Australia Day ambassador to Dubbo and "home cook hero" Lyndey Milan OAM believes in the power of food to bring about reconciliation and understanding.
With this year's theme of "reflect, respect, celebrate, we're all part of the story", she said Australia was a nation of stories and everyone had one, before sharing her own.
'I'm a fifth generation Australian, and while the area in which I have made my name is food and wine, it's actually something we all have in common, because 100 per cent of Australians eat," Milan said.
Food's importance to bring people together could firstly be seen with families, the woman who describes herself as a "complete food and wine person" said.
Milan urged households to "sit down over dinner, and eat and talk".
"No mobile phones, no TV, no remote control," she said.
"Use Australia's fabulous raw produce like what you have available here, to cook meals for family and friends, no matter how simple.
"And you'll really reap physical and psychological benefits."
Milan said in her media work she tried to show "Australians how really easy it is to use our wonderful produce, which is both accessible and affordable".
Our food supplies, like going to the beach, going for a bushwalk, or today's celebrations are not elitist.Lyndey Milan OAM
"Our food supplies, like going to the beach, going for a bushwalk, or today's celebrations are not elitist," she said.
"They are available to all Australians."
Food could also help people understand the wider community, Milan said.
"For Australia's changed immensely even just in my lifetime," she said.
"Think of how we eat - how can you hate someone when you love the food of their culture. It's the beginning of understanding them, and what their culture means, whether it's Indigenous, Indian, Asian, Middle Eastern, or whatever.
"We cook in woks as well as on barbecues, we're just as likely to eat sushi, noodles or a curry, as a meat pie.
"At last chefs are celebrating native foods.
"We've come a long way since the meat and three veg of my youth."
The 19-times ambassador said Australia Day was not only cause for celebration, but also for contemplation, about what it meant to be Australian.
"Our achievements, but also our failings," Milan said.
"What makes us unique, where we're headed, and our role internationally.
"The past two years have been extraordinarily challenging, both personally and professionally for many of us."
Milan said she saluted all those receiving awards on Australia Day.
"You're the ones making a difference, you're the unsung heroes, often working quietly behind the scenes and you are the true Australian achievers," she said.
"And it's the resilience of communities, and their willingness to help and give that defines the Australian spirit.
"We need to make sure future generations feel just as proud and fortunate as we do to be Australian.
"The future of our country depends on every individual, and we can all make our mark and a difference.
"We may face drought, floods, bushfire and other hardships, but invariably Australians get by with a curse, a joke and a song."