Cracking the Chinese market, one dish at a time

24 October, 2016 by Staff Writer

Adelaide chef Jock Zonfrillo and Shandong chef Qu Jianmin.


A South Australian production company is making inroads into the labyrinthine Chinese market with cooking show Chef Exchange, which follows Adelaide chef Jock Zonfrillo and Shandong chef Qu Jianmin as they explore each other’s food, culture and customs.

Four half-hour episodes of the show, made by Adelaide company 57 Films, will be screened on China Central TV News, which is broadcast to 180 countries around the world. 

57 Films has also worked on a series for Port Adelaide Football Club, broadcast weekly on CCTV in China, and a promotional film for the City of Qingdao.

Chef Exchange was filmed across South Australia and showcases many of the state’s food and wine regions, including the Barossa Valley, Port Lincoln and City of Adelaide.

Season one was produced in partnership with China’s Shandong-based Qingdao TV (QTV), with support from the South Australian Film Corporation and South Australian Tourism Commission. 

Chef Exchange is helping to create awareness of the state’s primary producers in a key export market with Boston Bay Wines, Ferguson Australia Lobster, Hutton Vale Farm and Seppeltsfield Winery among those featured in the first series,” 57 Films Director and show producer Paul Ryan said.

That's good news for tourism as well as export orders, said Ryan.

“The awareness of the state being created in China through Chef Exchange and shortly around the world is something that would never have been possible with traditional advertising. It would have been simply too expensive and wouldn’t have had the airtime, cut through into Chinese homes and credibility of a TV program.”

The show's first season saw 20 South Australians employed on shoots in SA and China, with all pre and post production undertaken at 57 Films Halifax Street and Adelaide Studios offices.

57 Films has now established a Chinese office, and is starting work on a second season.

“Chinese broadcasters QTV and CCTV have already made a commitment to screen a second series," said Ryan. "Series two has the potential to reach a much bigger audience."