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26 November 2018
Scottish chef Jock Zonfrillo was awarded the Basque Culinary World Prize 2018, during a prize-giving gala at the Victoria Eugenia Theatre in San Sebastián.
The Basque Culinary World Prize is organized and promoted by the Basque Government, under the Euskadi-Basque Country Strategy and the Basque Culinary Center (BCC), a world leading academic institution in gastronomy. It is an award for chefs improving society through gastronomy in areas ranging from innovation to education, health, research, sustainability, social entrepreneurship and economic development.
In the presence of a distinguished audience, the Basque Government’s Councillor for Economic Development and Infrastructure, Arantxa Tapia, awarded Jock Zonfrillo the prize, now in its third edition, for his work challenging the exclusion of the First Australians from contemporary Australia’s history and culture. Through his Orana Foundation, Jock Zonfrillo preserves the sophisticated cooking knowledge and practice of indigenous Australians who have farmed and thrived on the land for 60,000 years.
Since making Australia his home, in 2000, Jock Zonfrillo has visited 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 programs such as the Nomad Chef.
The chef has documented native products and worked with them in innovative ways. Through alliances with universities and institutions including the University of Adelaide, the South Australian museum, and the Botanic Gardens of South Australia, he has ensured that information on these ingredients has been verified and recorded as part of a new database of indigenous ingredients.
The Basque Culinary World Prize fund of €100,000 will be used by Jock Zonfrillo’s Orana Foundation to support this indigenous food database. Eventually it will feature 10,000-15,000 edible native ingredients, enabling the commercial production of ingredients and creating new food-based enterprises for indigenous communities. The Basque Culinary World Prize funds will help develop the software required to house the 2,000 ingredients already analysed, and to scale to 15,000 ingredients over the next few years.