[White text on a black screen reads Mark Olive, executive chef and owner, Black Olive. In the bottom right corner, the logo for Gusto! A culinary history of Victoria appears.
In a restaurant kitchen, a man wears a black chef’s uniform and hat.]
Mark Olive: I’m from the Bundjalung region, Northern Rivers of New South Wales – so we’re talking Casino, Ballina, Lismore, that area. But I grew up in Wollongong on the south coast just below Sydney but now reside in Melbourne. And I got involved in food basically watching my aunts and my mother cook and I was really curious and fascinated how it all came together and just ... it amazed me.
[In a kitchen, Mark handles bags of food.]
Mark: It’s been a really good practice for me being trained by a European chef. And to start incorporating the indigenous herbs and spices like I did back in the ’80s, I mean, that was just playing around with a lot of food and stuff you couldn’t get at that time but now it is commercially available.
[On a kitchen bench, herbs, spices and fruit are displayed on sheets of bark. Bottles and jars of herbs, preserved fruits and sauces stand nearby.]
Mark: Things like the saltbush and the mountain pepper. I mean, all these amazing herbs we’ve got. The bush tomato and aniseed myrtles and lemon aspens and the riberries make great jams. The quandongs and ... It’s getting out there. So I was able to incorporate the indigenous herbs with the contemporary type food. That’s how I’ve been able to bring it to the table and not only that, to the palate of a lot of Australians, is to make something look European but taste totally different.
[On a plate, a thick piece of meat is topped with a layer of nuts.
A meringue dessert is layered with berries, syrup and whipped cream.]
Mark: I think getting people to really embrace kangaroo and emu, is what we’ve got to realise is it’s never been named Aboriginal people’s coat of arms. It was a viable clothing and food source. And once you start telling those stories, the lights switch on but I think also the meat industry one day will have to really address a name for it. We don’t go to the butchers and ask for a kilo of pig, sheep and cow, we actually ask for beef, pork or lamb. Kangaroo, emu, crocodile, wallaby, possum, whatever you want – camel, goat ... You instantly associate the animal with your head. We need that disassociation when you’re buying it, then you’re not associating and seeing the animal when you’re actually asking for these meats. So that day will come, and hopefully soon.
[A pile of cooked vegetables is topped with layers of sliced meat.]
Mark: You know, crocodile’s got its own texture, its own flavour and it really hasn’t got a flavour but it takes on the flavour of everything. Great to marinate with. You’ve got the emu – very, very lean, high in protein, great with the iron as well. Same with the kangaroo – very lean, high in iron and protein. It’s a meat that shouldn’t be overcooked. It should be eaten rare to medium rare. Any more and it’s like a leather handbag. But that’s the way to do it. I like to sear it – kangaroo and emu especially, and wallaby – is just sear it on a really hot frypan, sit it on a rack, put it straight into an oven, let it sit there for about ten minutes, 180, 190, take it out, and just let it relax for five minutes and then you get that lovely pink hue through it …
[Slices of red meat arranged on a plate are pinkish in the centre.]
Mark: … and it just melts in your mouth. It’s just like rare roast beef. That’s how it should be eaten. Possum – just like osso buco. Lots of tomato, lots of our bush tomatoes, lots of lemon myrtle and also the aniseed myrtle gives it that lovely fennel taste. Lots of merlot, and let it sit for six hours and then cook it really, really slow. And by the end of the day, you’ve got this meat that just falls off and it’s got this lovely licorice, sticky, peppery merlot favour through it, it’s unbelievable. I, you know, spruik our food as our national cuisine. Americans still think it’s a pie and … or a prawn on the barbie and a can of Foster’s. Well, we’ve gone way beyond that.
[White credits show on a black screen.
Senior producer: Andrew Barrie, Lightwell
Production assistant: Fiona McCallum, Lightwell
Editor: Steve McCallum
Direction and camera assistance: Antuong Nguyen
Cinematographer: Gus Kemp
Interviewer: Tracey Judd Iva (Gusto! exhibition curator)
Exhibition manager: Edwina Bartlem
Exhibition coordinator: Eleanor Adams
Mark Olive, interviewed at Black Olive Catering, North Melbourne
Concepts and research: Robert Heather, Tracey Judd Iva, Ann Carew, Edwina Bartlem, Anna Corkhill
Images: Mark Olive images photographed by Wayne Quilliam, courtesy of Black Olive Catering.]
[On a black screen, the logo for Gusto! A culinary history of Victoria appears above the words A State Library of Victoria exhibition, 3 August 2012 – 28 April 2013. slv.vic.gov.au/gusto.
The logos for State Library of Victoria and State Government of Victoria appear underneath.]
[On a black screen, three rows of logos appear in white.
Sponsored by: City of Melbourne, William Angliss Institute.
Supported by: Markets of Melbourne.
Program partners: Melbourne Food & Wine festival presented by Bank of Melbourne, Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Foundation, The Little Veggie Patch Company and The Sebel Heritage, Yarra Valley.]