Chef Matt Stone shows us how to live chemical-free

Matt Stone, live chemical-free, sustainable living

We’re all about organic, pesticide-free produce, but is all that goodness being thrown away like last nights dinner scraps if we’re cleaning with chemicals? Don’t be fooled by all the ‘cleanliness’ says Australia’s King of sustainable dining, 28 year-old Matt Stone, who has made a name for himself in the kitchen at Greenhouse Perth, adopting the progressive philosophies of fresh, locally sourced whole foods. Stone recently left his gig as Executive Chef at Melbourne’s Brothl, the country’s first no waste café, and is making the move to the Yarra Valley for a new gig at Oakridge Winery. He’s cooked with rock stars, appeared on Masterchef, and this year joined forces with legit environmental cleaning brand ENJO for its Healthy Living Campaign.

We chatted to Matt (over macadamia milk with winter fruits) about ‘green washing’, doubling up on detergent and living chemical-free.

How does keeping your kitchen clean compare with your food ethos?

Imagine if you went to all the trouble of buying a beautiful, new season organic apple from a small farmer and you chopped it up on a board that has been sprayed with a harsh cleaning solvent. I think it defeats the whole purpose of sourcing really ethical, nutritious food if you’re just going to whack it on a sprayed chemical. That’s the most realistic way of looking at it for me.

What cleaning products we should steer clear of?

If you don’t know the ingredients then it’s probably going to be synthetic and have some nasties in it, which is probably not too good for you.

Matt Stone, live chemical-free, sustainable living

What’s the biggest misnomer with regards to using chemicals in kitchen?

We associate cleanliness with smells and other artificial aromas. A lot of us have been brought up to think this way, but there are copious amounts of research to say that’s not the case.

A lot of people really believe they’re doing the right thing, especially because there’s a lot of sustainable green branding thrown onto cleaning products. I’m not saying they’re not safer for the environment or your surfaces than other ones, they probably are, but at the end of the day they’re still a chemical and still toxic.

It’s just an educational process, the same as eating sustainably. I think the chemical-free household is the next evolution of that. It’s just going to take people time to get used to it.

But all the trigger nozzle stuff makes my kitchen sparkle! Does the chemical-free stuff do just a good as job?

I’ve put raw chicken on the kitchen counter, wiped it up with chemicals and then did the ENJO Lumitest* with absolutely NO sprays which came up cleaner and more bacteria-free. That was good enough for me. Now I don’t have a single chemical in the house.

We’re more than happy to spray stuff all over the kitchen, but realistically, would you spray bleach it all over your food and then eat it? Probably not.

Any pointers on having a sustainable kitchen?

By trying to be clean we actually end up creating a lot of waste with sponges, plastic and bottles, so it’s important to eliminate that as much as possible. Buying in bulk, for example, means we can reduce individual packaging.

I’m an ENJO convert. Their cleaning cloths are re-usable, don’t require any detergent, and last ages. The Kitchen Miracle (it really is) is super absorbent and picks up more bacteria than the stuff on supermarket shelves. In the long run, it massively reduces the use of paper towels and drying cloths and it’s also particularly good for cleaning wine glasses!

* A Lumitester is a hygiene-monitoring device used for measuring surface or equipment cleanliness that uses a swab to determine the degree of bacteria with a numerical output. Using the chemical products, the chicken surface reading was 4,500. Using ENJO, the reading was 150. Anything under 500 is safe.
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Carli Philips
Carli is currently the Melbourne contributing editor of luxury interiors and design magazine, Belle. Her editorial work has been published in Elle, Grazia, Harpers Bazaar, Vogue Living, Inside Out, Nylon, Russh, Virgin Voyeur in-flight, Sunday Style, The Age, Business of Fashion, L’Officiel, Wish Magazine and The Australian for which she contributes to the fashion pages. An avid traveller with a keen eye for design and fashion, Carli has been a contributor to global trend forecasting agency WGSN and a consultant on various specialty projects. She’s also keenly interested in health and fitness with activewear being her usual attire.