A new BBC television series hits our screens next week featuring mouth-watering recipes from around the world, stunning locations and a pair of refreshingly unpretentious motorcycle-riding presenters known as the 'Hairy Bikers'.
Long time friends Simon King and Dave Myers aren't the most obvious choice for television chefs. However the pair of northern bikers - who class themselves as "foodies" not cooks - are set to capture the imagination of food lovers everywhere with The Hairy Bikers Cookbook, which starts next Tuesday (January 17) on BBC2 at 8.30pm.
The pair met 17 years ago in the last place you'd expect to find two bikers with a passion for decent food - on the set of a Catherine Cookson television drama. Dave is a former furnace man from Barrow-in-Furness who worked as a make-up artist specialising in prosthetics. Simon is originally from Newcastle upon Tyne and worked as a First Assistant Director and locations manager for many TV series and films, including the Harry Potter movies.
Riding motorcycles to far-flung places; an obsession with adventure and food; and their laugh-out loud capacity for fun is the beguiling recipe that has persuaded television bosses to turn their adventures into a prime time TV series.
Calling themselves the 'Hairy Bikers', Dave and Simon journey to fascinating locations, meet the indigenous population and learn to cook the regional delicacies (or otherwise) that are inextricably linked to the cultures and lifestyles they discover and often embrace.
Naturally, the opportunity to combine their two major passions - bikes and food - was hard to resist, as Dave explains: "We were mates and loved getting on our bikes and journeying to discover great food and the stories behind it, but work kept getting in the way. We thought it would be a great life if we could just ride bikes, cook food and get paid to talk about it. And now here we are - it's a dream come true."
Building on the success of a critically acclaimed BBC 2 pilot transmission several months ago, the documentary-style 'road-trips' combine travel and cooking - adventures of the road and palate - with Dave and Simon as rough and ready guides. The first two episodes find them in Namibia where they cook crocodile satay, ostrich eggs and crayfish, as well as covering more than 1,000 kilometres of spectacular off-road terrain on BMW R1200 GS machines.
In the first series Dave and Simon also visit the Isle of Man, Ireland and Transylvania. The second series - due out later in the year - sees them riding through Turkey, Vietnam and Mexico.
A book containing all the recipes cooked by the Hairy Bikers will be published by Penguin in mid-April, and a DVD of both series is also planned for release later in the year.
For comprehensive information on the forthcoming series, please visit the www.hairybikers.com website.