TV Talks

tv talks white letters on a red tv shape background TV Talks. All things TV. First Tuesday of the month.

TV TALKS is an opportunity to watch, listen and laugh along with a panel of engaging TV industry guests who talk about TV 'stuff' for TV 'people' complemented with some good, old-fashioned networking afterwards!

  • First Tuesday of the month, February through to November.
  • All welcome - however places are limited and RSVP is essential
  • To be placed on the invite list please email


Food, Glorious Food

From The Chef Presents on Channel Seven in 1957 through to a whole menu of food shows on SBS, ABC and Foxtel, not to mention the juggernauts of My Kitchen Rules and Masterchef, Australia has always loved its food programming. At this month’s TV Talks we’ll meet some of the on-screen stars and behind-the-scene creators of our current foodie programming and go behind the scenes to uncover the true story behind our fascination with food.  We’ll also be talking about what Australia’s food shows say about our society - and where the food journey will take us next.


  • Sonja Armstrong – Executive Producer, What’s The Catch
  • Manu Feildel  - Chef and co-host, My Kitchen Rules
  • David McDonald- Co-executive Producer, Masterchef
  • Lyndey Milan -  Foodie and host,  Lyndey Milan’s Taste of Australia
  • MC: Denise Eriksen

Panellist Bios

Sonja Armstrong: Before co-founding Essential Media & Entertainment with partners Chris Hilton and Ian Collie, Sonja was a corporate banker with Citibank, Business Affairs and Finance Director with London based distribution and production company Enterprise Pictures and Development and Production Executive at the Australian Film Commission.

Her credits span across history, popular culture, science, health and food with a particular interest in food: Heat in the Kitchen (Producer), High Steaks: Neil Perry (Producer), Gourmet Farmer (Series 1-3 (Producer and then Executive producer), and EP of Gourmet Farmer Afloat and Shane Delia’s Spice Journey (Series 1-2).

Sonja is currently executive producing What’s The Catch? – an investigative campaign series on Australia’s fishing industry.  In this series food becomes a vehicle to campaign for social change.

Manu Feildel: At a young age Manu started as an apprentice in his father’s restaurant and quickly progressed to a fine dining restaurant to finish his apprenticeship. But soon thereafter the travel bug bit Manu and he packed his knives and headed for London. It was there, working in the top French restaurants in the UK, that Manu really began to understand and love the career he had chosen.

In 1999 Manu flew to Sydney, Australia where his career started to move at a lightning pace — opening Sydney Morning Herald Chef’s Hat winning kitchens across Sydney, and eventually his own restaurant in Paddington.  His newest restaurant venture, Le Grand Cirque, opened in Melbourne in March 2014.

Manu is one of the most popular personalities on Australian television as co-host of the long-running Channel7 series My Kitchen Rules, but he has been a feature on Australian television for over a decade. His appearances include Channel Ten’s Ready Steady Cook, The Circle, Sunrise, Channel 7′s Morning Show, 9am with David & Kim and co-hosting the series Boys Weekend.

My Kitchen Rules debuted in 2010 and has been a huge hit with the finale of the fourth series being the most watched Australian TV event for 2013. The fifth series screened in 2014 and again attracted huge ratings success. In 2011 Manu won the 11th series of Dancing with the Stars showing that he has an array skills outside the kitchen as well!

David McDonald is a director, writer and producer who most recently was Co-Executive Producer on four series of MasterChef, including the series MasterChef the Professionals which won the 2013 AACTA award for Best Reality Series.

Previously he was head writer, producer and director of the SBS satire series Life Support (2001-2003). David has also directed The Election Chaser (2001) for the ABC and Comedy Inc (2003-2004) for the Nine Network. As well as directing, he also produced and was a writer for Comedy Inc – The Late Shift (2005) resulting in AFI nominations for Best Direction in Television and Best Comedy Series, 2006 Logie Awards nominations for Most Outstanding Comedy Series and the 2005 Golden Rose of Montreaux Award for Best International Comedy Series.

David also directed the 2009 Disney Channel’s series As the Bell Rings which won the Astra award for best short form series.

Lyndey Milan, OAM: Since 2011 Lyndey has hosted six television series: Lyndey Milan’s Baking Secrets (2014), Lyndey Milan’s Taste of Australia (2014), Lyndey Milan’s Taste of Ireland (2013), Lyndey’s Cracking Christmas, and most recently, Lyndey & Herbie’s Moveable Feast, co-hosted with spice king Ian ‘Herbie’ Hemphill and Lyndey & Blair’s Taste of Greece which follows Lyndey and her late actor son and co-host Blair on a tour of the Peloponnese seeking culinary delights and adventure Lyndey’s profile extends globally.

In 2000 she presented a live segment on Australian food on the top rating NBC Today Show. She also appeared with Anthony Bourdain when he was filming in Australia, taking him to Tetsuya’s restaurant and was featured in Rick Stein’s Seafood Odyssey. During Lyndey's time on Fresh on the Nine Network Australia, she regularly hosted such visiting chefs as Jamie Oliver, Rick Stein and Gordon Ramsay. Lyndey is a popular presenter on morning shows on all commercial networks and was previously co–host of Fresh for over eight years. She contributes to Selector magazine, and spent over ten years at ACP, principally as Food Director of The Australian Women’s Weekly.

Lyndey is constantly in demand at various food and wine shows and festivals running masterclasses and as a facilitator, debater, food judge and presenting. She won The Vittoria Legend Award at the Sydney Morning Herald's Good Food Guide 2012 awards and was named as a NSW finalist in the Hudson Private & Corporate Sector Award category of the Telstra Business Women's Awards. In 2014 Lyndey was awarded an OAM in the Australia Day Honours List for service to hospitality, the food and wine industry and the community.

Past TV Talks