Emulate ancestors to be much stronger - GulfToday

Emulate ancestors to be much stronger


Master Chef Mindy Woods at the Wattle Room of the Australian Pavilion of Expo 2020 Dubai during the ‘Tolerance and Inclusivity Week’. Kamal Kassim / Gulf Today

Mariecar Jara-Puyod, Senior Reporter

Trite as it may be, but, creating a sustainable future would be much easier when everyone takes the pleasure of examining how their ancestors had overcome what could have been insurmountable.

In the case of recent UAE visitor Mindy Woods, she took it from her very own “Nan,” the pillar of their clan who patiently taught family and relatives why food and everything that goes with it must not be taken lightly.

“We still forage our ingredients ‘til now and yes, these date back from as far as 60,000 years,” she told Gulf Today.

A descendant of the Widjabul tribe, among the 15 aboriginal tribes of the Bandjalung Nation, the original inhabitants of the northern coast of New South Wales, Australia, Woods, was the featured celebrity chef at the Australian Pavilion in the Mobility District of the Expo2020 Dubai for the Nov.16 to 20 “Tolerance & Inclusivity Week.”

There are between 370 million to 500 million indigenous tribes from 90 countries, according to the recent data of World Bank which also noted that in the past 20 years, more governments have acknowledged and moved positively for their recognition, rights and privileges.

As the featured celebrity chef - as the Australian Pavilion always brings in master chefs from Down Under for the cultural diplomacy to the world - and to represent her own history, Woods who owns and manages the Karkalla restaurant in the tourism destination of Byron Bay in southeastern New South Wales, brought along with her native ingredients for the Aussie lunch cuisine she personally prepared on Thursday.

On the sidelines, she gave her views on how sustainable practices in cooking and healthy lifestyle mesh with the preservation of the environment and thus, Australians and those who visit the continent, up to these modern times, are able to enjoy and experience good health at the minimum: “I take great inspiration from local and seasonal produce and native indigenous ingredients. I was inspired by the teachings of my Nan (Widjabul term for grandmother) who is aborigine, my mother and aunties, when it comes to understanding and appreciating food.”

The MasterChef finalist in 2012 who went on to study “sustainable horticulture” to strengthen her innate and given interest in indigenous Aussie cuisine pointed out: “You see, food is not just to nourish us. Man connects with each other through food. We come together through food. We get to know each other through food. Food also protects us and heals us much as Modern Medicine.”

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