The winner of the third annual Basque Culinary World Prize 2018 is announced yesterday, which is given to a person who is improving society through gastronomy. The winner is Scottish-born, Australia-raised chef Jonk Zonfrillo. Zonfrillo has received the honor for championing the culture of the native peoples of Australia and safeguarding Aboriginal culinary tradition.
An Australian chef who has dedicated his career to working with indigenous communities to develop a unique cuisine and improve the lot of communities from whom he sources native ingredients. 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.
Since making Australia his home in 2000, Zonfrillo has visited hundreds of remote communities to understand the origins of ingredients and their cultural significance. At Orana, his restaurant, he has given them a platform on the menus; according to the Basque Culinary Prize judges, Zonfrillo has brought aboriginal cultural traditions to wider audiences. The jury was chaired by Joan Roca, (Spain) and included celebrated chefs Gastón Acurio (Peru), Massimo Bottura (Italy), Manu Buffara (Brazil), Mauro Colagreco (France), Dominique Crenn (USA), Andoni Luis Aduriz (Spain), Yoshihiro Narisawa (Japan), Enrique Olvera (Mexico), Leonor Espinosa, winner of the Basque Culinary World Prize 2017, together with experts in other disciplines such as food writer Ruth Reichl.
“One of the fundamental lessons I’ve learned from working with indigenous communities is to give back more than you take,” Zonfrillo said on his prize. “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.”
Jury chair Joan Roca, from Gerona, Spain, said: “For over than 15 years Jock has dedicated himself to understanding and promoting one of the oldest cultures on the planet, that of the native peoples of Australia.
“Through the identification of ingredients and traditions and his commitment to transforming the knowledge of these people into development opportunities, Zonfrillo sows the seeds for a better future. His work is inspiring and has a multiplier effect. That is why the jury has unanimously chosen him.”