Q&A with Maggie Beer and Matt Moran
Our friends at the Good Food and Wine Show helped us to catch up with culinary icons, cookbook authors and household names Maggie Beer and Matt Moran, AND get them to spill the beans on each other!
Matt Moran and Maggie Beer are old friends and have known each other both professionally and personally a long time. They will be appearing on stage together to demonstrate their fabulous recipes at this year’s Good Food & Wine Show at the ICC Sydney from 22-24 June. Come browse a selection of their titles at our onsite bookstore during the show! The Kinokuniya store will be open at the Good Food & Wine Show all weekend (Friday: 10am-6pm, Saturday: 10am-6pm, Sunday: 10am-5pm).
In the lead-up to the show, we asked the Good Food and Wine Show folk if they could have chat with Matt and Maggie and find out what they really think of each other (and their cooking)! Here’s the lowdown…
Matt, what’s Maggie’s most endearing feature?
Matt: It’s too hard a task to narrow it down to one thing! Her kindness, her passion for food and endless resource of energy to share it with others. I think we can all agree that she’s truly inspirational.
Maggie, What’s Matt’s most endearing feature?
Maggie: Matt has a wicked sense of humour and has this gruff exterior at times but is a bit of a softie really (but doesn’t like too many people knowing that). He’s also a real gentleman…
You’re both filming the Great Australian Cook Off right now so much be spending days on end together! Is there anything that drives you crazy about each other?
Matt: I’m not being diplomatic here but truly, there isn’t! We have a lot of fun on set and laugh a lot. We do disagree on some of the bakes though. We come from different cooking backgrounds, use different techniques and our palates can be different as well. I love chilli for example, Maggie.. not so much. But that’s part of why I love us as a duo, we’re pretty complementary.
Maggie: Do you think I could tell and still be alive – no way!!
You’re both passionate about Australian produce, do you have a favourite(s) that you just love to work with?
Matt: Lamb from my farm will always be something I enjoy cooking with, not only is it a great product I’ve been involved with every step of the way but there’s obviously an element of nostalgia to it. We’re so blessed here in Australia though, our produce is world-class. There’s so much I love about it and to cook with.
Maggie: Yes, there are staples of Aussie produce I can’t live without; extra virgin olive oil, great salt, great Australian pepper so full of the fresh aromatic flavour of the new season… but then almost every ingredient that happens to be in season right now including pomegranates, persimmons, quinces and let’s put verjuice in there too.
You’ve both written numerous cookbooks, Matt what’s your favourite cookbook of Maggie’s and why?
Matt: Maggie’s Harvest is a favourite in my household but I love her new book, Recipes for Life. Go and grab a copy, proceeds go towards the Maggie Beer Foundation. I think it’s really admirable, not to mention important, that she’s so invested in improving health and nutrition for older people.
Maggie, what’s your favourite cookbook of Matt’s and why?
Maggie: Matt’s Kitchen Garden Cookbook is my absolute favourite of his books as it is first about his kitchen garden at Chiswick but expands to so many of the producers he met on his TV series, Paddock to Plate, where he traversed the country finding amazing people and produce, then showcasing them by using his talent to cook what they had farmed or caught… a magic combination.
You’ve both travelled the regions to source food from, what are your favourite regions and why?
Matt: I’m a chef, it’s way too hard a task it down to one favourite, sorry! Australia’s landscape is very unique – our varied climate supports diverse crops all around the country and our vast coastline gives us some of the best seafood in the world. Every region in Australia is unique and worth celebrating.
Maggie: Of course, it’s the Barossa; we have a perfect Mediterranean climate, we have every food I love to cook with within my own backyard, there is a history and culture to draw on that makes it so unique and the wines to match. It’s the place I belong and my food shows that.
You’ve both written numerous books, starred in several TV shows and now are working together again on the Great Australian Bake Off… so who’s the better baker?
Matt: Haha. In all seriousness, we truly are complementary. Maggie is the most incredible self-taught cook whereas my background having trained and cooked in restaurants is more technical. So we’re a great duo in that sense and I think we learn off each other too. But the great thing about baking is that it’s so accessible, anyone can have a go – even six year-olds – there’s something in it for everyone.
Maggie: My gosh of course it’s Matt!
Your recently published books are both very different, Maggie yours, Recipe for Life being about choosing foods that give you the best chance of being in good health now and into your future, and Matt yours, Australian Food, Coast + Country, being about your favourite Australian recipes. What inspired you both for your latest editions?
Matt: I’ve spent nearly 35 years cooking in restaurant kitchens and within that time I’ve seen just how much Australian food has evolved, both the variety available to us and also, the quality. Our Wagyu beef is so good the discerning Japanese come knocking for it. Our truffles are so great we export to the French. Society has become so food-centred too. I’m eighth generation Australian and a fourth generation farmer (my family farm in NSW provides beef and lamb to my restaurants) so this evolution has been fascinating to me.
Matt: One of questions I’m most frequently asked, particularly when I travel, is how I define Australian food. So I decided to write a book (Australian Food, Coast + Country) and share the Australian food I love, with others to enjoy.
Maggie: Mine was the luck of meeting Professor Ralph Martins in 2010 and understanding the work he has been doing for 30 years on Alzheimer’s. Given I’ve always believed that good food is medicine it was great to take Ralph’s science and put it into food so full of flavour and so good for both your brain and your body. It’s a recipe for life for any age and tastes so very good!
Maggie Beer and Matt Moran will be appearing at this year’s Good Food & Wine Show at the ICC Sydney from 22-24 June. Visit the Kinokuniya pop-up bookstore onsite to purchase copies of their cookbooks and have them signed!
Purchase your tickets to The Good Food and Wine Show online or at the door.