Chilli connoisseur: Peter Kuruvita.
He's already sharpened our appetites for Sri Lankan spice and the cuisine of the South Pacific - now SBS's intrepid food-splorer, Peter Kuruvita, is turning his attention to Mexican cuisine.
Tell you what, we don't half feel like eating tacos after watching your show …
That's good! [laughs] But what about the grasshoppers and the ants? Or you didn't get to that part yet?
Um … not yet - something to look forward to! What made you choose Mexico for your latest series?
Look how topical Mexican food is right now - in Australia we're starting to see real Mexican food hit a lot of restaurants. But that has really only been in the last five years - at the most. We have always had an affinity with Mexican food, but I don't really think it was real Mexican food, it was Tex-Mex.
There's a difference?
Absolutely. And we wanted to show more than just that. Also, I think there was a bit of, ''How 'bout we take Peter and throw him into a situation he's not very comfortable in and see how he goes?'' That was another train of thought. So you'll get to see my absolutely shocking Spanglish when I order my first burrito in episode one!
We did notice.
They were thinking of cutting it, but I was like, ''No, let's leave it.'' You go from any country through Asia where everyone speaks a bit of English, to if you don't have Spanish, see you later! So I had to learn very quickly. But the thing that brought it together for me, and made it real, was the people and the food. The language I came around to by the second or third week. That first order of the burrito, though - I can't wait until all my South American and Spanish friends see it!
How many weeks did you spend filming?
It was just over three months. We came home for two weeks in the middle of it.
How many of you are on the road?
It's a little guerilla team - a soundie, a director, a cameraman and then myself and a food assistant, who is another chef. We also have a fixer from Mexico.
How did you end up deciding where to visit?
We wanted the viewer to see how diverse the country is. That was prerequisite No. 1. The second was the food - we looked for food destinations. Third was scenery and showing the ''big things'', like Mexico City, the Copper Canyon, Oaxaca, San Cristobal … we tried to add a little bit of everything.
Did you have a favourite spot?
I would have to say, for an amazing feel, and a place I thought, ''I would bring my family here'', it would be San Cristobal. It is just stunning. And to satisfy my wild, crazy passion for travel would be Zacatecas, an old silver-mining town.
All that spicy food - how did your stomach cope by the end of three months?
I'm a Sri Lankan, so I eat spicy a lot. What got me is … this amazing variety of chilli. Once you crack the code (of what's what), then the secret of spicing up Mexican food is way open.
Did you have any close encounters with particularly hot ones?
I think the thing that really did me was - I ate a habanero. And I was instantly covered in sweat! Seriously, my mind and body disconnected … While standing I lost consciousness for a few seconds! It was the most intense experience.
That sounds full on!
We got further south and our cameraman, who doesn't eat a lot of chilli, gets this beautiful goat taco, with red salsa sauce. He puts a big spoonful on - and he couldn't talk. He couldn't film. He couldn't do anything! We have photos - the poor guy.
Mexican Fiesta with Peter Kuruvita, SBS One, Thursday, 7.30pm.