Australia’s illustrious Indigenous chef Mark Olive has sung the praises of the region's fresh produce after he served up Taste Bundaberg Festival events.
Mark, also known as The Black Olive, catered the inaugural Mon Repos First Nations Dinner during the 10-day festival.
Using the opportunity to remind locals of the fantastic produce available in their own backyard, Mark prepared dishes for his events inspired by the region's flavours and native ingredients.
“How exciting is it for a chef to come into a region where you can use local produce and smell the freshness, see the freshness and not only that but go and visit the growers,” Mark said.
“We incorporated a lot of these ingredients into our menus and the whole thing about this is it is about regional, it is about here and it is about now.”
Mark’s dishes highlighted flavours such as lemon myrtle which he urged locals to explore use of in their everyday cooking while also being creative in executing the perfect meal.
“We need more Australians in our country to understand what we are using and how to use it,” he said.
“We incorporated the lemon myrtle into the smoked mackerel and a lemon myrtle aioli with the sweet potato fries from sweet potatoes just down the road.
“Let’s face it, everyone has a five spice and curry in their cupboards, but we should also really have the lemon myrtle and wattle seed.”
Local Indigenous children were given the opportunity to participate in the sold-out event, learning about the range of native ingredients that can be utilised in cooking.
“It was great to have kids from Gidarjil join us as these are the next generation of kids that are coming through with a passion for food and it is very important that we educate them,” he said.
“Working outside of the indigenous realm is also important to get their skills up as well as working with non-indigenous communities and at events like Taste Bundaberg.
“It is so exciting to see these kids shine as they are all from the local area here.”
Local produce used by Mark in his dishes included sweet potatoes, mackerel, figs and strawberries.
Mark's Mon Repos First Nations event menu included:
- Native Herb encrusted kangaroo on honey and lemon aspen vinaigrette dressed salad.
- Seared scallops on Chardonnay vinegar sieved potato mash, burnt butter and lemon aspen syrup
- Wattle-seed cream on meringue discs with local strawberries
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