Aboriginal Food: Interview With the Bush Tukka Woman

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With her cookbook in the bestseller’s list and filming recently rapping up on her latest television series, Samantha Martin, aka the Bush Tukka Woman, is already busy working on her next project.

Travel NQ recently caught up with Samantha to talk about the book, her television commitments and her production company Sacred Oz. And as usual, there was no slowing down for Samantha as she juggles multiple projects at one time.

TNQ: Were you surprised by the success of The Bush Tukka Guide?

bush tucker womanYes, because it’s number three on the bestseller’s list at the moment, which is great.

I knew that people were interested because I had been talking about Aboriginal foods, or ‘bush tukka’ foods, for quite a while in my TV series.

I discovered that a lot of people actually wanted to dabble in bush cooking but didn’t know how to recognise bush foods or how to bring it into their kitchens.

That’s how the book came about.

TNQ: Tell us a bit about the book

It basically follows the tracks of my ancestors and the food I grew up with.

The cookbook features about 50 different bush foods found across Australia and explains what they are and how to cook them. It includes 10 of my favourite recipes. Bush food really is very simple to cook.

TNQ: Tell us about the Bush Tukka Woman TV series

We recently finished filming the next series for SBS and NITV (National Indigenous TV), focusing on Survival Bush Tukka Food Cooked Gourmet Style.

We visited the Cape, the Kimberley, Arnhem Land and the Sunshine Coast for this series, cooking up fish, turtle and native turkey (Bustard Bird) in the traditional way using indigenous ingredients. This series has just aired on NITV.

TNQ: We understand you have also been busy on other filming projects with Sacred Oz, the production company you run with Michael Butler?

aboriginal documentaryYes, Michael and I regularly travel to remote Indigenous communities teaching community members the basic tools for using multi media as part of our TEAM Program (Teaching Everyone About Multimedia).

We recently worked with various remote communities in the Lower Gulf region of Mornington Island and Doomadgee helping them film and edit their own stories so the importance of storytelling will continue to live on within these families and communities for generations to come.

Storytelling is an important part of life for Australian Aboriginal communities and multi-media provides another forum to tell their stories.

TNQ: You have also just filmed a documentary with the Royal Flying Doctor Service?

Yes we have been working alongside the Royal Flying Doctors to produce a documentary called ‘Strong Fathers, Strong Families’.

It aims to show the importance of strong male role models within Indigenous communities and what roles they can play in being better fathers and taking on a more active role in antenatal care within the family unit.

We filmed primary health care nurses on the ground working with Indigenous mums and bubs and the nursing staff helping the dads be more involved. It was a really positive project to be involved with and one which will help showcase the great work the Royal Flying Doctor Service does in the Lower Gulf.

TNQ: So what’s next for you?

bush tukka womanMichael and I are just starting to work on editing our next documentary called The Walkabout Woman, which we filmed while travelling throughout Thailand, Germany, Austria, New York and Florida.

We travelled around the world and learnt about other Indigenous communities, traditions and customs and are now putting together what we hope will be an eight part series.

I am also involved with Tjapukai Cultural Park in Cairns as Product Development Manager and will be taking on more of a role at the Aboriginal Park in the coming months.

Renovations are currently underway to turn Tjapukai into a bigger and better venue and it is a really exciting time for all of Indigenous Australia.

travel nq fast facts:

  • Samantha’s Bush Tukka Guide is available to purchase through the SBS bookshop or through Explore Australia’s bookshop.
  • You can find out more about the Bush Tukka Woman TV series and DVD’s at www.sacredoz.com

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