Author, chef, bon vivant and redhead, Peta Mathias has explored food and cooking on New Zealand television screens for more than 10 years — many of them spent presenting the various titles of the Taste series. Over two seasons of Taste Takes Off, Peta visited 16 destinations — chosen for their culinary diversity and cultural interest — in Asia, Europe, Australia and the Americas to get an insight into the origins of their cuisines, meet some of the locals, discover the stories behind the flavours and try her hand at cooking some signature dishes.
In her second series of culinary globetrotting, chef and author Peta Mathias visits Beijing to explore the food of Northern China. She finds a cuisine shaped by harsh winters and scorching summers — and influenced by Mongol invaders and centuries of imperial dynasties (but Mao’s heyday is only glimpsed in a theme restaurant run by an American). A night market offers delicacies including locusts, scorpions, cockroaches and silkworms, and Peta investigates Peking Duck, the ubiquitous dumplings and just a few of the ways that duck eggs can be preserved.