On November 22, 2018, the Basque Culinary World Prize was awarded to Jock Zonfrillo the chef of the Orana Restaurant in Australia and the president of the Orana Foundation. This nonprofit organization was developed to salvage and preserve the culture, traditions, and biodiversity of the aboriginal communities of Australia. The young aspirating cook has been working with this lost civilization since 2001. His restaurant Orana serves local endemic and seasonal ingredients, cooked with techniques and methods of the ancestral aboriginal citizens. Zonfrillo addressed the Basque Culinary Center students during his keynote speech which opened the 7th Sustainability Symposium on November 21, 2018. In his keynote speech he explained that the Australian natives where marginalized and segregated, sent to camplike communities in the outback and left there, he felt that Australian people forgot about their predecessors.
Zonfrillo started cooking since he was 11 years old, when he graduated highschool decided to move to London and worked for notable chefs, such as Marco Pierre White and Gordon Ramsey. His culinary endeavors guided him to Australia, where he came in contact with the aboriginal communities and their reality.
As he started working visiting aboriginal sites, he came across their untraditional way of harvesting and the amount of respect they have for their land; so, he decided to start a foundation to give a little back to the forgotten aboriginal communities. To attract people interests in these civilizations, he established a seasonal menu in his restaurant to cook with ancient techniques and products.
The Basque Culinary World Prize is 100,000 euros grant to research and develop on the foundation or filled with the expertise of the winner. As Zonfrillo mentioned in his speech, the first two projects taking place with prize money are the development of a beekeeping facility with a packing shed where they can process and prepare their endemically harvested honey strain. Another project is the construction of a packing warehouse to process and prepare king prawns to sell and distribute all over Australia. Jock wanted to give back, and his foundation is working on providing the right tool and the necessary skills to help the aboriginal people but at their terms and demands.
His restaurant Orana has been named the Best Restaurant of Australia, by the World’s 50 Best Guide by Restaurant Magazine.