My writer Karina met Miguel Maestre at Good Food & Wine’s event last month. She was impressed at how genuinely nice Miguel was and reckons celebrity chefs have to work so hard to get to where they are so most are lovely & humble – what do you think?
When it comes to celebrity chefs there are few that I do not know about, Miguel Maestre and Alistair McLeod are not those exceptions. So when I heard I could be attending a dinner with Miguel and Alistair in conjunction with the Good Food and Wine Show at Pan Pacific Hotel, I naturally jumped at the opportunity. And for a good reason as the night was spectacular and I was chuffed to meet Miguel.
Miguel Meastre is a Spanish native who moved to Sydney after working in some of Europe’s best kitchens. He then continued to work in some of Sydney’s best restaurants such as Minus 5 in Circular Quay before opening his first restaurant El Toro Loco (The Crazy Bull) in 2010. As well as being a world renowned chef Miguel Maestre also has two cookbooks, co-hosted Boys Weekend alongside Gary Mehigan, Manu Feidel and Adrian Richardson and is now co-presenting Logie winning The Living Room. Miguel’s cooking reflects his unreserved enthusiasm for life and food in a most genuine way.
The night started off with sparkling wine and delectable little H’Orderves made by the chefs at the Pan Pacific Hotel. I had previously attended the Origins Restaurant at the Pan Pacific Hotel, so I was expecting food of a very high quality. I am pleased to say that it was most definitely delicious! My favourite were the Goats Cheese Profiteer rolls with a beetroot glaze. They were so cleverly created and rather inspirational, goats cheese is one of my favourite foods but never had I imagined how nice they would taste in profiteer rolls.
Watching cooking shows have long since taken up much of my own time, but I had never seen a live cooking demonstration. Now that I have, I can tell you that it is actually awesome. Miguel Maestre demonstrated how to cook three of his favourite Spanish inspired dishes. Being a huge fan of his since the days of Boys Weekend I knew he was a super funny guy with such a contagious laugh. Although I must say the screen version doesn’t do justice to the man himself. He was an absolute delight to watch cook, his relaxed and calm approach to food made us all feel that we were just as capable at making chef quality meals. Though only Miguel cooked for us, you could see how well he worked with Alistair and can only imagine that watching them both during the Good Food and Wine show would be an absolute treat.
Miguel’s first dish was a Beetroot Flat Bread which was served with Spanish cheese, jamon and fresh cherry tomatoes. The bread was so simple to make and it was all done in the food processor in ten minutes! More importantly it tasted splendid. The bread was soft and the simplicity of the dish made it a rather refreshing bread dish.
I can honestly say that even through my most enduring efforts, I struggle to make the perfect paella. Miguel broke it down to make it quite simple. The most important thing I learnt was not to stir the paella to allow it to create a socarrat and to have just the right amount of stock for the rice to soak up but not too much that the rice gets too mushy. Miguel’s Chicken and Chorizo Paella was creamy and had a crunchy socarrat base to it which really took it to that next level.
And finally, my favourite part of the night, Churros! Churros are hugely famous Spanish doughnuts often covered in cinnamon and sugar and dipped into warm chocolate. Miguel’s recipe is unique to him and proven to be one the best Churros around. I love Churros and I was basically chasing the waitress around every time she brought out a tray. The Churros were crunchy on the outside and soft and fluffy on the inside, but what made it even better was the thick creamy chocolate dip. It was simply divine and delicious!
The night was spectacular and filled with many laughs. Getting to know Miguel through this experience has been invaluable. His charisma, humour and all round great personality made the night something so special. All the recipes for Miguel’s dishes can be found in his cookbook; Spanish Cooking. I loved how the recipes were simple no-fuss cooking, but still tasted delicious!
A bit about Karina
If someone were to record all my thoughts for a day, they would be astonished by the perpetual insatiable hunger I have for food. I constantly desire food, but not just any food, the most fabulous food I can find. From healthy low-carb high-protein power balls to decadent chocolate filled desserts, I will readily devour anything that looks and tastes fabulous!
Disclaimer: foodie cravings was invited to Pan Pacific Perth as a guest of Good Food & Wine, see disclosure policy for more details.