“I am so honoured to have been selected as the winner of the 2018 Basque Culinary World Prize. One of the fundamental lessons I have 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”.
This Scottish chef is undertaking the task of preserving the memory of native peoples of Australia through their food. He has dedicated the last 17 years to discovering and defending this aborigine culture, excluded from the national culinary identity. During this time, he has visited hundreds of remote communities and documented the gastronomic riches that its inhabitants have shared with him, researching and experimenting in his Orana restaurant (recognized as Australia’s Restaurant of the Year 2017 by Gourmet Traveller) and using his media influence and international voice to show the potential that this culinary knowledge offers. With the philosophy of “giving back more than you receive”, in 2016 Zonfrillo launched the Orana Foundation, whose objectives range from supporting indigenous communities in the production and fair marketing of their products to the documentation of more than 10,000 native ingredients and the investigation of new uses. The project has taken significant strides in the last year identifying and analyzing the first 1,200 foods and forming a strong and multidisciplinary research team.