BY KATIE - MYGREENPOD, 27 July '18

Scottish chef Jock Zonfrillo recognised for safeguarding Aboriginal culinary tradition

Scottish-born, Australian-based chef Jock Zonfrillo has been named the winner of the Basque Culinary World Prize 2018.

The award goes to chefs who are improving society through gastronomy, in areas ranging from innovation to education, health, research, sustainability, social entrepreneurship and economic development.

Jock Zonfrillo, an acclaimed chef, restaurateur and forager, was recognised for championing the culture of the native peoples of Australia and for his work safeguarding Aboriginal culinary tradition.

A long-ignored inheritance

Since making Australia his home in 2000, Jock Zonfrillo has visited hundreds of remote communities to understand the origins of ingredients and their cultural significance.

He has given them a platform on the menus of his prestigious Orana restaurant, based in Adelaide, and has brought aboriginal cultural traditions to wider audiences through programmes such as The Nomad Chef.

Jock Zonfrillo will be awarded €100,000 to devote to a project or institution of his choice that demonstrates the wider role of gastronomy in society. The winner was announced at Collegio San Carlo in Modena, hometown of chef Massimo Bottura, a prize jury member and one of the pioneering chefs who first brought gastronomy’s impact ‘beyond the kitchen’.

‘One of the fundamental lessons I’ve learned from working with indigenous communities is to give back more than you take. 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. I believe the world of gastronomy is committed to making change and, while we never speak on behalf of indigenous people, we can walk hand in hand and together make positive change on their terms.’

JOCK ZONFRILLO
Winner of the Basque Culinary World Prize 2018

Jock Zonfrillo, photo Nomad Chef. Main image credit Jacqui Way

An Indigenous food database

Zonfrillo´s Orana Foundation has been documenting more than 1,200 native ingredients and has investigated new ways in which they can be used. The Foundation is aiming to share this information through an Indigenous Food Database, which will be available online to anyone free of charge. The goal is to create new business opportunities for indigenous communities and help further connect them with the rest of the country.

The chef hopes to help and support indigenous communities to expand production and market their products fairly.

Jock Zonfrillo’s work reflects the evolution of gastronomy as a generation of chefs have come to understand that they can use their knowledge, leadership, entrepreneurship and creativity to be part of the transformation of society.