Charity

Cork showcase for Indigenous chefs

Indigenous Australian chefs have shown off their culinary skills at Cork’s 2019 food festival.

Hundreds of attendees at A Taste of West Cork food festival relished the opportunity to sample Australian cuisine with a focus on native ingredients, from kangaroo and kingfish to Kakadu plum and wild hibiscus.

The Australian Ambassador to Ireland Richard Andrews selected four chefs from the National Indigenous Culinary Institute, Joshua Moore, David Gray and Sam and Luke Bourke, for the opportunity.

The fine dining school has offered Kunja and Barkindji man Mr Moore a career turnaround.

“Before this I was busking on the street, just surviving.

“Now, I am in the kitchen learning new skills.”

Luke Bourke was one of four Indigenous chefs selected to perform cooking demonstrations for festival-goers.

Luke Bourke was one of four Indigenous chefs selected to perform cooking demonstrations for festival-goers.

The chefs each undertake apprenticeships as part of their culinary study program, gaining experience in exclusive host restaurants including Neil Perry’s Rockpool Bar and Grill and Sydney waterfront institution Catalina.

Trainees have had the chance to prepare meals for Australian prime ministers and the inimitable British restauranteur Marco Pierre White, but NICI director Rod Harys said introducing Australia’s flavours to the people of Ireland “was a fantastic highlight”.

“Along with the experiences of seeing a beautiful country, they were able to get outside of their comfort zone, adapt to new surroundings and…educate people on their Indigenous culture.”

A Taste of West Cork chairperson Hellen Collins agreed that the chefs were a “credit” to their mentors, the NICI and their country.

“Everybody in West Cork wanted to meet them…the guys worked so hard but they did manage to get a little time on the sea fishing for the foraging dinner.”

Sam Bourke, Luke Bourke, Joshua Moore and David Gray catered for guests at a dinner held in a Cork church.

Sam Bourke, Luke Bourke, Joshua Moore and David Gray catered for guests at a dinner held in a Cork church.

Ms Collins said festival-goers raved about the chefs’ use of bush tucker spices and ingredients such as finger lime pearls, described by connoisseurs as the caviar of the citrus world.

The annual two-week Cork affair sees more than 250 events including banquets and food markets take place in 50 towns and villages.

The Australian chefs’ inclusion was part of a long-term plan to increase NICI representation on the world stage.





Fairwater coup for Irish Australian charity

Past Ireland Funds Australia Chairman Alan Joyce and current Chairman John O’Neill (right) joined TV personality Richard Wilkins at 2017’s Garden Party.

Past Ireland Funds Australia Chairman Alan Joyce and current Chairman John O’Neill (right) joined TV personality Richard Wilkins at 2017’s Garden Party.

Australia’s most expensive house will once again host the Ireland Funds’ flagship fundraiser following its purchase by a tech billionaire.

The Garden Party fundraiser has been held at Sydney’s Fairwater estate 27 times in the last 30 years, the Ireland Funds’ Executive Director Teresa Keating saying the late Lady Mary Fairfax’s personal connection with the charity had inspired her “amazing generosity” in allowing use of the harbourside property.

“Tony O’Reilly founded the Ireland Funds…he had a publishing background and he met Lady Fairfax at a publishing conference in New York,” Ms Keating said.

“They got on very well, and she offered for the Ireland Funds to use her property in Australia.”

Tech billionaires Mike Cannon-Brookes and Scott Farquhar founded Atlassian in 2002.

Tech billionaires Mike Cannon-Brookes and Scott Farquhar founded Atlassian in 2002.

After Lady Fairfax’s death in 2017, the property was purchased by enterprise software company Atlassian’s co-founder Mike Cannon-Brookes as a family home.

The 1.121 hectare estate on Sydney Harbour, owned by the Fairfax family since Federation, is understood to have been purchased for close to $100 million, making it Australia’s most expensive house.

Atlassian’s co-founder Scott Farquhar bought the neighbouring Elaine estate.

The future of the Garden Party at the iconic location was thrown into doubt after the sale, Ms Keating explaining, “we had no history with the new owners.”

The Cannon-Brookes family, however, chose to invite the Ireland Funds to use the venue again.

The Fairwater estate was owned by the Fairfax family for over 100 years.

The Fairwater estate was owned by the Fairfax family for over 100 years.

“It’s a real coup for us and the supporters that the new owners have invited us back,” Ms Keating said.

The 2018 Garden Party raised over $200,000 for key causes including integrated education, community development, and peace and reconciliation in Ireland, and Ms Keating is confident this year’s gathering will be just as successful.

“It’s a chance for supporters who have…spread their wings to give back through the Ireland Funds in Australia.”