Tweed on Mercurio menu

THE Tweed's famous oysters, fish and mud crabs will be the stars of an episode of Mercurio's Menu filmed at Salt yesterday.

Strictly Ballroom star and former Dancing with The Stars judge Paul Mercurio brought his unique cooking and travel show to the Tweed for a look at the area's produce and natural beauty.

In the popular Channel 7 show, the self-described home cook travels around Australia, teaming up with popular chefs to cook up a storm using locally grown-and-caught produce.

For the Salt segment, Fins@Salt celebrity chef Steven Snow joined Mr Mercurio on camera to cook locally caught oyster and mud crab with the help of native finger limes and lemon myrtle.

"The show is about showcasing the produce, and there is an abundance of that on the Tweed," Mr Mercurio said.

"We want to motivate food lovers to go out and visit the region and source the produce they see in the show. Some times I do things most chefs wouldn't, and take some risks they don't. I learn just as much from them as the viewers at home."

Segments were filmed at several Tweed tourist attractions including Peppers Resort at Salt, Banana Cabana in Chillingham, Madura Tea, Tropical Fruit World, Catch-a-Crab Cruises and Boyd's Bay Oyster Farm.

Following yesterday's shoot at Peppers, Mr Mercurio and his crew will todaythurs take a garden tour and cooking session at Mavis' Kitchen at Mount Warning.

"We are going to go out in the morning to catch some fish in the Tweed River to cook on the show," he said.

"If we cannot catch a fish then we won't be using one we just bought from the shop. That's the thing about the show; we want it to be real."

Mr Mercurio said the area reminded him of why he got into cooking in the first place.

"I remember the first TV cooking I did was a sandwich when I was 13," he said.

"I love the creativity of making and designing a dish."

Tweed Tourism general manager Phil Villiers said the show gave the Tweed region and its produce tremendous exposure.

"Mercurio's Menu provides the perfect vehicle to showcase the Tweed region because the format combines regional produce, local chefs and natural attractions -- all of which we have here in abundance," Mr Villiers said.

"It's exciting to know the show will also be shown in New Zealand and on Jetstar flights coming into Australia."

The Tweed edition of Mercurio's Menu will air as part of the show's second series in February on Channel 7.

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