Adelaide Fringe

Fringe Review: Secret Recipes

A warm and lavish concept lay at the heart of Secret Recipes.


Presented by Welcoming Australia

Reviewed 19 February 2022

More than mere nutrition for our bodies, food nourishes our relationships. To eat together is to is to come together, and in our gathering we share stories. Presented by Welcoming Australia, Secret Recipes is about food as connection, as inspiration and as story.

With a Welcome to Country by Jack Buckskin, who led us in a smoking and cleansing, the event began outside The Welcoming Centre with a collective embrace (metaphorically speaking, of course – these are COVID times and safety measures were in place). We then entered the small community centre and sat at two long tables, making neighbours out of strangers, and we listened to songs of country by Glenn Skuthorpe while we settled in. Our host, Kate Leaney, was sincere and generous, and as we ate our first dish – paroo kangaroo pizza – she interviewed Markus Blake, owner of NativeX, a small catering and product business that uses native ingredients. He was also our chef for the day.

Though the event was promoted as a cultural experience of ‘stories, music, poetry and arts’ paired with food, this one took a didactic approach. We were educated on the concept of his business, which is a sustainable one, a stepping away from mainstream food and enjoying the abundance of our native meats, herbs and fruit: wild boar, lemon myrtle, finger lime. Blake’s goal is to bring his culture to Australia while supporting local Indigenous communities, from product sourcing to manufacturing and employment. There are two more Secret Recipes planned for the Fringe, both with different guests from different cultures, both with different topics and deliveries.

Though I did long for storytelling that illuminated core connections with community and food, that dealt in memory and tradition, rather than one that highlighted a business model, I was nourished, both in body and soul, because what ultimately happened was connective. In the act of communal eating, we offer morsels of ourselves to others, which are accepted, as if we’re saying, I made this with my hands and I would like you to eat it, to taste and chew it, to swallow it and let it fill you, and a giving of thanks follows. A personal bond is formed, only sometimes we mightn’t recognise it as such since eating is a commonplace event. This event is a wonderful reminder to consider the place of food in the relationships we build, and celebrate.

Reviewed by Heather Taylor-Johnson

The Welcoming Centre 
Thursday 3 March 2022 6pm  Saturday 19 March 2022 1pm

Duration:  120 mins

Rating out of 5: 4

 #Adelaide #ADLFringe

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