Culture and cuisine mix

By Ashleigh Fielding | posted on November 14, 2019

YOUTH from across the state will converge in Albany next week to share and learn more about each other’s cultures.

Kinjarling Djinda Ngardak – translating to Albany Comes Alive Under the Stars – will see Indigenous teenagers who share a passion for food have first-hand experience working in the food industry.

They will forage and collect food from the Indigenous country of Albany, Menang country, and by doing so, learn about the Menang culture.

They will then prepare and serve the food at a gala dinner on November 23.

Elder Vernice Gillies said this event was extremely important culturally as the youth from different Indigenous backgrounds had very diverse foods, practices and languages.

“For some kids, English is their second language,” she said.

“But they are all the same age, so they connect on their own level such as with the music they listen to.

“By the end of the program, they are using sign language which each other or teaching the language to each other – they have a ball.”

Ms Gillies said the event took an immense amount of organising because it included arranging students to travel from as far as Kununurra – a whopping 3600km away – to be involved.

“They will be staying on country that’s not their own, so it will be a chance for them to learn the stories of our place, about our bush food … it’s about learning and sharing,” she said.

“A lot of these kids come from flat country so the scenery here will be very different to them.”

Since the Djinda Ngardak program began in 2017, Albany has hosted it twice.

Ms Gillies said going into the future, the program organisers were working to make Albany the host every year.

Renowned chefs Reece Lardi, Paul Oskov, Rogan Parks, Melissa Palinkas and Anna Gare will be in attendance during the program to mentor the students in their culinary masterclasses.

Menang Elders will also participate during activities on-country to facilitate the exploration of traditional plants and ingredients, as well as teach about Menang culture.

The gala dinner on November 23 will be held at the Albany Entertainment Centre and begin at 5.30pm.