10 May 2024: The CRCNA hosted a sold-out lunch at Beef Week today, showcasing tropical beef production from Northern Australia. Australia’s most celebrated First Nations chef bought the flavours of the outback to Darumbal Country in Rockhampton as part of the Beef2024 Celebrity Chef Program. Mark Olive, aka ‘The Black Olive’, garnered global acclaim for his unique approach to ombining traditional Australian ingredients with contemporary lifestyle cooking, showcased on his own television series The Outback Café as well as a host of Masterchef and The Chef’s Line. He also delivered an Indigenous cooking event for Oprah’s Ultimate Australian Adventure.

Diners were treated to a three-course lunch curated by Mark while he cooked live on stage, weaving together native Australian flavours with succulent cuts of Northern Australian Wagyu from the Australian Agricultural Company’s (AACo) cattle stations in the Barkly Region of the Northern Territory and in the Gulf region of north-west Queensland.

The First course was a beef skewer with bush tomato relish known traditionally as ‘akudjura’. Followed by an Outback Beef Salad with wattle seed as the hero and ended with a rib roast and pepper berry sauce.

The CRCNA is supporting the northern cattle industry through industry-led research into enhanced productions; feedlot systems aligned with tropical wet and dry seasons; supply chain studies; higher value rotational crops to support on-farm diversification and supporting increased capacity of First Nations led production through business on country initiatives.

AACo are a valued industry partner of the CRCNA and involved in the Cotton, Grains, Cattle research program which is focused on integrating agricultural systems to bolster productivity across the north’s cropping and cattle sectors to refine agricultural development that’s tailored to the north’s unique operating environment.

Quotes attributed to the CRCNA Chief Executive Strategy and Engagement, Mr Anthony Curro

“The cattle industry in Northern Australia is a significant economic contributor, valued at over $5 billion annually and employs more than 10,000 people and represents over 64% of Australia’s national herd.

“The CRCNA’s lunch with Mark Olive is a great opportunity to shine a light on the unique operating environment of tropical beef production across Australia’s north. “Producers battle with supply chain and logistic challenges, severe climatic events from cyclones, flooding, drought and bush fires through to feral animal management, with many based in remote and very remote regions. “Beef2024 helps showcase the Northern Australia cattle industry on a global stage, shining a light on the dedicated, innovative and inspiring producers who contribute to the sustainabledevelopment of Northern Australia, including the important role First Nations producers play in the industry through management, workforces, and environmental and cultural knowledge.

“Beef2024 is important for collaboration and knowledge sharing which is critical as we move to more sustainable, climate resilient and nature positive development for production systems” Mr Curro said.

Quotes attributed to celebrity chef, Mr Mark Olive, aka ‘The Black Olive’

“Australian beef is the best in the world. We’ve always been way ahead of what other countries are doing, in our farming practices and the cuts of beef we produce.

“I just love the flavours of different cuts, especially sirloin, scotch fillet and eye fillet, which is very lean but also packed with flavour. It’s all about the flavour.”

“I use a lot of bush tucker, and it’s an exciting challenge to match First Nations herbs with the unique flavours of different cuts of beef from locations like Northern Australia,” Mr Olive said.


The CRCNA is delivering industry-led research and development that de-risks investment in Northern Australia with a focus on First Nations led business development, agriculture, aquaculture, water security and health service delivery.

The CRCNA is a key initiative of the Australian Government’s developing Northern Australia agenda and is investing $75 million of Commonwealth funds over 10 years from 2017 to 2027.

To date, the CRCNA has created over $154 million in research investments for 118 Northern Australian development projects and collaborated with more than 517 project partners.

The CRCNA is funded as part of the Australian Government ‘s Cooperative Research Centre Program.


Media enquiries
Bel Carlson | CRCNA, b.carlson@crcna.com.au
For more information on the Celebrity Chef Program, visit the Beef2024 website.

CRCNA – Cooperative Research Centre for Developing Northern Australia