“We want to reconnect with our traditional diets and foods – replacing processed foods with locally- foraged bush foods and foods from our tropical food garden”

Kakadu Kitchen launched at last year’s Taste of Kakadu festival, impressing guests with their modern bush food creations.

At this year’s festival the pair will take guests on an exclusive four hour ‘Walk, Taste, Learn’ bush tucker tour at Murdudjurl Community (Patonga Homestead). The one-of-a-kind dining experience will introduce visitors to the ways Bininj have lived off the land for many thousands of years.

Kakadu Kitchen was formed by Kylie-Lee Bradford and Ben Tyler (Bininj) after a chat at Cooinda Lodge about the growing interest in Indigenous foods, and its cultural significance.

“We want to reconnect with our traditional diets and foods with the goal of completely replacing processed foods with local foraged bush foods and foods from our tropical food garden,” Ben says.

 

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Ben and Kylie-Lee serving canapes at last year’s Taste of Kakadu | Image by Shalom Kaa

The pair also love to see people working with Indigenous Australian ingredients – particularly when it’s culturally appropriate, ethical and sustainable.

Kylie-Lee says they are endlessly inspired by chefs working with Indigenous foods, especially those who are reconnecting with traditional ways of preparing and serving foods, and honouring the cultural connection and integrity of the ingredients.

“It’s important that people acknowledge the culture and return benefits to the communities the food comes from – those communities are living cultural landscapes,” she says.

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A Kakadu weed, wild rosella is useful in cooking and for dying pandanus fibres pink for weaving baskets

When asked about his favourite bushfoods to cook Ben can’t choose just one or two. He loves to cook bamurru (magpie goose), but every season in Kakadu brings foods just waiting to be gathered.

“In kurrung (hot dry weather season) the geese are fat from feeding on water chestnuts. Its cooked on the coals of an open fire and tastes delicious!”

“An-djurdukulmarlba (blackcurrants) are abundant in kudjeuk (monsoon season). They taste amazing, and make your tongue purple. Then there’s an-dudjmi – a green plum that grows in kunumelleng (pre-monsoon storm season). That’s another of my favourites. We always collect lots.

“Mum loves to dry the fruit out to enhance its sweetness and crush the plums with a grinding stone to make a delicious paste. Sometimes we mix the green plums with an-kundalh (black plums) which when ground together into a paste tastes like licorice.”

The ‘Walk, Taste, Learn’ bush tucker tour will be an opportunity to taste some of Kakadu’s in-season foods, and learn more about Bininj’s ancient connection to nature’s fine and fascinating kitchen.

They will also team up with Kakadu Billabong Safari Camp to offer a unique bush tucker dining experience with Indigenous celebrity chef Zach Green.

Taste of Kakadu is on at Kakadu National Park from 18 – 27 May 2018. Find out more.