Jock Zonfrillo, the Scottish chef who opened Orana in 2013 as a way of researching Australia’s indigenous cuisine has announced that the restaurant will close for good. “With the lease ending in a couple of months and with the current restrictions meaning we cannot break even, our closure has become permanent,” he said.
“The current uncertainty in the tourism and hospitality industry means that it is not the right time for Orana 2.0. The plans we had started discussing have been put on hold,” he said.
“My journey doesn’t stop here. I’ll continue trying to make a difference through food projects outside the resaurant. And while these may be uncertain times, they need to be a time of understanding, tolerance and positivity for our industry and I’ll do whatever I can to help,” Zonfrillo said.
The Scottish chef said that the ‘seven years of Restaurant Orana had moments of despair, perseverance and celebration.’ “We got a lot wrong but we also got a lot right. We achieved more that ever thought possible and feel privileged to have scored a few accolades along the way,” he said.
The restaurant had been driven by creativity and the discovery. “At the centre of this was a team of people who loved hospitality and were knitted together through their genuine passion for indigenous food and respecting the communities who shared their knowledge with us,” he said.
“Unfortunately, like many hospitality mates around the world, COVID closed our doors.”
He said that when they packed up their restaurant way back in March, they had no idea how long this thing would last. “None of us thought that it would mean the end.”
Zonfrillo moved to Australia in 2000 and has been there since then going on a journey that has led him to open world renowned restaurant Orana in 2013 which means ‘welcome’ in some aboriginal languages.
“I’m not creating Australian cuisine from scratch,” he had told Food and Wine Gazette in an interview. “Australia has been a good resource for tens of thousands of years. Aboriginal people have been living for 50,000 years and eating off the land. I came to Australia as a Scotsman and just asked a few questions about the culture.”