Indigenous chef Clayton Donovan like to mess things up – whether it’s entertaining diners with his genuinely warm and fun-loving spirit, or using his French chef’s training to create unique dining sensations.
“My goal is to place my culture on top of things,” he says. “My culture and my cooking is unique – it’s not traditional. It’s my own style, my personal take on what I think I should be doing.”
As a French-trained chef its part of his training to be able to successfully fuse styles. And that’s what he’ll be doing at Dinner by Clayton, at Kakadu’s Taste of Kakadu food festival.
“I’m really looking forward to meeting people in Kakadu. I think a lot of people will gain a new perspective at this dinner. I hope visitors will be open to new ideas. If they are I think they’ll have an unforgettable evening,” he says.
One of the dishes Clayton will cook is a sardine dish with wild buffalo tongue. Buffalo is an introduced species but Indigenous people in Kakadu have a long history of eating it. He’ll combine this with the sardine which is a species from the area.
“I’m also doing a crocodile carpaccio – a chilled crocodile tail which I’m really proud to be able to do. It’s one of my signature dishes, and crocodile is a great source of protein.”
Having dreamed of visiting Kakadu since childhood, Clayton says this will be a highlight in what’s already a diverse and distinguished career.
“I’m absolutely honoured to be in such a cultural and spiritual place.”
“I hope everyone who comes to the festival will feel the same sense of place as I do, and be in awe of the people and traditions here.”
What: Dinner with Clayton is on at Taste of Kakadu, Australia’s premier Indigenous food festival
When: Tuesday 22 May 6.30 – 9.30 pm
Where: Mercure Crocodile Hotel, Jabiru