Clayton's cooking up a real treat in the valley

AFTER 17 years and 71 restaurants, Koori chef Clayton Donovan has finally returned to the valley and opened his own restaurant in Nambucca.

Sitting directly above the river, not far from the V-Wall where Clayton first began his

career with food, Jaaning Tree offers visitors fine dining with loads of fresh produce, bush herbs and spices plus some signature bush tucker dishes.

“As a Koori kid growing up in Macksville and Scotts Head, we were often out collecting tucker for the elders,” Clayton said.

“I was the tastebuds of the family - I loved trying different foods.

“Plus my best friend was Italian and I used to enjoy the rich flavours of Italian food.”

About 15 years ago another mate advised Clayton to 'piss off' to Sydney and get cooking.

“I landed a job at Balmoral's Watermark Restaurant. The food was fusion, multicultural and created with passion - it was fantastic.”

With his English wife, Jane, the couple moved to Cornwall where Clayton continued collecting ideas and experience.

Jaaning Tree, named after the edible sap of the black wattle, is open daily except Mondays, for bookings phone 6569 4444.

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