Make Queensland produce shine with these Matt Sinclair recipes
After erupting onto our screens in Masterchef’s 2016 season, Matt Sinclair has become a household name in Australian homes. Throughout his time on the show, the Sunshine Coast resident was an ardent ambassador for Queensland and its unique produce, and it became one of the signatures of his stand-out dishes.
Alongside his easy-going style and cheeky sense of humour, Matt’s strong passion for Asian cuisine eventually manifested in his own restaurant, Sum Yung Guys in Sunshine Beach. This modern Asian eatery with a twist has become a must-do experience (make sure to book well in advance!) not only putting this coastal town firmly on the food map, but showcasing our uniquely delicious ingredients, too.
Produce is one of the many reasons why Matt advocates for Queensland as a culinary hotspot. “Queensland’s food scene is ever-emerging with some amazing new establishments in amazing locations, championing the unique produce we’re renowned for.”
And it’s Queensland’s incredible climate that what allows us to grow what we do. “We have such a vast array of climatic conditions that range from desert to rainforest and everything in between,” says Matt.
“Looking at a specific region like South East Queensland, the proximity of coast to hinterland is incredible. The high-density cluster of growers and producers, covering such a wide variety, makes us very fortunate with the offerings we have at our fingertips.”
Something Matt takes full advantage of in his food – with a very fortunate end result for those who eat it.
“The relationships we have with these producers gives us access to some of the best and freshest seafood in the world.”
But it’s not just Queensland’s coast that provides inspiration for Matt’s menus.
“My trip out to Birdsville was life-changing. So much so, when I returned from the trip I made it my mission to find my own acreage to start raising my own cattle and experiencing what life is like as a producer.”
He’s now secured a beautiful 40 acre property north of Gympie, with his sights set on two dozen head of cattle towards the end of the year. “There was something so amazing about witnessing first hand the hard work, planning and passion that goes into producing the great OBE organic beef.”
Simple, clean and delicious, (not to mention one of his favourite comfort meals) Matt has shown us how to make his Fraser Isle spanner crab fried rice with prik nam pla.
Save his recipe below and once you’ve cooked up a storm, we’d love to see your photos at #thisisqueensland.
While the Sunshine Coast Hinterland is definitely on Matt’s Queensland foodie bucket list for future travellers (that dreamy eat, drink, shop, sleep, repeat lifestyle), there’s more than one Queensland spot he recommends people tick off.
“Brisbane — I really rate the restaurant scene that is emerging there,” he says. “Tropical North Queensland is one of the greatest exhibits of Queensland’s unique food identity. The produce coming out of the rainforest and the ocean is mind-blowing. The Gold Coast — we had our family holiday at Tallebudgera Creek Caravan Park and it was amazing. Close to everything: restaurants, beaches, hinterland day trips. And finally, an island — any island! One of the thousands we have stashed off our coastline.”
Prawn curry is another of Matt’s go-to seafood meals, a Sum Yung Guys’ classic made with local aromatics – his favourite being the turmeric they get from Doonan just outside of Noosa. Use the recipe below to have a go at making this too — you can thank us later.
For many of us, the 2020 pandemic has provided the opportunity to reconsider what we truly want out of life. Whether that’s appreciating our surroundings more, or taking note of the small joys in life, there’s been a real shift to enjoying a slower pace of life.
Matt wholeheartedly agrees with this ethos: “Spending time in nature is what helps me and my family stay grounded,” he says. “I love that despite all, we’re able to connect during this time. And what better way than preparing and sharing a meal while the sun sets over the Sunshine Coast Hinterland.”
Feeling motivated by Matt’s passion for Queensland flavours? Why not have a go at creating a dish inspired by your own region? Here’s a guide to some of the essential ingredients in Queensland’s food culture.