Celebrity chef Jock Zonfrillo calls in KPMG for Orana's closure

08 October 2020 Consultancy.com.au 2 min. read

One of Adelaide's most-lauded restaurants has folded amid its months-long pandemic-induced closure. Owned by MasterChef Australia judge Jock Zonfrillo, Orana was operated by two companies which will now be sold off by KPMG administrators.

Founded seven years ago, restaurant Orana was an Adelaide based venue which sought to build its menu around Indigenous foods and culture. According to the Financial Times, the business lost a staggering $700,000 in the first year and at one stage Chef and Owner Jock Zonfrillo, who formerly worked for Marco Pierre White and Gordon Ramsay, had 23 credit cards just to “spread the load.”

After being open for a second year, the dining business was down $500,000, and then the year after that $157,000 down – before it eventually broke even.

In more recently times the eatery has seen a big turnaround however. Awarded Australian Restaurant of the Year 2018 and 2019, the restaurant seemed poised for further success in 2020 – before the coronavirus outbreak forced it to close its doors in March. However, what had initially been planned as a temporary measure has now become a permanent closure.

Celebrity chef Jock Zonfrillo calls in KPMG for Orana's closure

Perhaps best known for his role as a judge on the latest season of Australia’s MasterChef, Scottish-born Zonfrillo confirmed that Orana’s two operating companies had filed for voluntary administration.

Speaking to Australian paper The Advertiser, Zonfrillo stated that despite being “up to date with paying staff their leave, redundancies and superannuations, and all our lodgements with the Australian Taxation Office,” the restaurant’s leadership had decided it was in the best interests of all parties involved to appoint KPMG to weigh up options for its assets.

KPMG partners David Kidman and Martin Lewis have been installed as voluntary administrators over The Living Room Bar and Bistro Blackwood, which previously operated the Orana. Taking to Facebook to issue a further statement, Zonfrillo said he expected the process to be “finalised in the coming months.”

He said, “In our seven years, Restaurant Orana has moved through moments of despair, perseverance, and celebration. We got a lot wrong but we also got a lot right… Like all of my hospo mates around the world, Covid closed our doors. For us, with our lease ending in a couple of months and the current restrictions meaning we can't break even, our closure has become permanent… As we packed up our little restaurant back in March, with ex-staff coming in to help out the team, we had no idea how long this thing would last for, none of us thought it would mean the end.”

The news comes months after it was revealed another of Zonfrillo’s eateries – Mallozzi, like Orana also based on Rundle Street – tallied up almost $100,000 in trading losses in less than a year, according to a liquidator’s report into the doomed venture.