As part of this year’s first-ever Vivid Food pillar, the lights and arts festival’s mammoth line-up includes a Sydney residency by famed New York restaurant Eleven Madison Park, a dinner at Ivy Ballroom by two of the city’s best chefs, a new food festival curated by P&V’s Mike Bennie and Chat Thai’s Palisa Anderson, and plenty more.

Among them: a one-of-a-kind dining experience inside Carriageworks’ storied former locomotive workshops, highlighting the cuisines and native ingredients of Australia’s rich Aboriginal culture and history.

It’s being led by Ngemba Weilwan woman and chef Sharon Winsor, who sees her native food business Indigiearth as a way of grounding herself in her roots.

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“For me personally, I've experienced lots of trauma in my life through severe domestic violence [and] the loss of my first child, who was stillborn. And so what I do with the business is my healing,” she tells Broadsheet. “It's my connection to food, its connection to culture, to spirituality, to Mother Earth – that will forever be my healing in life.”

She’s been bringing native foods and flavours to the wider community for 27 years, and she’s seen how indigenous ingredients have gained traction in the last few years. With the Warakirri Dining Experience at Vivid, she wants to challenge ideas of what native cuisine is even further.

“The perception among a lot of people generally is that native foods are not [for] fine dining, or they can’t be fine dining. [This is] me wanting to bring them to an element of fine dining and show they can go together. Our culture that’s 60,000 years old – we can bring it into fine dining for people to experience,” she says.

The dinner starts with a smoking ceremony and live didgeridoo performances as guests arrive and take their seats. Five courses will be served, along with pairings by Orlando Wines, and Winsor will come out between each dish to talk about what’s been put in front of diners, the native ingredients used in the course, where those ingredients come from, their traditional and medicinal uses, and the native food industry as a whole.

On the menu are a native grains damper with bush tomato whipped butter; grilled sardines in lemon myrtle, olive oil, native thyme and karkalla; a dish called Campfire Kangaroo, with slow-cooked kangaroo meat, native yams, bush tomatoes and Davidson’s plum; and a Davidson’s plum chocolate ganache tart with Chantilly cream.

“It’s about showcasing our culture and food that’s [always] been here – we’ve never stopped using our native ingredients, there’s never been a disconnect. A lot of it has been coming to the forefront recently in restaurants, but it’s something that we as Aboriginal people have never been disconnected from. And there’s so many different things that are here in our own backyard that people kind of overlook,” Winsor says.

Tickets to the Warakirri Dining Experience at Carriageworks cost $250 per person, inclusive of five courses and paired wines. Guests also get after-hours access to The National 4: Australian Art Now.

This event will sell out fast, but Access has saved its members exclusive tickets (with a complimentary bottle of wine included). Find out more about Access.