About Me

Me

So I guess it’s time I updated this page for the first time in 5 years. My name is still Matt, though now I’m officially 30 something. A fact that hopefully bodes well for my ability to be taken seriously, and doesn’t just lump me in the annoying middle aged guy category. I still live in Perth, Western Australia (though now I live in the cultural hub that is Northbridge).

We in Perth still have the dubious honour of being the most isolated capital city in the world. But I’m beginning to care about that less and less as I carve a niche out of the parts of the city that appeal to me.

I’m still a born and bred New Zealander who moved to Australia as a child, but less and less people can guess that I was ever from anywhere else. I grew up in a big Irish family where Sunday roasts were a foregone conclusion, and where you could always find homemade biscuits if you knew where the secret stash was (in the Indian tin on the top shelf of the pantry in case you were wondering).

So… Abstract Gourmet is my view of the world as seen through a greasy window. I cook, I eat out, I take photos, I complain about things that most people probably don’t care about, and then I try and pull together some words that sound vaguely coherent at the end of it all. It currently consists of recipes that I’ve pulled together, restaurant reviews for local places that may be useful to the general food loving community of Perth, and the odd dramatic reenactment of events that happen in my life.

I hope you find something worthwhile, and if you’d like to leave me comments you might very well make my day.

If you like to use any of my photos or videos or related information then please get in touch with me and I’ll let you know if thats ok. My photos and text are all copyright to myself unless otherwise indicated, and can not be used unless with my express permission, especially if you’re going to use them to make fun of me…

You can contact me outside of the blog comments at this email address: matt AT abstractgourmet DOT com

Thanks for tuning in.
Matt

104 thoughts on “About Me”

  1. Hey Matt
    this is very impressive. All i have to say is ‘Sayonara Iron chef!’

    Seriously, this site and what you are creating is very exciting and inspiring. It makes me want to buy some new steak knifes and hit the kitchen/chopping board.

    Jane Genovese

  2. Hola Jane,

    Thanks for the vote of confidence. It will be a long time before i get to Iron Chef level… but I’ve always vaguely liked the idea of dressing up like the Chairman… does that count ??

    So now sharpen those knives and get cooking :)

  3. Matt and Sharon,

    I’d like to contact you slightly less publicly than through your website. If you could give me your email address, that would be great. Thanks!

    Andrew

  4. Why thanks Carolyn, your site is pretty rockin also… although I couldn’t find a spot to leave a comment… so you get one here instead :)

    Stop by anytime.

  5. your video is soooo Rancilio!!
    miss silvia is such a babe,i have to make her mine. im in kununurra and coming back to perth soon but a bit weary of the shite/expensive coffee i remember perth for. previously spoilt in melbourne for a coupla years..so where do i get my fix in the state of excitement? keep up the slick work maestro
    dan

  6. Thanks Angeleyes, nice of you to stop by, if a little belated. This was just an idea in my head in 2002 (a weird idea too), so probably lucky it didn’t exist then, or it would have revolved around whether Domino’s was better than Pizza Hut. Come back anyime.

    Daniel, cheers mate, Miss Silvia is indeed a little hottie, and great addition to any kitchen. Check out my post on Perth cafes for a few places I think are decent… which I should probably update soon. I can’t say it won’t be shite or expensive, but it should improve the odds slightly.

  7. Hi mate – good site; i’m editor of a small but growing coffee-related magazine based in Sydney called Crema.

    We;re hoping to grow and eventually will be looking at cafe reviews from other states, so would like to keep in touch. In the meantime, feel free to contribute to our forum (www.cremamagazine.com.au >> The forum) as we occasionally get asked questions on the WA coffee scene.

    cheers
    Ashley PS fyi, i got the link to this from a recent posting on our forum

  8. Hi Matt

    A fellow coffee geek and work colleague put me onto your site. It’s brilliant!

    I thought I’d let you know about some local markets in my ‘hood that stock good seasonal produce, meat, coffee, bread, music, pickled octopus etc.

    They’re during spring only on Saturdays from 8am to 12pm. Check out the website for details. http://www.geocities.com/alexmillier/Mondo.html
    (My website’s not a patch on yours. Very low tech). I’m there most weeks.

    I’m also a member of Slow Food http://www.slowfood.com/ as is my wife Linda who is a local librarian trying to come to terms with the blogging phenomenon. Of the sites she’s been perusing, she reckons yours is one of the best!

