Jan 19, 2018
At age 11, Jock Zonfrillo started working in restaurants -
initially, as a dishwasher.
"I very quickly surmised that I was on the wrong side of the flying
Only a few weeks in, he became a chef, an experience that would
take him from Scotland to the rest of the world: from cooking for
Prince Charles in Paris (assisting Marco Pierre White, who
attempted to enter France by sticky-taping his photo on top of
someone else's passport – true story) to Australia, where a
four-hour life-changing conversation with an Aboriginal busker in
Sydney opened him to the world of indigenous food and led him to
opening Orana in Adelaide. It's currently rated as the best
restaurant in Australia, according to Gourmet Traveller's 2018
national food guide.
His work for the Orana Foundation - which seeks to showcase,
document and make knowledge about native food accessible, while
also ensuring Aboriginal communities directly benefit from the
promotion of these ingredients - led to him winning the Food For
Good award for the 2018 Good Food Guide. "It’s 60,000 years of
knowledge that nobody's really paid attention to," he says.
Learning about how Aboriginal people "had a relationship and
understanding of the land, 50,000 years before the pyramids" has
been pivotal to his work with Orana. (Discovering
how Aboriginal people cook mangrove seeds, for instance, is just
one example of the innovative nature of indigenous
Plus, we cover Jock's incredible start working with Marco Pierre
White (and how he secretly slept on the restaurant's change room
floor just to get by), his favourite places to eat and drink in
Sydney and how he's excited about Clayton Wells' upcoming eatery,
A1 Canteen in Chippendale.