Miguel Maestre, chef, television presenter, author and entreprenuer

It's a very big responsibility to be able to share all our food secrets from Spain in my new home, Australia ...

Miguel Maestre, Spanish chef extraordinaire and co-host of channel TEN’s The Living Room was destined for a life in and about the kitchen. Growing up in a family that was passionate about food, Miguel then worked for many years in various kitchens around the world before settling in Sydney. He has a long list of cooking accolades including being awarded by His Majesty The King of Spain the highest award a citizen can receive, The Order of Civil Merits, for his extraordinary service to benefit Spain in the Australian media. He is a chef, business owner, author, television presenter and online entrepreneur. Miguel is attending this weekend’s Eat Street Markets, one event on the foodie calendar that market dwellers won’t want to miss. Miguel will be giving lively cooking demonstrations and working his culinary magic with Southern Queensland Country produce. The Weekend Edition caught up with Miguel this week to discuss his infectious passion for food and life.

Is there a particular memory that you recall from your youth that led you into the kitchen?
The love my parents showed me when they were cooking together. My papa would be cleaning the seafood in the sink while my mama would be getting ready the rest of the paella. It’s a lovely memory that I have and 40 years later they are still doing the same.

How did cooking in the kitchen lead to television and the publishing industry?
I believe I was in the right place at the right time. I didn’t go looking for television, it found me when I was working alongside my boss and the producer thought it would be a good idea for me to do a cameo, and from there to now it has been a long ride but lots of fun.

What do you love about visiting your local farmers market?
It’s good to see how passionate the people are who grow the produce and you can put a face to all those hours of hard work and understand how things taste so good and how much effort goes into something so beautiful.

What is your ultimate food dream?
It is to be able to spread as much of Spanish cooking in Australia as I can. I think the Australian lifestyle suits the tapas style of eating paella, churros and sangria. It is a very big responsibility for me but great to be able to share all our food secrets from Spain in my new home Australia.

If you could prepare a dinner for any five people who would they be and what would you cook?
Ferran Adrià in my opinion is the best chef in the world and I would love to make him the perfect tortilla patatas, something very simple for his amazing palate. Rafael Nadal, who is the best sportsman Spain has had, and I would make him a banana bread as he loves bananas and is always eating them on the side of the court. For Ricky Martin, who is one of my favourite singers and performers, I would cook my speciality Paella a la Maestre. If I could get the Cookie Monster to dinner I would love to see if he could eat my churros con chocolate with his cute little furry hands. Finally the Pope, as I would give him a taste of my delicious sangria.

What innovation in the food industry has caught your eye recently?
I love the trend of food trucks. I find it amazing how you can bring a restaurant to anywhere in a ‘restaurant on wheels’. It’s a great option for our hospitality industry and when people want to open an restaurant they can get a food truck and be anywhere they want to, any day of the week.

What will market dwellers experience from you at Eat Street Markets on April 17–18?
We are going to showcase the best produce of local Southern Queensland Country and have a lot of fun. I am really looking forward to cooking with the local pork and lamb.

What do you love about using produce from farms in the Southern Queensland Country?
I feel that we are supporting our local farmers in Australia and we need to protect our farming industry. It’s a privilege for me as a chef to have this opportunity to raise awareness on how good our produce is in Australia, especially Southern Queensland Country.


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