It's cool bananas as maestro Miguel Maestre cooks up storm on Cairns Esplanade
TROPICAL North Queensland bananas are peeled for a comeback with celebrity chef Miguel Maestre boosting their humble profile.
Yesterday, the Spaniard was feeding the sun-soaked masses at Cairns Esplanade Lagoon his tasty banoffee pie made from Liverpool River Bananas.
The plantation, south of Innisfail, was decimated by cyclone Yasi in March last year but with the help of Maestre and Channel 10 show The Living Room, this year's bountiful crop will gain national promotion.
"You see, bananas in Australian society is like a old married couple they love each other so much but they are losing the spark," he said.
"We are losing the spark with bananas. After the cyclone and the price rising so much we started eating a lot of (junk) food.
"We need to bring back that love again. We need to fall in love again with the banana.''
The passionate chef spent Monday at the Silkwood plantation seeing how farmers cut, pack and transport the vitamin-packed fruit across the state.
"They even have pillows in their trucks so the bananas don't bruise,'' he said.
Maestre also gave passing motorists a taste of the season's crop while filming for the show.
"You should have seen me on the side of the road in a banana outfit. The cars were stopping and I was giving bananas away no charge.''
Steve Lizzio, from Liverpool River Bananas, said it took about 10 months for the 42ha plantation to recover from the fierce cyclone.
"It was total devastation - 100 per cent was knocked down on the farm,'' he said.
"We're now fully back in production. This is now the perfect time for us there's high hopes.''
The Living Room episode will air in February or March next year.
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Banoffee bliss: Steve Lizzio and Miguel Maestre reignite the spark for bananas at the Esplanade Lagoon. Picture: MARC McCORMACK