Jason Wilkes
Top-end chef 

The wonderful thing about diverse backgrounds is the experience and knowledge that is contributed by each individual that has the effect of making the collective team such a strong and tight family like unit"

Check out Jason's mouth-watering Braised Oxtail recipe here

 

What is your cultural background?

I am a 5th generation Australia born in a small country town in Central Queensland. We moved to Brisbane when I was 11 and lived there for the next 7 years until I started my apprenticeship.
After finishing my apprenticeship, I became a nomad drifting around Australia on a quest to improve my culinary knowledge and skills.

How has cultural diversity impacted your life?

Growing up in central Queensland in the 70’s, I remember having many Indigenous friends, others from Europe and Asia, but the majority where Australian born 3rd or 4th generation. This circle of friends I had at an early age was all inclusive regardless of the colour of your skin or where you were from. Being part of my friend’s lives included being in their homes with their families and sitting down to simple meals of rice or stew. I was often an outsider to their culture but was always accepted into their household; at times this was very humbling.   

What role does food play in bringing people and cultures together?

As a chef I love all types of food and cuisine.  I live in a melting pot of cultures and cuisines with the most amazing ingredients. Living and working in Darwin has its own eclectic mix of cultures. This is embraced and enhanced more by the influx of local and international tourists year round. This cross pollination of cultural diversity is everywhere and has unassuming influences on everyone who lives here.

Why is it important to learn about and understand the different cultures of the people you work with?

My workplace is like a larder in the world kitchen. We have Indian, Chinese Malaysian, South Korean, East Timorese, English, South African, Scottish and a sprinkle of Australian born people in my small team of 13. With these backgrounds comes an amazing array of food on a regular occurrence at our lunch table. The wonderful thing about such diverse backgrounds is the experience and knowledge that is contributed by each individual that has the effect of making the collective team such a strong and tight family like unit

Why should Australians get involved with A Taste of Harmony?

Ignorance is the root of all fear and food is a staple of life. The simple concept of combining the two facts gives opportunity for conversation to commence which can then lead to a greater understanding. Every individual has something of worth to contribute and I think the colloquial Australian saying “give it a fare go” needs  to be reintroduced into main stream society to remind people that we have only achieved what we have so far by working hard but also helping each other.     
 

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