Jock Zonfrillo, who died suddenly this week aged 46, was born in Glasgow but had a strong Italian heritage coupled with a masterful repertoire of recipes.
Regarding his deep ties to Italian cuisine, Jock stated the following in an interview: “I visit Italy twice a year because my father’s side of the family is Italian. I adore the diversity of Italian cuisine.
Through his numerous restaurants, he was able to spread his culinary knowledge and tastes throughout the world. He opened Restaurant Orana and Street ADL in Adelaide in November 2013. In September 2017 he replaced Street ADL with Bistro Blackwood.
Zonfrillo was named Australia’s 2018 Hottest Chef in The Australian in the same year that Restaurant Orana was named Australia’s 2018 Restaurant of the Year by Gourmet Traveller magazine. In October 2018, Orana was named Australia’s 2019 Restaurant of the Year by The Good Food Guide, as well as being a three-hatted restaurant in the 2019 and 2020 Chef Hat Awards.
In 2016, Zonfrillo established The Orana Foundation, to preserve the historical cooking techniques and ingredients of Indigenous Australians. In October 2017, the foundation received The Good Food Guide Food for Good Award. One of the foundation’s projects was a database of 1,443 Aboriginal food plants created in partnership with the University of Adelaide. Launched in September 2020, the database provided information about the plants’ nutritional profile, taste, flavour, and optimal methods of preparation and cooking.
Jock Zonfrillo is known for his innovative and contemporary approach to cooking. He has created many outstanding recipes over the years.
Here are a few of his best-known dishes:
*Jock’s hallmark dish, kangaroo tartare with egg yolk emulsion and saltbush, demonstrates his passion for using local Australian foods. The tartare is prepared with saltbush-seasoned, finely diced kangaroo meat and is accompanied by a creamy egg yolk emulsion.
*Grilled marron with Davidson plum and macadamia: Another popular dish of Jock’s, which features marron (a type of freshwater crayfish) grilled to perfection and served with a tangy Davidson plum sauce and crunchy macadamia nuts.
*Black ant lamingtons: Jock’s playful take on the traditional Australian dessert, the lamington. His version is made with chocolate cake coated in coconut and filled with a black ant-infused cream.
*Murray cod with quandong and wattleseed: This dish features a fillet of Murray cod (a type of freshwater fish) that’s been cooked to perfection and served with a tangy quandong sauce and nutty wattleseed.
*Salt and vinegar kangaroo tail: A hearty and flavorful dish made with slow-cooked kangaroo tail, which is then glazed with a tangy salt and vinegar sauce.
During one of the interviews, Jock mentioned that his favourite comfort food happens to be cacio e pepe and carbonara;
“I’m going to lean back on two things: one is cacio e pepe, and two, carbonara. These are two classic Italian dishes that I lean back on in times of comfort.”
In “Last Shot: A Final Four of Food, Romance, and Whisky,” Jock Zonfrillo’s book, he mostly recounts his professional and personal journey rather than providing a collection of recipes. However, the book does contain a few recipes that are significant to his life and career.
Here are some of the recipes featured in “Last Shot”:
*Broth of inspiration: This is the recipe for the signature broth that Jock created for his restaurant, Orana, which is made from a variety of native Australian ingredients.
*The book mentions Jock’s favourite meal, which he prepared for his wife, Lauren, on their first Valentine’s Day together: grilled maroon with Davidson plum and macadamia.
*Scallop with finger lime and kombu: This dish is mentioned in the book as being one of Jock’s early creations that helped establish his reputation as a chef.
*Tomato sandwich: This is a simple recipe that Jock’s mother used to make for him as a child and that he still enjoys today. It involves layering slices of ripe tomato between two slices of white bread and adding salt and pepper.
*The Last Shot cocktail: This is a whiskey-based cocktail that Jock created as a tribute to his late father, who was a whiskey enthusiast. The recipe includes whiskey, honey, lemon juice, and bitters.
These recipes are offered as significant culinary touchstones within Jock’s life story rather than a comprehensive compilation of all of his greatest meals.
Wood-roasted peri chicken was one of his most recent dishes, which he published on Instagram a couple of days ago.
“If you’ve got an obsession with peri chicken, this is a super easy recipe to make at home. It’s aromatic, punchy and got the perfect level of heat that’ll give any fast food chain a run for its money.” he wrote on Instagram.”
Even though Jock Zonfrillo is no longer with us, his recipes will carry on his legacy so that he will never be forgotten.