With the 2014 Good Food and Wine Show around the corner, I managed to catch up with Chef Matt Stone, Executive Chef of Greenhouse in Perth and BROTHL in Melbourne, for a quick interview as he prepares to journey to Brisbane to once again cook at the Lifestyle FOOD Chef’s Table. If last year’s Good Food and Wine Show demonstration was anything to go by it will be epic. Expect Stone’s signature modern Australian style utilising the best native flavours and ingredients.
Having met Matt Stone whilst he was making my porridge order in his open kitchen at waste-free cafe Silo by Joost (now BROTHL) a few years ago, I have followed his journey with interest. Stone’s recent career movements have taken him from filming his Recipes that Rock series in Western Australia, to the kitchens of Masterchef, to speaking at TEDxAuckland about zero waste restaurants and conscious consumption. To say I was slightly excited by the opportunity to interview someone whose hard work I admire and whose food ethics and views on sustainable living I respect would be an understatement!
At what age did you realise you wanted to be a chef? Was there a defining moment?
I never really thought about being a chef when I was growing up. I left school when I was 15 and got a casual job washing dishes. I fell in love with the buzz of the kitchen and haven’t thought about any other career since.
You’ve achieved an incredible amount in such a short amount of time considering you’re so young- do you ever pinch yourself or think “Wow, I’ve done all this!”? What has been the highlight so far?
I’ve been pretty lucky in my career so far. I’ve got to do some pretty amazing things. I constantly think to myself ‘wow, am I really doing this?’. There have been so many highlights it is hard to pick just one!
Aside from being Executive Chef for all the Greenhouse kitchens, filming Recipes that Rock and more recently speaking for TEDxAuckland, what other cool projects are you working on?
I just agreed to write my first book!!! It’s going to be a lot of work but I think it’s time!
You’re clearly passionate about sustainable food and living – what do you think the key influence has been during your career?
Growing up, my family were always very caring to the environment. We’ve always had a huge veggie patch and composted. In more recent years working with Joost Bakker has really driven my passion for sustainable living.
What do you get excited by? What motivates and inspires you in terms of both your cooking and new ventures?
I find a lot of different things motivate me – people, the environment and different cultures. Feeding people nutritious tasty food is a big motivation.
What do you think about the current food and dining scene in Australia and how it is evolving? What would be the one thing you would change?
Australia has an amazing food scene. It’s very progressive and up there with some of the best food in the world. I think the best thing we could do to improve it would be to ban sous vide cooking. It would heighten the skill of cooks and save massive amounts of plastic bags from going into land fill.
How do you think bloggers are having an impact on the industry and what impression do you think chefs and restaurants have of them?
There are some great food blogs out there. The good ones make it easy for people all over the world to easily jump online and see what’s going on with chefs, producers and restaurants.
Are there any places in Brisbane you’re excited to go and try while you’re visiting for the Good Food and Wine Show? Will you be revisiting some past favourites?
My favourite place in Brisbane is Sourced Grocer. It’s an amazing little produce store / cafe serving tasty food with great coffee. I can’t wait to get back there!
Finally – a loaded question – where to from here for Matt Stone?
Haha, who knows? I certainly don’t!!
Interview by Mimi Hyll