Community and compassion dominate this year’s Carriageworks Summer Night Markets program. Curated by chef Kylie Kwong, the diverse line-up of food, talks and music is a direct response to Until, the on-site exhibition by American artist Nick Cave (not to be confused with the Australian singer), which spotlights the responsibility of an artist to engage with the community via thousands of used objects.
Kwong was so moved by Cave’s monumental exhibition that she asked this year’s participating chefs and collaborators to serve up dishes that celebrate diverse global community and storytelling.
“I felt really inspired by Nick’s message in Until and immediately thought of my own practice as a cook – what does it mean to be a cook, why do I choose to offer the food I serve, what is my message, what do I stand for and what best ways can I positively contribute to the community?” Kwong said in a statement.
A highlight of this year’s Carriageworks program is a collaboration between Attica’s Ben Shewry and managing director of Ngaran Ngaran Culture Awareness, Dwayne Bannon-Harrison. A Yuin man from Black Duck Country in the Shoalhaven region of NSW, Bannon-Harrison helps Indigenous families continue the legacies passed down to them while assisting them to create economic opportunities within their communities.
Bannon-Harrison and his wife also run Mirritya Mundya Indigenous Twist Catering, a company servicing the south coast.
It’s not uncommon to find Indigenous Australian ingredients on restaurant and cafe menus nowadays, with ingredients like lemon myrtle, wattleseed and finger lime enjoying their time in the sun, but Bannon-Harrison finds the startlingly low representation of Indigenous people in the supply chain disturbing. He urges chefs to actively seek out this information and only buy Aboriginal-owned ingredients.
“It’s a really important thing for us as Indigenous people to try to make sure that Aboriginal people are getting acknowledged and also benefitting economically through this business,” Bannon-Harrison tells SBS. “I’ve seen some pretty alarming statistics – I believe around one per cent of Indigenous products flying around at the moment in Australia are Aboriginal-owned. My message to chefs is to learn and go out there and see what you’re actually putting into your menu.”
Echoing Kwong’s sentiments about supporting and contributing to your local community, Bannon-Harrison stresses the importance of “country” when ingredient-sourcing.
“We don’t serve crocodile or something that’s not from where we come from. We believe that’s for other brothers and sisters [from] where crocodile comes from. We try to stick to what’s in and around our area, because we understand what our old people have taught us," he says.
“I’ve seen some pretty alarming statistics – I believe around one per cent of Indigenous products flying around at the moment in Australia are Aboriginal-owned. My message to chefs is to learn and go out there and see what you’re actually putting into your menu.”
“The more we can champion and support and respect Indigenous flavours and cuisine, the better for everybody in the country that they call Australia.”
Following the success of his appearance at last year’s Carriageworks night markets where he helped Porteño founders Ben Milgate and Elvis Abrahanowicz build a traditional Aboriginal fire, Bannon-Harrison will again be building a coal bed this time alongside Ben Shewry from Melbourne’s three-hatted Attica.
“Traditional fire-making is an art in itself – it’s an ancient tradition that’s been passed down. I’ll be sharing that process with Ben and we’ll be having a bit of fun with it. We’ve had a bit of a chat and seem to connect really well, so I’m really looking forward to working with Ben to bring some rustic, wholesome, unique Indigenous flavours to simple food.”
As well as Shewry and Bannon-Harrison’s demonstration, Noma chef René Redzepi’s non-profit organisation Mad will feature, as will Four Brave Women, the refugee-run eatery from Summer Hill. Get the full line-up and stallholder list over at the Carriageworks website.
245 Wilson St, Eveleigh
15 February, 5 pm - 10 pm