBQ premieres on Netflix on September 2.