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A macadamia moment with Mindy Woods

Bundjalung woman of the Widjabul Wia-bul clan, owner of Karkalla Byron Bay and MasterChef Australia 2022 top ten finalist, we are thrilled to take a macadamia moment with Mindy Woods.

What’s your favourite place to eat anywhere in the world?

My favourite place to eat anywhere in the world is down on the beach with my family. 

My favourite and most cherished memories and experiences are those spent fishing, pipi-ing, cooking over an open fire and eating seafood down on the beach with my mob. There is absolutely nothing better in the world.

What ingredients have you really been enjoying lately?

I’m most excited about exploring the abundance of local produce from the Northern Rivers region. Fresh seasonal fruit and vegetables, wild caught seafood, organic, free range protein and of course the abundance of native ingredients that are thankfully becoming more accessible. 

A traditional food bowl for thousands of years for our Bundjalung ancestors, I love that our region continues to supply the highest quality premium produce albeit in a modern context for our modern world.

I have no doubt that our local farmers and producers offer the very best Australia has to offer. 

Eating and cooking in rhythm with nature showcases the very best in ingredients and flavour and I find that truly exciting. 

Where do you look for inspiration when you are creating a recipe or menu?

Our traditional calendar has six seasons and I love drawing inspiration from nature to inspire my menu. Whether it’s choosing the  natives that are fruiting or flowering now or the seafood that is coming through, working with nature seems to be a perfect way to create dishes and build my menu.

Reflecting and celebrating nature throughout my menu also feels like a wonderful way to connect with Country. 

Do you remember when you first tried a macadamia?

I do! Gumbar is the traditional Bundjalung name for macadamia or bush nut. My Aunties worked on macadamia farms when I was little so there was always a bag full of macadamia nuts underneath my Nans house. A bunch of us kids would sit under Nan’s house on the concrete floor cracking nuts with a hammer or brick trying not to squish our little fingers! Our job would be to fill a jam jar of Gumbar for Nan and eat a few (or a lot!) along the way. There was a lot of work involved to extract each and every little nut but we loved it. 

“Gumbar is the traditional Bundjalung name for

macadamia or bush nut”

What’s your favourite non-work thing to do right now? 

My favourite thing to do outside of work is being on Country. I spend time on Country whenever I get an opportunity. I feel it’s connecting me with the past and also helping guide my future. It is both a time for healing and a time for being inspired. 

If you were an ice cream what flavour would you be? 

Oh I love ice cream! I would definitely be something fruity, creamy and a little bit nutty! Probably a white chocolate and mango swirl with macadamias.

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