We sit down to chat to local legend Matt Golinksi about produce, veggie gardens and the power of slow food for kids.
What do you love most about the Sunshine Coast?
Having grown up on the Coast and lived here most of my life, it is definitely my home and I love every part of it. I’ve lived in other places but always come back to where my heart is. It’s hard to find anywhere in the world that has a better climate, a more relaxed lifestyle or a more diverse natural beauty than the Sunshine Coast.
What’s best about local produce?
The key word when it comes to produce in this region is diversity. We’re lucky enough to have access to world class seafood fresh from the trawlers each day, as well as beef, pork, lamb, chicken and dairy from the hinterland, and so many different microclimates on the Coast means we have a greater variety of fruit and vegetables than probably any area in all of Australia. And what makes it the best is the pride and care taken by the producers themselves.
Where do you source your produce?
I have developed some great friendships with producers on the Coast over the past 30 years, and that network means I have direct access to a lot of the best ingredients available straight to the kitchen door. As a rule, the shorter the distance that your produce travels to get to you, the fresher and better quality it is, and the better the end product.
You are part of a charity that helps schools build veggie gardens! Tell us about that…
Many years ago I was president of Slow Food Noosa, a convivium of a world-wide movement that advocates for good, clean, fair food. I had been to Melbourne and visited Stephanie Alexanders School Kitchen Garden in Collingwood, and saw what a powerful experience that was for the kids. I suggested to the group that this was something we should be involved in establishing within schools in our region. Slow Food Noosa has since helped lots of schools in the area set up gardens and bring kids on the coast that bit closer to understanding how food is grown and why it should be respected.
Amongst all of this, you also run View by Matt Golinski!
Luckily I don’t have to do much running of the restaurant, head chef Andrew Wilcox does most of that! My involvement with View by Matt Golinski is largely a creative one. I get to experiment and come up with new dishes using all the bounty of seasonal, local ingredients that are available to us in Noosa.
My favourite thing about my job at Peppers is working with the great team and showing them ingredients and techniques that they may not have seen before. We’ve all grown together so much over the past 18 months.
And the restaurant also has a very successful apprentice program!
Yes! I love teaching apprentices, they are the next generation of cooks, and any chance I get I like to teach them something new and inspire them to want to learn. It’s a tough industry with a low retention rate for young chefs, so the more we can encourage them and make working in a kitchen a fun experience the more likely we are to keep them.
What’s your favourite thing to do on a day off?
I love just being with my girls when I get a break. I’m a keen distance and trail runner, so I do a lot of that, and I also love playing music with my friends.
And lastly, what would you create for a 7-year old that only eats plain pasta and chicken nuggets, to tempt her to try something new? (Asking for a friend!)
One thing I’ve noticed working with kids in school gardens is that if they grow radishes and turnips from a seed into something they can pick, they’ll eat them by the armful! Try getting a kid to eat a turnip normally and they’d scream the house down, so there’s something to be said for that connection to food. Hiding zucchinis and carrots in bolognese always seems to work too!