5 September 2019
By Elaine Murphy
- Indigenous Australian attitudes to land and food could help with sustainability challenges
- Traditional ingredients to create food for thought about the future of farming
Opening our minds to indigenous peoples’ approaches to land, food, and the environment is part of
tackling global key sustainability challenges, the Australian Ambassador to Ireland, Richard Andrews, said
in Dublin today.
The Ambassador was welcoming the arrival of a group of four chefs from Australia to participate in A
Taste of West Cork food festival taking place from 6 September at multiple venues across West Cork. The
chefs, all Indigenous Australians, work in top-class Sydney restaurants and are travelling under the
auspices of Sydney’s National Indigenous Culinary Institute (NICI). Menus for the visit have been
developed with the guidance of celebrity Chef Neil Perry, founder of the Rockpool group, and Ben
Shewry of the renowned Melbourne restaurant “Attica”.
The NICI chefs will engage in a series of cooking events over their two-week stay in Ireland introducing
traditional native Australian “bush tucker” ingredients, including finger-lime ‘caviar’, wattle-seed,
pepperberries, Murray River pink salt, wild hibiscus flowers, lemon myrtle and Kakadu plum, as well as
better-known Australian native items such as Macadamia nuts, kangaroo and Spencer Gulf Hiramasa
Included in the programme is a series of “foraging” explorations where the chefs will join local chefs and
guests in exploring the wild and artisanal products of various locations in West Cork, as well as
Killruddery House and Gardens in Wicklow.
After several engagements in West Cork, they will travel to Dublin for further events designed to
promote discussion of partnership between Australia and Ireland, and to promote fine Australian food
Ambassador Andrews said “Farmers in Australia and Ireland, as producers of fine food and exporters to
the world, need to be at the forefront of confronting global food production and sustainability
challenges. Demand for our products will continue to grow while our production and environmental
challenges become more acute. We need to work together to find ways of satisfying growing food
production demands while ensuring that we do so in the most sustainable and environmentally
responsible way possible. This means we need to be open to ideas – both old and new.”
“The visit of the Indigenous Australian chefs is an opportunity to share their wisdom and to highlight the
many benefits of wild foods. Some Australian bush tucker ingredients have up to 20 times as many
vitamins and minerals as their cultivated equivalents and are a treat for all palates”.
The Ambassador highlighted that Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island peoples had lived in
harmony with their environment for over 60,000 years. Recent research has brought to the fore the
extent of their accomplishments in agriculture, fisheries management and land management.
“There is nothing like good food and good wine to bring people together and get ideas flowing. We hope
this will be the first of many such exchanges” the Ambassador said.