Growing up on a tropical fruit farm has given celebrity chef Matt Golinski an appreciation of why it is important to use local produce in the kitchen and it is a message he will be sharing at the Moreton Bay Food + Wine Festival.
“I was surrounded by the best of everything from a really early age and that’s really one of the things that inspired me to be a chef in the first place,” he explains.
“My weekends were always in the kitchen backing cakes and making whatever recipes I could find the stuff for. Being surrounded by all that produce has driven the way I look at food now to this day.”
He recalls thinking, at eight years of age, that he wanted to be a chef.
“So, 41 years on and I still love it. I feel pretty blessed that I chose the right thing. I still get excited about going to work every day. I’m a lucky man,” he says.
Part of that excitement is learning something new every day.
“You can live a thousand lifetimes and still not know everything there is to know. There’s not a day that goes by that I’m at work that I don’t learn something new about myself as a cook or about an ingredient or think of something new to do with something,” he says.
“It’s endless learning. It’s also endless creativity. You’re only limited by your imagination in the kitchen.”
When creating a menu, Matt starts with the produce that is in season and available locally.
“If the strawberry season has started, then I’m looking at strawberries; if the fig season’s ended, then figs are off the menu,” he says.
“That’s the way I drive any menu is based around what I can get the best of locally and be ready to change things out as the seasons change.”
Matt has become an ambassador for regional produce and will headline Moreton Bay Food + Wine Festival on July 31 and August 1.
Foodies can watch his cooking demonstrations and learn tips and tricks at the Seafood Cooking Stage, presented by USC.
“It’s going to be a fantastic weekend. I’ll be here on the Saturday and the Sunday and absorbing the whole feeling of what this region’s about … all right here in this beautiful setting at Woody Point,” he says.
“I’m hoping I’m going to be eating a lot at the Moreton Bay Food + Wine Festival. I’m looking forward to that because this is the place you want to do it.”
Matt is a proud Queenslander who relishes the chance to travel to different regions, meet growers and learn more about their produce.
“That directly relates to how I see the product I’m using and how I then put it onto the plate,” he says.
“All the regions of Australia are great but the ones that I’ve been to, and I know, I feel close to them having gotten to know them a little bit better over the years.”
So, is there a hero of the Moreton Bay Region, when it comes to food?
“Obviously, seafood is the big one and that’s what most people would think of when they think of Moreton Bay,” Matt says.
“It’s a bay afterall, but the other one that comes to mind for me is the strawberry growers out around Wamuran, Mt Mee … all that area … it’s a big area for strawberry production and it always has been.”
Matt says everyone has the ability to cook, but many lack confidence.
“It’s not scary, it’s not hard, it’s a very natural thing working with food and it’s a beautiful thing to do,” he says.
“Mostly, people’s apprehension comes from past failures or just a fear of failure and you’ve got to be prepared to fail. I still do and I think every chef still does.
“You learn and you move on from it and you learn not to do it again. Just keep it simple from the start, build a repertoire of a few meals that you do well and build on it.”
Moreton Bay Food + Wine Festival is the signature event of the six-week Tastes of Moreton Bay program.
Moreton Bay Region Industry and Tourism (MBRIT) has partnered with Moreton Bay Regional Council, Tourism and Events Queensland and sponsors to deliver the event.
What: Moreton Bay Food + Wine Festival, with cooking demonstrations; local tastes pavilion; craft brews by the bay; home, garden and lifestyle pavilion; cocktail corner; masterclasses and much more
When: July 30 (launch party), July 31 and August 1. Matt Golinski will appear on July 31 and August 1
Where: Apex Park, Woody Point