To celebrate Brisbane playing host to chefs’ Matt Golinski and Alastair McLeod at Masterclass, Helen Goltz discovered the cooks behind the chefs.

We put chefs Matt Golinski and Alastair McLeod in the spotlight prior to the annual free Christmas Masterclass on Saturday 7 December 2013 at Skygate, located at the entrance to Brisbane Airport, just off Airport Drive. No bookings are required to attend the Masterclass, just turn up on the day.

 

Matt Golinski

Q: Growing up, who was the best cook in your family?

A: Mum was a great cook, although she lacked confidence, and Dad was the opposite! I took over family cooking duties at a fairly early stage because it was what I liked to do.

 

Q: What was your favourite dish that they cooked?

A: Mum made a mean Spag Bol, and Dad had a dish called Train Smash which had potatoes, pumpkin and eggs all fried up together in the electric frypan, then smothered in tomato sauce (that was the blood). I don’t know if that was exactly a favourite, but it certainly is memorable!

 

Q: What do you still cook that was their recipe?

A: I must admit, Dad makes a good pikelet, and I still follow his strict rules for their production when I knock up a batch.

 

Q: Has food changed from what you ate as a youngster to what you eat now?

A: The availability of ingredients has changed so much from when I was young, now we have access to such a variety of fresh produce and exotic ingredients from all over the world. When I was a boy the only lettuce was Iceberg, and there were two types of potatoes, dirty or washed!

 

Q: Do people hesitate to ask you for dinner in case you’ll critique the meal?

A: As much as I try to assure friends that I really don’t care what I eat when I visit them, yes, there is a bit of reluctance to invite me to dinner. What normally happens when I get invited to a BBQ is that I end up being the one with the tongs in my hand. But that’s the way I like it.

 

Q: If you were on a desert island … what food and drink would you like to be stranded with (remembering you are eating and drinking it every day!)

A: I’ve always said that if there was one food I could eat all day every day, it would be sushi; I just can’t get enough of it. So if I was to eat sushi every day, I’d need plenty of Sake to wash it down!

 

Q: Is there a dish/food you can’t bear?

A: I eat pretty much anything. What I really hate though is mass produced, heavily processed food. I like to eat fresh simply prepared meals that are healthy and made with love.

 

Alastair McLeod

 

Q: Growing up, who was the best cook in your family?

A: I want to make sure I don’t fall off the fence here! My Australian born mum brought exotic, far flung flavours to our Irish table that reflected her Spanish, Philipino, Sri Lankan and Danish heritage. My Irish Daddy on the other hand brought ballast to the table! His lusty, robust dishes were plonked in the centre of the table for the six of us to greedily help ourselves. The words gourmet and Ireland are indeed an oxymoron so I have to fall on the side of the fence my mum was on!

 

Q: What was your favourite dish from their recipe book?

A: My mum did a killer curry that she served with a myriad of accompaniments – toasted cashew nuts, banana slices tossed in coconut and mango chutney. My Daddy had two dishes in his repertoire – a chicken broth that I remember for its resolute lack of seasoning and a potato and egg pie that doesn’t promise but always delivered.

 

Q: What did you still cook that was their recipe?

A: I cook rice the way my mum cooked it, using her finger to measure the right amount of water. With the culinary knowledge I have amassed, I still can’t improve on her instinctive method that her mother taught her. Non-stick tender rice every time!

 

Q: Has food changed from what you ate as a youngster to what you eat now?

A: The simple answer is yes. The relative affordability of travel, media interest and the proliferation of farmers markets are, I feel, the reasons why we have such a diverse range of excellent produce available to us. My goodness, I hadn’t even tasted rocket or coriander until I was in my early twenties!

 

Q: Do people hesitate to ask you for dinner in case you’ll critique the meal?

A: Yes and no – there I go falling off the fence again! My close pals ‘get it’ that preparing a meal is about so much more than nutrition. Sharing food is an experience that fosters friendship, discussion and bonding. I too ‘get it’ that people may think I am ‘on duty’ however, nothing could be further from the truth. The bonus is, if they have cooked, I do the washing up!

 

Q: If you were on a desert island … what food and drink would you like to be stranded with (remembering you are eating and drinking it every day!)

A: Potatoes. They are fortifying and so versatile, unless of course there is blight then I would have to move to another island like say, Australia! As for what drink, well, it depends where the island is…stout for the colder climes and stout for the warmer climes!

 

Q: Is there a dish/food you can’t bear?

A: I can appreciate all foods however, on a trip to Japan I was introduced to natto which is a dish of fermented soy beans. Golly, try as I might, I couldn’t get my palate to make sense of the strong, pungent, slimy traditional dish.