Born in Scotland and raised by an Italian and Scottish family, Jock Zonfrillo’s formative years were heavily influenced by his respective cultures and their genuine understanding of seasonality and their deep connection to the land.
It was a natural progression from this upbringing to a culinary career, which began with Jock working in Scotland’s great country house hotels. Inevitably attracted to the dynamic and competitive kitchens of London, Jock worked with many great chefs, including Marco Pierre White at his eponymous Restaurant Marco Pierre White (Knightsbridge). 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 spent a year in Australia at Sydney’s Restaurant 41. It was here that his serendipitous meeting with an Aboriginal man began to form an idea that would eventuate in The Orana Foundation.
Returning to the UK as planned, Jock again worked for Marco Pierre White, this time at Les Saveurs, before joining the opening team at The Pharmacy by artist Damien Hirst, then opening a restaurant in a small boutique hotel on the Cornish coast.
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 past two years, Jock has hosted three TV shows: Nomad Chef, Chef Exchange and Restaurant Revolution and featured on Channel 10’s Masterchef.
Underlying these commercial interests lies Jock’s greatest passion, The Orana Foundation. Ultimately, this is Jock’s raison d’être – to preserve and evolve Australian food culture, advocate progressive policies for Australian ingredients, assist indigenous enterprise, and create and innovate through research and development.