A taste of the real Aus­tralia

Food and Travel (Singapore) - - Special Feature -

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

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