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MasterChef Australia alumni Dan Churchill and Hayden Quinn are taking the reins for ABC’s famous cooking and lifestyle series “Surfing the Menu”, picking up where previous chef hosts Ben O’Donoghue and Curtis Stone left off.

The series started in 2003, ran for four seasons and ended in 2006.

Now, after 10 years, the new season of the series, “Surfing the Menu: The Next Generation” is kicking off with good mates Dan and Hayden anchoring the show.

The two handsome Australian lads share their love for cooking, surfing, finding fresh food, and travelling while heading off on an adventure around Australia in GiGi – their trusty, rusty-fifty-year old VW Bug.


On their journey, they encountered many exciting and memorable experiences with all sorts of people, such as looking for native bees that nest underground, swimming at a secret waterfall, searching for bush medicines and bush foods, ride horses, and surfing at some of the most remarkable locations.

To promote the new series, the two chefs traveled to Malaysia and told us about they feel taking over the show.

“Surfing the Menu: The Next Generation” premieres Monday, 10 October 2016, 9pm on TLC channel (Astro Channel 707).

How do you feel hosting the series?
Dan: Quite honoured actually, because the series always had such a strong foundation from the two other chefs; Curtis and Ben. So to take on a new reign and represent Australia is quite lovely. We are very passionate about our country and we’re very fortunate that we’re able to tell stories to the people.

Hayden: I think it’s one of those things where we get to do what we truly love such as surfing, meet people and cooking. So when you get asked to do what you love to do, it becomes very easy. Hosting the series was a lot of hard work because there’s so much travel and things we had to do on the road, but we were in some of the best parts of Australia and meeting some of the most amazing people, so it became very easy to do.

How is the chemistry between you both?
Hayden: Well, we do love each other!

Dan: Awww! We were on the road together for three and a half months, and in order for it to be successful, you really have to work and respect each other, so we never argued with each other to the point of being angry. Hayden has his own time, and I have my own time.

Hayden: Also, when we’re filming on the road, we started during sunrise and finished when the sun went down, and then we lived together, slept together, we share a room most of the time, so it’s a very close-knit community.

How exactly did you two meet, and when was that?
Hayden: I think just before you [Dan] went on MasterChef.

Dan: Yeah, it was. So, Hayden was on MasterChef in 2011, and I knew him through a mutual friend, so I asked him if it was worth going on MasterChef after he got accepted.

Hayden: Yeah, Dan was on two years after me.

Dan: And it took off from there. We live close to each other, we love being on Masterchef, we’re part of the same alumni, we’re working in the same industry, we both love surfing – everything just happened really naturally.    

Hayden: And then, both of us have our own YouTube channels. So how we kicked off with “Surfing the Menu” was that, Dan and I were filming a little piece for his channel, and a mutual contact of ours told the executive producer of the show, he thought that we have great chemistry, we enjoy being in each other’s company, we both love food, we’re both charismatic, good-looking and amazing…[laughs]

Dan: It just keeps going! [laughs]

Hayden: So from there, we tried to create our own format. We came up with a number of different ideas, and then landed on the “Surfing the Menu” format, and it works.

What is the one thing that you both cannot agree on?
Hayden: We have two different surfing styles, we have quite similar cooking styles, but we cook quite differently in terms of ingredient choices and different techniques, but we still like sharing our food.

What was your biggest challenge during filming?
Dan: Honestly, it’s time. We have so many things we want to tell. There’re so much stories that can be made, but it’s just hard fitting all those in.

Hayden: It’s just a modern day dilemma, isn’t it? Not having enough time. Apart from that, one of the biggest challenges was cooking outside. Australia is very similar to here, especially when you get up north, it’s hot, humid, windy, and sometimes it rains randomly too! It can get pretty crazy.

Do you feel pressured taking over the show from Curtis Stone and Ben O’Donoghue?
Dan: Pressure? No.

Hayden: I don’t think that we’re pressured by it, but it’s definitely a privilege to carry on the torch. The world of food and media have changed so much, so it’s a chance for us to revitalise the show, do something a little bit different, and put our own spin on it.

Dan: Plus, we want to connect people with social media as well. So Ben and Curtis couldn’t do that because they didn’t have social media back then, it’s a massive difference because of that. So it’s really important for us to take what they do, with this series as the foundation, and go forward and express our ways and communicate.

What are your thoughts on Asian food in general?
Dan: It’s so diverse!

Hayden: I think what I love about Asian food is that, similar to the food that we love to cook – it’s full of flavour! It’s always got something that’s just going to punch you in the mouth. It’s really flavourful, exciting and fresh. The usage of herbs and spice really gets us going. The other thing with Asian food is the texture.

Dan: Asian food also has family values as it has a lot of communion style of eating, like hotpot. It’s not only bring so many cultures together, but also family as well.

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In conjunction with the new episodes of the series, TLC Asia is giving away “Surfing the Menu: The Next Generation” autographed cookbooks to five lucky winners.

To win the cookbook which comes together with a TLC goodie bag and a TLC tumbler, all you have to do is answer the following question below.

Where are Dan Churchill and Hayden Quinn from? 
a) United Kingdom
b) Europe
c) Cambodia
d) Australia

Submit the answer to contest@cinemaonline.asia, together with your full name, IC no, address and contact details.

The contest will run from today onwards, 4 October 2016 until Monday, 10 October 2016.