By Melissa Keogh
Adelaide food hero Jock Zonfrillo’s Orana has been crowned Australia’s best restaurant, marking the first time in two decades the Gourmet Traveller award has gone to a restaurant outside Sydney and Melbourne.
The Rundle Street establishment was named Restaurant of the Year at last night’s Gourmet Traveller Restaurant Awards.
The gala dinner, held in Sydney, is considered the night of nights in the hospitality world and celebrates the release of the 2018 Australian Restaurant Guide.
In a statement on his Facebook page, Jock commended the Orana team for taking the award for South Australia.
“For the last 16 years I’ve been on a journey and to tell you the truth it’s one I never knew I’d have to make,” he says.
“I’m saying that it’s called a journey because you cannot know what you will discover, what you will do with what you find, or what you find, will do with you.
“One of the things I have found is the most amazing team who don’t just work at a restaurant, they are part of something so much bigger making it our journey and I can’t thank them enough.
“I love each and every one of you, thank you so much for all the hard work, dedication and sheer tenacity involved in bringing this award home for #southaustralia.”
Scottish-born Jock is renowned for ‘foraging’ and using native ingredients in his dishes, but also for his work with indigenous communities.
Earlier this year, his Orana Foundation announced it was working with the University of Adelaide to form a native wild foods database.
With the help of a $1.25m SA Government grant, the database will drive research and determine how native foods can best be produced commercially.
Orana – which means ‘welcome’ in some Aboriginal languages – offers 18-20 course degustations featuring native produce such as lemon myrtle, green ants and ruby saltbush berries.
Four other SA eateries made the top 100 of the Gourmet Traveller list including Magill Estate (14), Hently Farm (50), Botanic Gardens Restaurant (54) and Africola (56).