Matt Moran is one of Australia’s most acclaimed chefs and restaurateurs. He’s also incredibly passionate about fresh local produce, something which is clearly evident in Paddock to Plate, Matt’s compelling TV series for The Lifestyle Channel. A must-watch for healthy foodies, Paddock to Plate, sees Matt travelling around Australia each episode to meet farmers and then using their produce to create beautiful meals. We caught up with Matt to chat about all things food and how he stays fit and healthy.
Let’s to start off with talking about the philosophy behind Paddock To Plate and how it’s in line with your own food philosophy?
It’s all connected. I grew up on a farm and I now own a farm and all my restaurants are about fresh produce. We have a market garden at Chiswick and I have a garden at home too. I’m very passionate about produce and very passionate about the people that bring it to us. Without all those amazing producers I wouldn’t have the restaurants I do now. Their stories don’t get told enough. I love how passionate they are about what they do. It makes me even more excited about the produce which in turn makes for a very good TV show.
You mentioned the market garden concept. How important is it for people to have that connection to the source of their food?
It’s been years in the making and it’s not a fad. It’s a reality. People want to know where their food is coming from. Who’s growing it and who’s producing it. And it is something that’s going to be more and more important to people going forward. That’s a great thing. I think more people should be going to farmers markets, meeting the people that are growing their food first hand. If you know the story behind something and how it was grown it just tastes better.
It is a different experience going to a farmers market and speaking to someone who’s growing your veggies isn’t it?
Definitely. The great thing for me is hearing those stories about the produce makes you feel more inspired cooking it. Meeting the growers and seeing the pride they take in what they do. I’m a big believer in that.
Do you think that’s why more and more people now want to grow some of their own food as well?
You know what, there’s no excuse not to. Even if you live in an apartment, there’s no reason why you can’t have a pot growing your own basil. Then when you make that tomato sauce for dinner, it will taste that little bit better.
What are some of your go-to easy and healthy mid-week meals?
I like to go into the butcher and the fruit and veggie market and see what’s in season and what’s available. Don’t go in there with a pre-conceived idea of what you want to cook. Go in there looking for what is fantastic at that point in time. It could be beautiful lamb chops on the BBQ with a salad or a boned out chicken roasted with some spices on it. Great food can be done simply. You don’t have to spend hours in the kitchen.
With such a hectic schedule how do you stay fit?
I train to eat, that’s my motto! I’m up early. For example this morning I was up at 5.45 and I was at the gym by 6.30.