22 Feb 2024

With over 30 stellar years in the food industry, a plethora of awards to his name, a handful of best-selling cookbooks under his belt, and the force behind some of Australia’s most celebrated dining establishments; it’s safe to say that Matt Moran is an Australian food icon. At the heart of every one of Moran’s endeavours lies a passion for fresh, seasonal produce. This philosophy is showcased in his award-winning contemporary Australian menus that emphasise seasonal ingredients, balanced flavours and premium-quality produce.

Matt is set to return to Tasting Australia for Dining Galleries – High Steaks, alongside Jake Kellie and Isobel Whelan-Little, and the Waite 100 Gala at the University of Adelaide Waite Campus. Before the festival, hear more about Matt's career, food philosophy and where he is most looking forward to dining while in Adelaide.

What led you to persue cooking as a career?

People always ask me what got me into cooking, and they often assume the answer will involve stories about great cooks in the family and recipes passed down through generations. But the truth is I was 15 and wanted to leave school. You could say I stumbled upon cooking, but in all honestly, the minute I walked into the kitchen, I fell in love. I feel fortunate to find something that I love. If you find something you love, then you’ll never have to work a day in your life. My love story with food is exactly what happened to me.  

Describe your food philosophy

Mother nature and local produce are the biggest influences. The changing seasons and fresh, locally sourced produce play a big role in my cooking – we change the menu at each venue every season to showcase great Australian produce at its prime.

What sets Australian cuisine apart?

The Australian food scene is incredibly unique. All you need to do is look at how large Australia is and our ever-changing landscape and climate to understand how diverse our offering is. The quality and variety are something we are known for all over the world. The list of our homegrown heroes is a long one. Look to our coastline, it delivers the very best seafood, and when it comes to farming and growing produce chefs look to us all over the world.  

Do you have a go-to restaurant when visiting Adelaide?

It’s been a few years since I’ve been to South Australia, and I am very excited to visit Jake Kellie’s Arkhe. Jake started his career as an apprentice at Aria; it’s been incredible to see him go on to work in incredible restaurants and then on to open his own. 

Anything you’re particularly keen to see or do while in South Australia? 

I always try to visit Maggie Beer when I am visiting; we’ve been friends for many years. Her kindness, passion for food and endless resource of energy she shares with others. She is truly an inspiration; I can’t wait to catch up with Maggie and give her a big hug. 

You’ll star at the black-tie Waite 100 Gala – talk us through your inspiration for the evening.  

It’s an honour to be invited to host and cook at the University of Adelaide 100-year Gala. We have curated a menu that showcases the finest South Australian produce and ingredients sourced from Waite University Alumni.

You’re also featuring in our Dining Galleries for High Steaks – what excites you about this event. 

I am very excited to get back into the kitchen with Jake, and to work alongside Isobel. It’s always great for me and my team to collaborate with the chefs and other teams to see what they’re doing and learn, and it’s always a lot of fun! When travelling to different regions, it’s a chance for my team and I to work with local producers; for our Dining Galleries – High Steaks event, we’re highlighting beautiful Wagyu Beef from Mayura station. 

What would you like more people to know about Australian farms? 

The producers and farmers are the heroes. Without them, we wouldn’t have incredible food in our restaurants and on our tables. I always say, you might need a dentist once or twice a year, but you need a farmer every day. Farmers plant, nurture, grow, pick, and store our produce; they’re the unsung heroes, and more needs to be done to support them.   

With so many achievements already to your name, what do you hope the next decade holds?

I don’t know what is next, but I do know that I love opening restaurants, building and mentoring chefs, and giving back.