Who is Matthew Wilson: I am a cook from all over country NSW, and chef at Magoo’s Café and Bar in Kingston.
Best recent dining experience: I would probably say Plumb on Tennant in Fyshwick as I prefer going out for breakfast rather than dinner. Nothing beats a good big brekkie and a Bloody Mary!
Favourite cuisine: I love German and Austrian cuisine, and completing my first apprenticeship in a European restaurant, has heavily influenced this. I love rich sauces, big portions and lots of carbs.
Most embarrassing pantry item: To me, nothing is really embarrassing. Everything has a use and a time to use it. But then again, who wants to spend an hour making a vegetable stock after spending hours in a kitchen already when you can just buy a decent one?
What ingredient can I not live without: I can’t live without rosemary and oregano. If dried, they keep for a long time and there are very few meals that cannot be elevated by adding these herbs.
Best coffee spot in Canberra: I love Wildflour in Kingston. Most days, I will get a coffee on my walk to work – and one of their ham and cheese croissants for my partner.
Next big thing in the Canberra food scene: I think food trucks will become popular, mainly because of the costs involved in having a brick and mortar venue.
A must-try on our menu: Our pork tacos! I haven’t had to change them since Magoo’s opened two years ago. They are always very popular.
My biggest culinary influence: My first teacher, Alan Penicka. He maintained a simple philosophy: “If you wouldn’t eat it, don’t serve it.” To me, this means be proud of your food and consider the guest a visitor to your home and treat their food as such.
Favourite cookbook: My ALDI cookbooks. I take ideas from them and apply my own knowledge and experience to creating something worthy for the venue.
Who I admire in the Canberra food and wine scene: Leeroy Peterson from Caribou Kingston. Everything he touches turns to gold, and I am really excited about his new cocktail bar.
What are this week’s specials at Magoo’s?: Lamb shanks with mash and bordelaise sauce, and beef tortellini in a mushroom miso broth and beef stroganoff.
Death row meal: Reverse seared rib-eye steak. It’s definitely my favourite.
My least favourite food: Definitely beans! I love the flavour but hate the texture.
My COVID-19 response: We just have to get through it. The government response will relax with time. If we follow the rules, the quicker we can get back to “normal”.
My top three cooking tips:
- Season in layers
- Don’t be afraid to experiment
- You are better off starting a dish again than trying to fix it.
Magoo’s Cafe and Bar is open seven days a week, from 11 am to late. It is located at Trevillian Quay, Kingston.