Australia’s Native Ingredients and Cuisine Trend

Australian restaurants are valuing the taste, texture and versatility of native ingredients and integrating them into contemporary restaurant menus with great effect. From Rene Redzepi through to Kylie Kwong, celebrated chefs worldwide are championing and showcasing their use to the world. Australia’s Native Ingredients and Cuisine Trend
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Australia's Native Ingredients and Cuisine Trend

Australia is experiencing a trend towards the wider use of native ingredients.


Australian restaurants are valuing the taste, texture and versatility of native ingredients and integrating them into contemporary restaurant menus with great effect. From Rene Redzepi through to Kylie Kwong, celebrated chefs worldwide are championing and showcasing their use to the world. 

Rene Redzepi, Hobart, Tasmania

For ten weeks in January 2016, one of the world’s best restaurants Noma will relocate to Sydney. Head Chef Rene Redzepi has long championed the use of native ingredients to create awe-inspiring dishes in his home country of Denmark. His visit to Sydney will highlight Australia’s very own native ingredients and prove that they are no longer reserved only for the adventurous eater.

Foraging tours

Josh Whiteland of Koomal Dreaming has previously partnered with Redzepi to forage for bush foods as part of Margaret River Gourmet Escape. This year Whiteland will once again return to the festival to host two events didgeridoo cave experience and Kambarang – South West Aboriginal gourmet experience with renowned Aboriginal Chef Mark Olive. For those who are unable to attend the festival, as part of Koomal Dreaming Whiteland also has an Aboriginal Food, Culture, Cave and Didge Tour where you can learn to forage for native ingredients and find out their traditional uses.

While in Far North Queensland, as part of Walkabout Cultural Adventures and Kuku Yalanji Cultural Habitat Tours, Juan, Linc and Brandon Walker guide you through mangroves, mudflats and sandy beaches to find shoreline plants used for food and medicine. The tour also includes the opportunity to hunt for crabs, mussels and other seafood.

Restaurants showcasing native ingredients

Prominent Australian restaurateurs Kylie Kwong of Billy Kwong and Jock Zonfrillo of Orana feature native ingredients on their menus. The two chefs showcase and promote the use of lemon myrtle, salt bush, riberry, finger lime, native basil and many of Australia’s own herbs and plants. They then combine these ingredients with native meats like kangaroo, wallaby, emu and crocodile.

Try Kwong’s Steamed Wallaby, Pork & Goji Berry Siu Mai as well as her Crispy Salt Bush Cakes. While at Zonfrillo’s Orana try stand-out dishes like his charred Kangaroo Tartare with Billy Goat Plum, Grass and Wild Garlic.

Indigenous chefs

Since the beginning of their careers, renowned Indigenous chefs Mark Olive and Clayton Donovan have championed native ingredients from masterclasses to catering for world-class events. This has allowed Olive and Donovan to showcase a range of dishes that include combinations of Asian, French and Italian inspired dishes including Donovan’s Kangaroo Sung Choi Bao through to Olive’s Rolled Veal with Warrigal Greens Pesto.

Mark Olive, Melbourne, VIC

The popularity of native ingredients has had a positive effect on the Indigenous community who have known about their benefits for over 50,000 years. One such example is Charcoal Lane, a social enterprise restaurant in Melbourne that provides guidance and opportunities to young people, many of whom are Indigenous. The contemporary menu is seasonally driven and draws on the best of native Australian food.

There has never been a better time than now to seek out Australian restaurants who weave these native delights into traditional and contemporary dishes.  

Find out more about Australia’s food and wine trends here

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