You’ll probably want to throw something at Erik Thomson in Aftertaste. Or maybe even switch him off.
The bloke is a downright tosser in ABC’s new comedy. But that’s the point.
Thomson turns his back on affable melodrama roles for the arrogant, in-your-face celebrity chef ‘Easton West.’ Even the opening scene is likely to have vegans reaching for the remote control. Or maybe the scene where he insults his young niece Diana telling her she is fat (his words) that will be the deal breaker.
But stick with Aftertaste, the rewards are certainly to be found, if possibly at his expense.
The six part series embodies all those things we deride in rock star, foul-mouthed chefs who shout abuse at staff, court the press and attract headlines for all the wrong reasons.
Easton’s fall from grace happens at a his swank Shanghai restaurant, sending him back to his Adelaide home penniless. While his sister Denise (Susan Prior) isn’t about to overlook her years of resentment, daughter Diana (Natalie Abbott) shares his passion for food. Easton’s niece is also very talented in all things culinary leading to a mentorship of necessity.
But this new union does not run smoothly. While Easton looks to open a local restaurant with Diana as his young partner, his sheer arrogance threatens to derail it.
Meanwhile his elderly, hoarding father (Peter Carroll) wants none of his prodigal son, preferring to shoot wildlife on his property and watching television.
Even once-overlooked rising star Ben (Remy Hii) has now opened his own business, a smash hit thanks to astute social media marketing and gifted dishes. Easton has become ‘old school’ very quickly.
The very eloquent Thomson is having a rollicking time in this role, putting plenty of distance from favourite roles from Packed to the Rafters and 800 Words. But newcomer Natalie Abbott (Muriel’s Wedding: The Musical) is a complete natural on screen -get out your Logie voting forms now. Together it’s an unexpectedly joyous union.
But there’s also a delicious ensemble at work here with Susan Prior and a rare treat from legendary Peter Carroll. Rachel Griffiths (from episode 2) and Wayne Blair add to the many treats…. and then there’s the yummy food to make your eyes water.
Will Easton meet his redemption or will he underpay his staff, turn to activated almonds and annoy us with conspiracy theories? I doubt it will happen anytime soon given Aftertaste is having too much fun at his expense.
Aftertaste airs 9pm Wednesdays on ABC.