Chef Nik Flack takes bush foods to a new level in The Flackyard restaurant, hidden in the rural hinterland of Mackay.

Story + Photos Don Fuchs

"We are trying to create Australia’s cuisine.” The man making this big call is Nik Flack. He owns The Flackyard restaurant, in the tiny town of Pinnacle in the rural Pioneer Valley, 50km west of Mackay, Qld. In this out-of-the-way location he dishes out fine cuisine with a bush food twist. 

“I got my first taste of bush foods up in the Kimberley in Broome when I was living up there,” he says. “I fell in love with cooking with bush foods.” 

Nik grew up in Finch Hatton, 10 minutes down the road from his restaurant, and the local Indigenous community features prominently in his plans. “One of our biggest goals for the business is to be able to create employment locally with our Indigenous mob, the Yuwibara people,” he says, “whether they are foraging or sourcing from Country, or even potentially opening a nursery and growing bush foods that are endemic to this climate.” 

According to Nik, of the 5,500 edible fruits and plants native to Australia, only about 50 are used commercially, so sourcing ingredients for his dishes is a challenge. 

This story excerpt is from Issue #148

Outback Magazine: April/May 2023