FESTIVAL PATRON & CHEF
“From chocolate to cheese we eat fermented food without even thinking, almost everyone’s favourite foods are the product of some kind of fermentation, it’s all around us, a crucial part of our lives in every culture across the world.”
Born in Scotland to an Italian and Scottish family, Jock Zonfrillo’s formative years were heavily influenced by his respective cultures. Both had a genuine respect of seasonality and understanding of the land.
Honing his skills in the great country house hotels of Scotland, Jock was inevitably attracted to the dynamic and competitive kitchens of London where he worked with many great chefs, including Marco Pierre White at his eponymous Restaurant Marco Pierre White (Knightsbridge). During that time, under such an iconic chef who demanded military precision from his team, Zonfrillo worked his way up the ranks earning the respect of his peers. The London energy was indeed exciting, but the need to reconnect with ingredients directly at their source prevailed. Jock moved to Kent, the “garden of England”, and worked with David Cavalier at Michelin starred Chapter One.
In a bid to further expand his knowledge base and curious to experience new culinary cultures, Jock moved halfway around the world and spent a year in Australia at Sydney’s Restaurant 41. This brief sabbatical year made a huge impact on Jock, but he still returned to the UK as planned, again working for Marco Pierre White, this time at Les Saveurs. Jock left the Marco fold to join the opening team at The Pharmacy by artist Damien Hirst, a restaurant that captured the imagination of London and received international acclaim for its cutting edge cuisine. Again yearning to be in contact with nature, Jock opened a restaurant in a small boutique hotel on the spectacular Cornish coast, his last position in the UK.
In 2000 the opportunity to return to Australia as head chef of Restaurant 41 presented itself and Zonfrillo immediately took it; he had discovered his spiritual home in Australia and was captivated. Jock’s time in Sydney was followed by consultancy work before he moved to Adelaide as Executive Chef at Penfolds’ Magill Estate Restaurant. He remains in Adelaide and is now chef/owner of Restaurant Orana and Restaurant Blackwood.
Over the last two years, Jock has hosted three TV shows and featured in another.
In 2014 he signed on with The Discovery Channel to host Nomad Chef – a captivating insight into the cultures and cuisine of some of the most remote communities on earth to learn and save a wealth of gastronomic knowledge from extinction. Nomad Chef was broadcast into 220 countries and was part of Singapore Airlines, Qantas and Emirates inflight entertainment.
In 2014 he featured on Channel 10’s Masterchef and in 2015 as the host of Channel 7’s Restaurant Revolution series.
In 2016 he hosted the Chef Exchange series, a rare Australian-Chinese co-production with Jock and Shandong Chef Qu Jianmin as they explore each other’s food, culture and customs and take the viewer on a journey from producer to plate. The program was aired on CCTV and QTV in China and reached over 90 million people per episode. The second season is expected to be on-air in 2017.
Underlying his commercial interests lies Jock’s greatest passion: his not-for-profit The Orana Foundation. The Foundation is inspired by the first Australians and their unique relationship with the land and sophisticated knowledge of traditional food culture. It was borne out of the experience and ideals of Restaurant Orana, and his long-term relationship and ground breaking partnerships with remote indigenous communities.