Matt Moran claims that growing up in the wrong part of town offered him little career prospects beyond car stealing and other petty crime. Although a kitchen job might have begun as a quick way out of school, which he hated, it was the army-like discipline of Michael De Laurence at La Belle Helene in Roseville that instilled a love of cooking in Matt. Eager to learn, desperate to be better and a thirst for knowledge were a perfect ground zero for what Matt Moran has become: one of Sydney’s leading chefs. His partnership with front of house Peter Sullivan proved just right and together they now enjoy one of Sydney’s best views and dish up some of Sydney’s best food with superb service in their famous restaurant: Aria.
I don’t know where Matt found the time to write a cookbook. Sarah, his wife, must be a very patient lady, and the book offers a serious glimpse into Matt’s psyche. A superb, moving introduction gives you an insight into Matt’s life and the book represents his philosophy of ‘only the best will do’ at work and ‘go where the mood takes you’ at home. To quote Matt: “People always say to me: ‘I bet you don’t cook at home.’ But the truth is, it is probably my favourite place to cook. At home, I can let the mood take me, which means that I get as much pleasure from cooking Croque Monsieur for a family brunch as I do from spending hours over a classic Cassoulet for a big dinner party. I hope this book enables you to do the same.”
Looking at the recipes, it just might!
The book is divided into Canapés, Soups, Salads & Light Meals, Pasta, Risotto & Gnocchi, Seafood, Poultry & Game, Meat and Desserts, with a basic recipes section at the end. Some of the recipes are easily achievable for the novice cook while some need a bit more skill. This is a book for the home cook, the foodie and the professional; we can all learn something. The first thing I looked for were the recipes for Matt’s brilliant Duck & Pea Pie and the sublime Tomato Consommé (with pearl meat), and I found them! There’s one happy camper already. To be fair, it’s probably recipes like the ‘Tomato Gazpacho with Tomato Jelly’, ‘Warm Salad of Mozzarella and Asparagus’, ‘Taglierini with Green Vegetables and Butter’, ‘Chilli-salt Squid and Brandade’, ‘Crumbed King George Whiting and Sauce Gribiche’ and the ‘Roast Chicken with Lemon and Herbs’ that will capture the imagination of most readers; all are achievable with a minimum knowledge of kitchen craft. Me, I can’t wait to try out the ‘Crispy Date Cigars with Lemon Cream’.
This is a cookbook that is worth exploring, using as a reference and cooking from; it’s a handbook for many successful dinner parties. The logo on the front cover, just in case, like me, you don’t immediately understand the cut-out, is MM (for Matt Moran).
What can I say? Great book Mate!
Published by Lantern (an imprint of Penguin Books)
Available now… what are you waiting for?