We’re fortunate at GT WINE to have had the chance for a chat with chef Miguel Maestre, who has also shared recipes from his book, Feast.
GT WINE: What’s your philosophy on cooking?
Miguel Maestre: The older I’ve got, the more I’ve changed the way I think about my cooking. If I cook something for you that you love, then that’s my reward. A good chef is not just the one that cooks the best meal, but the one who creates a meal that makes the person they’re cooking for really happy. I see being a chef as a trade, where you learn from the basics, and from there you make your mind up on how you want your cooking to be. I used my life experiences, all the way from washing dishes to working in some of the best restaurants in the world, to define who I am as a chef.
GTW: What inspired you to write Feast?
MM: I have learned a lot about Australian homes from being on The Living Room and cooking for a mainstream audience. I realise people don’t necessarily want to spend more than half an hour cooking, and that washing up can be a nightmare! So I’ve used all these things I know Australians want with their cooking and turned it into what I cook every day. Feast is an opportunity to show what I cook for my family, it’s a real self-portrait. I love sharing my food and my spirit with people to use in their own homes. It’s a way to express myself, to put it out there and say this is who I am and what I know. When people send me a message on social media saying they’ve cooked one of my recipes, let me tell you, it’s the best feeling in the world. It’s the reason I wrote this book, to share what I know and share a part of me with everyone.
GTW: Tell me about the recipes in Feast.
MM: I’ve tried to target everyone with these recipes, and I know that’s hard to do but I think it’s something that this book does. So even if you want a romantic brunch or a big feast with a roast, there’s something for you. Every little thing in this book is a feast and I really love that concept. I’ve always been focused on my Spanish roots, but now I really breathe that Australian spirit in my cooking. I use a lot of paprika, lots of chorizo, garlic, olive oil, lemon, but I also love using all the amazing seafood found in Australia. In Feast, I’ve used prawns, scallops, beautiful barramundi, flathead and snapper. Those Australian ingredients really showcase my cooking, but I always have a cheeky, quirky, different twist. That’s who I am really, I always do things in a different way.
GTW: Peter Bourne has paired some fantastic wines with your recipes, do you have any favourites?
MM: I love the 2019 Bodegas Exopto Bozeto de Expoto from Rioja paired with the Paella a la Maestre. A lot of people think of paella with something that is refreshing, like Champagne, but I believe a nice red works well with the saffron in the sofrito and with that really earthy seafood flavour. I also love the Seppeltsfield DP38 Rich Rare Apera with the Whole Orange Syrup Cake. When you make the syrup for the cake, add some of the apera in to it. Or even when the cake comes out of the oven, brush some on – it will bring the match to a new level. I used to do that a lot with Spanish sherry.
GTW: What do you hope readers take from Feast?
MM: Now more than ever, we need things to entertain and inspire us, so I hope a little piece of my family and a generous slice of the Maestre life can make people smile and inspire them to have a good time in the kitchen. A little bit of love, cooking, fun, salt and a smile to take us away from all that’s going on.
Feast: 100 generous dishes to share
By Miguel MaestrE Published by Pan Macmillan Australia RRP: A$39.99