A taste of the real Australia
Find out what makes nomad chef Jock Zonfrillo tick on his journey to discover what true Australia cuisine is
Noble and kind-hearted are adjectives that rarely capture the descriptions of chefs with their often aggressive and combative portrayals in popular media. Explore the other side of things in the far-flung region of Australia however and you’ll find that those adjectives describe Chef Jock Zonfrillo perfectly in his attempt to preserve and evolve Australian food culture through the assistance of indigenous enterprises done through his non-profit ‘The Orana Foundation’
Born in Scotland to an Italian and Scottish family, Zonfrillo’s formative years were heavily influenced by his respective cultures, paving the way for his genuine respect for the land and all the natural ingredients it offers. Zonfrillo extensive portfolio includes working in Michelin starred restaurant Chapter One alongside David Cavalier, a famous Michelin starred chef. He also signed on with the Discovery Channel to host the “Nomad Chef”, a captivating insight into the cultures and cuisine of some of the most remote communities on earth. Food&travel picks the chef’s brain to find out the motivations and reasons behind his extensive exploration into Australian indigenous cuisine. What made you develop this special relationship with Australian indigenous cuisine? Would you say that the cuisine found you or did you seek it out?
JZ: I think it found me. If you would have told me 30 years ago that I would end up with indigenous communities in Australia, I would have laughed at you. When I first came to Australia in the mid 90’s I personally found a lack of identity to the food. You couldn’t really find a sense of culture in Australian food which differs from places like Malaysia or Singapore. Unlike Spain, Italy or Japan, there is a very distinct style to the food. There wasn’t any food however representative of the first Australians and this planted the seeds (to the question) in the 90s. So, when I returned in 2,000 to Australia, I decided to start looking for it and to make my own interpretation of it.
Have you achieved your goal of finding the cuisine of the first Australians?
JZ: I don’t think I have and I have just scratched the surface. A lot the ingredients I find in these communities are truly amazing. They’re as important and as striking an