Jock Zonfrillo Brings the Indigenous Food Craze to Adelaideby Bistro Blackwood Restaurateur
When European settlers moved into Australia, they brought their culture and food. They shipped livestock to raise and seeds to grow crops. Australia’s plants and wildlife were foreign to them, and they didn’t understand the unique flavours that make up the local cuisine. Over time, we’ve all but forgotten the indigenous foods that are a part of our country’s history.
Bringing Back the Native
In the mid-1990s, Jock Zonfrillo had already made a name for himself as a chef. But he wondered as he gazed at restaurant pantries, “Where are all the aboriginal people and indigenous ingredients?” No one knew, and worse – not many cared. But he did, and he made it his mission early in the 2000s to find out and incorporate them into Australia’s mainstream restaurant scene.
The beginning of Jock’s journey wasn’t easy. It was difficult to meet with Aboriginal cooks, but his persistence paid off. Over time, he was able to learn more and more about the wide range of plants and animals in the native cuisine. What’s even better is that these cooks were eventually willing to teach him preparation and cooking methods, and Jock was fascinated.
In the midst of disappointing changes in Jock’s personal and professional life, he decided to open Restaurant Orana. While Orana had a rocky start, this project to fuse the foods from the oldest surviving culture in the world with modern techniques has taken a prominent place among the nice restaurants in Adelaide – earning the 2018 Gourmet Traveller Restaurant of the Year award, as well as several others.
Whether you choose to sample dishes containing kangaroo, mud crab, green ants, or try the seasonal tasting menu of 16-18 courses, Restaurant Orana brings Jock’s research and love of Aboriginal cuisine to everyone who chooses to enter its doors.
The Orana Foundation
Several years ago, Jock set up The Orana Foundation, an organization that recognizes the relationship between Australia’s indigenous people and their traditional food culture. The foundation is working to stimulate indigenous enterprise, support the development and demand of Australian food supplies, and alleviate the disadvantage of our native people through training and employment opportunities.
The Orana Foundation has several active projects, which include building a Native Australian Foods Database, establishing the Australian Food Culture Enterprise, and creating an Innovation & Enterprise Hub. These projects will further explore and educate the public about Australia’s indigenous ingredients and food preparation.
While Restaurant Orana is upscale and modern, Bistro Blackwood is lively and approachable. It boasts a seasonal menu and draws from the same indigenous ingredients as Orana. This is the playground of the Orana chefs, where they can be creative with seasonal – or even daily – ingredients.
Whether you’re new to Aboriginal cuisine or have been enjoying it for years, Jock Zonfrillo’s passion has given us the most unique and enjoyable of nice restaurants in Adelaide. Whichever you choose for dinner tonight: Orana. Welcome.
Created on Oct 17th 2018 08:06. Viewed 433 times.
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