Life Eat & Drink Basque in bushtucker glory: Adelaide chef wins prestigious prize

Basque in bushtucker glory: Adelaide chef wins prestigious prize

Cape Moreton scarlet prawns with roti at Adelaide's Orana restaurants. Photo: The Orana Foundation
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Adelaide-based chef Jock Zonfrillo has won an international culinary award for his work with indigenous communities and says their exclusion from Australia’s food culture is unacceptable.

The Basque Culinary World Prize is organised and promoted by the Basque Government along with the Basque Culinary Center, a leading academic institution in gastronomy.

It recognises chefs who improve society through their work and comes with a 100,000 Euro ($A158,000) prize to be devoted to a project or institution.

The owner and head chef at Adelaide’s Orana Restaurant, Mr Zonfrillo has visited hundreds of remote Australian communities, championing their culture and culinary traditions.

He cooks with native ingredients such as riberries, desert limes, Kakadu plums, quandongs and lemon myrtle and incorporates grasses and wild garlic into some dishes.

Items on his current menu include kangaroo tail and Murray cod along with a tea brewed from the leaves of the native Jilungin tree.

Jock Zonfrillo.

“One of the fundamental lessons I’ve learned from working with indigenous communities is to give back more than you take,” he said in a statement.

“My motivation comes from acknowledging a culture who farmed and thrived from the land they have lived on for over 60,000 years.

“The First Australians are the true cooks and ‘food inventors’ of these lands and their exclusion from our history, and specifically our food culture, it is unacceptable.”

Mr Zonfrillo also created the Orana Foundation in 2016 to support the production and fair marketing of indigenous products and to document 10,000 native ingredients.

The database will be available online in the hope it will reveal new superfoods to improve global nutrition.


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