For those who are interested in ancient cuisines, in harvesting their own ingredients, eating a seasonal diet and cooking traditionally, this month offers a new experience with TLC’s Nomad Chef. Celebrity chef and host Jock Zonfrillo says, “In Nomad Chef, you glimpse into a few of the remotest communities in the world from the comfort of your armchair. These are places not accessible to many tourists. So the journey has been a hands-on experience and exciting.”
Talking of food as his passion, Jock Zonfrillo continues, “I am half-Scottish and half-Italian, and I grew up with rich food memories and traditions. I have always believed food has healing powers and this is the core of my food philosophy.” Jock’s formative years were influenced by his grandfathers. His Scottish grandfather was a beef and arable farmer while his Neapolitan nonno instilled in him a passion for superior-quality ingredients and a love for great-tasting food.
The best thing about his profession is, “I get to learn a lot.” The show has been enriching because it has helped him discover ancient cuisines and their origin. “I crave to know about the origin of every dish I encounter.” “While shooting for Nomad Chef in Ethiopia, I got to know that people there eat raw cow’s stomach, which is their traditional Christmas Day food,” he recounts, adding, “But the major crux of the show was to learn the technique and native ingredients.”
Reminiscing about his association with the series, Jock Zonfrillo says, “When I got a call for the show, I was reluctant. But when I realised the show is based on my philosophy of food, the offer was hard to reject. There was a lot of research that went into it. We wanted to make a show that was interesting with a remote element added to it. We aimed to bring out a strong food-related survival culture.”
Packing nothing but a knife roll and a ready sense of adventure, Jock embarks on a journey to some of the most remote communities in the world, like Ethiopia, Japan, Australia, Faroe Islands and Vanuatu. Persuading the locals to share their knowledge of food with him, the viwers can watch Jock hunt, forage, harvest and cook with everyone, from the Amazonian Indians to Ethiopian highlanders. He pays homage to the culinary know-how and culture of these communities by reinterpreting the inspiring elements of cooking back at his restaurant in Adelaide.
Jock asserts that “the cuisines displayed on the show differ from each other. With each episode one is amazed by the fact that there are people to this day who consume fare that is made from scratch, use native ingredients and cook in a singular way. All this holds strong cultural significance. Nomad Chef will bring to people the food habits and customs of various countries.”