Kitchen spy: Matt Moran
'We built this house four years ago but I did the kitchen first and built everything else around it,' says Moran. Photo: Edwina Pickles
Life was good for Matt Moran until he hit nine, when the family lost their sheep farm and moved to Blacktown in Sydney's west. As a self-confessed "shocker" of a teenager he left school at 15 and welcomed the discipline of his chef's apprenticeship, instantly falling in love with cooking. He opened his first restaurant at age 22 and now has Aria in Sydney and Brisbane, plus Aria Catering; Chiswick in Sydney, and TV series Paddock to Plate, which screens on Foxtel's The LifeStyle Channel. He lives in beachside Sydney with his wife, Sarah, and kids Amelia, 12, and Harry, 8. His kitchen is fabulous in concrete and tallowwood with an enviable cool room and a vast commercial rangehood.
I travel a lot and read a lot - I have a massive library of cookbooks - and I'm always eating out so I find inspiration everywhere. My biggest inspiration in the last couple of years though has been doing Paddock to Plate and meeting the growers and farmers.
Most memorable meal
This is such a hard choice but I'll go with Andre in Singapore. It was a surprise, it just blew me away. It was absolutely faultless. Andre Chang is Taiwanese but spent 17 years in France so the food had French technique with a modern Asian twist. It was real food, don't get me wrong, not all smoke and mirrors. I was with one of my head chefs and we had about 20 courses. I can't remember what any of them were but it was fantastic.
Coconut water, which I prefer to milk in mango smoothies. Orchard St cleansing juices, which are delicious and therapeutic. I drink Sapporo beer occasionally on a weekend afternoon and I love wines by Benjamin Leroux, one of France's hottest young burgundy makers.
Last dinner at home I cooked an Indian chicken curry with garam masala.
All my copper pots and Stephanie Alexander's Kitchen Garden Companion cookbook. Stephanie's a remarkable, remarkable woman and I love what she's doing with the whole kitchen garden initiative in schools. It really gets me going.
David Blackmore biltong (cured and dried beef) is the best biltong in the world because it comes from the best beef in the world.
My Cuisinart food processor isn't commercial but it's the best domestic one you can get. It's really powerful and has a massive feed tube. I use a tiny Scanpan copper pot for sauces and take it to the table to serve from. Global knives I use at home and at work (Moran is sponsored by Global). I think Japanese knives are built better than German ones and easier to keep sharp. Scanpan non-stick fry pan is particularly good for cooking fish with the skin on. The Cuisinart toaster's great; it has loads of functions and does four slices at once, which is essential when you're getting breakfast in a hurry for two kids.
The layout's great and there's a five-metre stretch of bench space. The concrete keeps cool enough to make pastry on.
Saturday night tipple
Belvedere vodka, lime and soda.
Maggie Beer burnt fig ice-cream, but all the flavours are delicious.
My pantry Cobram Estate and Joseph olive oils because I'm a big believer in Australian olive oils; we shouldn't be buying it from overseas. Besides the air miles issue, it's fresher. I prefer a neutral oil like grapeseed for cooking and I finish dishes with good olive oil. Olsson's salt is just great in everything and I particularly like their truffle salt. Quinoa for salads with cucumber, tomato and goat's cheese. Cinnamon quills for masterstock because I love poaching chickens.
My fridge Myrtleford butter for spreading on bread, cooking, everything; and their buttermilk for pancakes. Reggiano parmesan cheese because the kids love pasta. Barambah Organic yoghurt for breakfast and smoothies.