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Chef Ben Bayly returns for the highly anticipated third season

In this latest season, Bayly takes viewers on a journey across Aotearoa, from Fiordland in the South, to the Bay of Islands in the North, seeking fresh and innovative ideas for his menu at award winning Auckland restaurant, Ahi, and introducing phenomenal New Zealanders who are dedicated to cultivating, hunting, fishing, gathering, and farming some of the world’s finest ingredients, shaping New Zealand’s food scene into a world-class industry.

The intrepid chef, who has steadily gained a reputation for his insatiable curiosity, uncovers the stories that make Aotearoa’s food scene truly exceptional, delving deeper into the producers’ genealogy, their whakapapa.

Regions covered include Central Otago (ep1), Northland (ep2), Waikato (ep3), Marlborough & Canterbury (ep4), Wairarapa (ep5), the Franklin District, Auckland and back to the Waikato (ep6).

This season encompasses more diverse landscapes, from a farmer pioneering climate-resilient peanut cultivation in the far North to the intricate harvest of Wapiti elk in the deep South. The latter, a gift from an American President to New Zealand in the early 1900s, is meticulously managed in a remote world heritage site, accessible solely by a week’s walking or by helicopter.

Amongst other things, Bayly learns why New Zealand aquaculture is leading the way in sustainability, visiting a land-based kingfish farm in Ruakākā. Other episodes demonstrate the diversity of New Zealand’s homegrown produce, from a truffle and hazelnut orchard in Central Otago, to an ostrich farmer in Waipara, then on to a tropical fruit jungle in Waipu, where, in Ben’s opinion they grow fruit more delicious than the tropics and it can be delivered to your door!

In addition to the inspirational Kiwis featured throughout the series, a number of cameo appearances across the season include Cazador chef and game champion Dariush Lolaiy and Angela Clifford, CEO of Eat New Zealand (episode 1), Cuisine editor Kelli Brett (episode 3) and celebrated chef, restaurateur, and food pundit Martin Bosley (episode 5).

Bayly emphasises the need to share New Zealand’s food story with the world, aiming to go beyond showcasing delicious dishes, citing the importance of understanding the people and stories behind each ingredient, transforming the restaurant experience from a meal to a narrative.

“The restaurant game in New Zealand has changed so much in the last few years, and we now know the magic of food and the added value is in the story.

“The story of the people, the story of the ingredient. Who grew it? Why are you using it? Where in New Zealand does it come from? How did you find it?

“A huge part of New Zealand’s economy is food production, so it is important we tell our story loud and proud,” he says.

“Our whole team at the restaurant has learnt the importance of delivering these details to our guests, honouring the mahi of the producer.”

The third season of “A New Zealand Food Story with Ben Bayly” debuts on TVNZ 1 at 7:00 pm on Saturday, February 24, concluding on Saturday, March 30. It also airs on TVNZ DUKE on Sunday, February 25, at 8:00 pm and is available to stream on TVNZ+.

The series is produced by Food Story Productions, with Executive Producers Simon Fleming and Amanda Murphy. The first two seasons are available on TVNZ+ here. For more information see nzfoodstory.com or follow Instagram @newzealandfoodstory.


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