TOAST­ING TO A FINE WEEK­END

Miguel Maestre makes his mark on val­ley

Gatton Star - - FRONT PAGE - Lach­lan Mcivor lach­lan.mcivor@gat­ton­star.com.au

FRESH from host­ing the Lock­yer Val­ley Busi­ness, Train­ing and Ap­pren­tice­ship Awards on Satur­day night, celebrity chef Miguel Maestre was back in the heat of the kitchen on Sun­day morn­ing.

He led around 20 par­tic­i­pants in mak­ing his sig­na­ture dishes, paella and chur­ros con choco­late, in a spe­cial event held at Faith Lutheran Col­lege, Plain­land, with the food later be­ing served at a lunch for a num­ber of spe­cial guests.

Faith’s hos­pi­tal­ity trade school stu­dents were also on hand to help and Mr Maestre was very im­pressed with the fa­cil­i­ties they had at their dis­posal.

“(It’s) a per­fect (path­way) to get some­body who knows noth­ing about cook­ing, and they have the per­fect tools here, to teach you ev­ery­thing you need to know to work in a restau­rant,” Mr Maestre said.

“It’s an amaz­ing place, you could pro­duce a lot of chefs out of that kitchen.”

As a young­ster in Spain, Mr Maestre didn’t find his path in life un­til he moved into the kitchen and urged them to take full ad­van­tage of what was in front of them.

“I was a bit of night­mare, I was very un­pro­duc­tive, very full on, I wasn’t very good at any­thing un­til I found my way chan­nelling cook­ing,” he said.

“I think cook­ing is the only place where I be­long. So when I talk to stu­dents the first thing I say is how lucky (they) are.

“I couldn’t grab it, so if you’ve got the chance, grab it.”

Be­fore he hosted the gala night on Satur­day, he met with lo­cal chefs, talk­ing to them about the im­por­tance of us­ing lo­cal pro­duce to cre­ate sig­na­ture dishes for their menus. The week­end was also a chance to meet up with farm­ers be­hind some of the lo­cal pro­duce he reg­u­larly uses.

“One of the lo­cal farm­ers grows ice­berg let­tuce.”

“He said ‘Miguel our ice­berg let­tuce is so nice be­cause we bring in a few of the seeds from Spain’, (I said) ‘I love you al­ready’.

“It feels nice to put a face to the (pro­duce), know­ing there is a story and a fam­ily work­ing be­hind it.”

STAR AT­TRAC­TION: Kerri Beasley, Miguel Maestre and An­gela Brown.

PHO­TOS: LACH­LAN MCIVOR / CON­TRIB­UTED

The par­tic­i­pants get ready to go.

The fin­ished prod­uct was well re­ceived by the guests of the lunch held at Faith Lutheran Col­lege, Plain­land.

Tracy Vel­la­cott helps hus­band Phillip with his paella dur­ing the cook­ing class.

Miguel Maestre was a blur of ac­tiv­ity in the kitchen as he helped the par­tic­i­pants cook paella.

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