How can you learn about indigenous Australian food and culture?

Australia's food culture is vibrant and draws on the cuisines and gastronomy of different cultures around the world. Most important of all, but sometimes forgotten, is the food culture of our indigenous inhabitants, the Aboriginal peoples and Torres Strait Islanders. 

By learning about Aboriginal culture and cuisine, you'll understand more about the importance of the Australian landscape in the development of indigenous food, and how sharing and cooking food together is a unifying experience.

But how can you learn more about Australia's indigenous food culture? 

For the indigenous inhabitants of Australia, food isn't just about nutrition, it's a social activity that brings people together.

Australia's indigenous food culture

From Italian and French to Vietnamese and Indian, there are so many different flavours that have made their way into contemporary Australian cuisine.

But along the way, we have often forgotten our own indigenous flavours that take inspiration from our diverse landscapes, unique flora and fauna, and cultivates the notion of sharing food with others. For the indigenous inhabitants of Australia, food isn't just about nutrition – it's a social activity that brings people together.

We can learn a lot about Australian food from the indigenous Aborigines. The indigenous inhabitants of Australia have a lot to teach about food.

Why study Aboriginal cuisine?

By taking the time to learn more about Australia's indigenous food culture, you'll gain insight into the history of the first inhabitants of our beautiful country, the importance of the shared table, and how food can break down boundaries between people of different backgrounds. It will also be an eye-opening experience – suddenly, plants you see in your local area become sources of food.

Grant Hyde is the Director of Kadoo Tours, and has helped Kenvale College develop a course on indigenous food and culture.

"In just a small section of remnant bushland on the edge of the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney there are over 20 plants that can be turned into flour, used to re-hydrate, dye handicrafts, made into tea, used as soap, eaten, made into a whistle to call snakes from the bush, applied as anaesthetic and used as a hair brush – and that is just to name a few," he points out. 

It's this kind of valuable knowledge that our indigenous people can pass on, and once you realise that Australian food is about much more than WeetBix and Vegemite, you'll change the way you think about cooking. 

How can you learn about indigenous Australian food?

The best way to learn about Aboriginal food culture is from our indigenous people themselves, and this is exactly what you can do when you join the Introduction to Indigenous Australians' Food and Culture course. This is a short course offered by Kenvale College, a leading provider of hospitality management courses and events management courses in NSW. We have liaised closely with our valued partners to create this course in order to help spread knowledge of indigenous cuisine. We are firm believers that it can open doors and cultivate new-found respect and understanding for our land and the people who have lived off it for thousands of years. 

Kenvale College's short course on indigenous food and culture will educate participants about Aboriginal cuisine.Over two days, participants will learn about the history of Aboriginal Australians and how to incorporate bush tucker into their cooking.

"You meet Tim and walk in his footsteps and you will look at the bush and our plants completely differently."

Our course is taught over two days, and during the first day Yuin man Tim Ella from Kadoo Tours will take you on a guided bush walk and educate you on indigenous history.

"We believe that knowledge about Indigenous people/practices/land management and so on aids in reconciliation. If you don't know anything about a people it is much easier to disregard them," Grant says.

"The knowledge that Tim and his people possess about the land has been in place for 80,000 years. The use of plants as food, medicine, tools and weapons is incredible and in a single day peoples' perceptions of indigenous people can change. You meet Tim and walk in his footsteps and you will look at the bush and our plants completely differently."

On day two of the course, Jennice and Raymond Kersh, pioneers of the use of bush tucker in contemporary Australian cuisine, will instruct you on how to incorporate indigenous ingredients into your cooking.

By the end of the course, you'll have a greater understanding of our Aboriginal people, their history, culture and food. And you'll pick up some tips on how to incorporate it into your own cooking! It's an immersive cultural experience that will give you a greater appreciation for the original flavours of Australia.

What makes the Introduction to Indigenous Australian's Food and Culture one of the best indigenous food courses in Australia is that it will also contribute 12 hours of NESA Registered PD addressing 2.4.2 from the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers towards maintaining Proficient Teacher Accreditation in NSW.

So what are you waiting for – sign up now for the next course! Want more information about what it involves? Contact the program coordinator Georgina Bates, call us on 02 9314 6213 or get in touch via email: 

Latest Commercial Cookery Articles


Thank you for inviting us – we really did appreciate it. I must say I was really impressed by the Briar Ridge team – one of them (… Aiden) did a really great job explaining who they were, what they were about etc., and really took the time to give us the background on the person behind it all (Gwyn Olsen). He’d clearly immersed himself in the project, and I think she’d have been really pleased if she’d seen that. Happy to reach out and tell her so if you think it would help pave the way for future events.

- Anonymous, Winefest Guest 2015

I just wanted to express thanks and congratulations to all at Kenvale for the magnificent lunch provided on Thursday.

I have been to many hatted restaurants this year and can honestly say that they would have struggled to produce such fantastic dishes.

The lunch was a credit to your students and your staff.  It would be a privilege to enjoy another visit next year.

Best wishes to your graduating students for success in their career and to your staff to continue to guide students to reach such a high standard.

- Anonymous public guest at Kenvale Restaurant 2015

Ask us a question