    I took the liberty of forwarding your site to food/wine writer, Peter Forrestal who’s a regular at the Markets too http://www.quaff.com.au

    If you decide to come along, bring your camera and introduce yourself to me. I’ll buy you a coffee and introduce you to Vince Garreffa the Italian butcher whose idea it was to start the markets. They’re not glam, very grass roots but it’s a foody paradise.

    Hope to see you sometime.

    Kind regards

    Alex Millier

  9. Hi Matt,
    I just wanted to let you know I have been following your site for a few months now and today made “your” Moroccan Chicken Pie and Bean Salad, although I have to admit I cheated and used canned beans, the results were to die for with my daughter commenting “my god mom this is divine” so a big thank you and keep the recipes rolling.

    thanks
    Shazzie

  10. Hi Shazzie,

    So glad you like the site and that the meal turned out so well. I can’t say I get my food called ‘divine’ every day… so thanks for letting me know.

    Hopefully you’ll like the next one :)

    Cheers,
    Matt

  11. Thanks Max, and congratulations on being the first poker related site to ever make it onto this blog as non-spam. Sounds like you know your way around a deck and a bottle of good wine. Thanks for stopping by :)

  12. I think your Blog is just intoxicating. I absolutley adore reading it. I am only new at this, so I am in absolute awe of your blog. Your photos are simply stunning and this one of you is just sensational. You are an extremely talented young man. Thank you for allowing me to enjoy your perspective and experience the passion, through your eyes.

  13. Hey Amelita,

    Thanks for the kind words, and I’m glad you like the blog… I like to think it’s still evolving though, and as it’s a work in progress I’m always trying to think of things I’d like to do with it… thanks for letting me know you appreciate my meagre efforts.

  14. hi matt, just wanted to ask if you are or have in anyway been involved in the hospitality industry. while your site is very interesting, you are very critical of many places, in some of your review you say the 25-35 dollars is expensive for a main dish, but have you calculated what it costs to 1, buy the ingredients, 2, employ someone to cook it and serve it and 3, pay for the extras that are involved to run a resturant. after all these expeniture are taken into account, there isnt a whole lot of profit left. this seems to be the problem with the general public in perth, while being critical is fine, i think people should maybe have a bit more knowledge of the hospitality idustry for their comments to have any value.

  15. Hi Brenton, I think the reason why so many people are becoming more
    critical, I know I am, is because we need to get value for our dollar.
    It is getting harder for the average person to go out to a restaurant
    and eat. Every dollar that I have has a target for one bill or another.
    So when we do go out to spend $100-$140 on a great meal, it has become
    a big deal. If it is crap and I didn’t enjoy it, the price seems to hurt
    a bit more. Hard times are really hurting us all. Good value for money is
    what I am looking for.

    This is going to sound quite cold and I don’t mean it to be. But the last thing that crosses my mind when eating at a restaurant is how much it
    costs to run it. I know how much I would pay to make it myself, so
    therefore it seems so expensive to me when we go out. Just stupidity on
    my part really, but I think totally normal. So if I don’t enjoy myself, I justify it by feeling guilty and being critical. It never crosses my mind to think about what it costs the owner, because that’s not my problem. Selfish really and pretty harsh sorry……………..but true.

  16. Hi Brenton,

    Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment. Basically much of Amelita’s comments summarised what I would have said. My experience in hospitality is through talking to restaurant and cafe owners, chefs, and wait staff. My parents also own and run a cafe and have been involved in catering for many years. I’m not a chef, or a restaurant owner, but I do have an understanding of what it costs to buy ingredients and pay people to cook them.

    However, none of that is particularly relevant to my ability to give my opinion of a restaurant. As a member of the public it’s my intention to write about places as I perceive them, not to take into account countless factors in the background that I have no knowledge of. Personally, I can’t see how a bunch of reviews by fellow chefs saying how great value a steak for $45 was, is particularly beneficial to the wider community of food lovers.

    It’s not my place to worry about restaurants profit margins, it’s the responsibility of the restaurateur. Either put up the price, or change the ingredients/menu/process so that the margins work in their favour… In the end, if the meal is worth the price, I’ll be happy to pay it… so where I have ever said that a meal was too expensive, it was because I didn’t get the value I expected out of it.

    If you have a particular concern with any of the restaurants I’ve written about, feel free to let me know, I’m always keen to give a place another try.

  17. Being the extremely slow person that I am, I have been reading your website almost every other day since the beginning but this is the first time in years I have read your “about me” section. It is definitely an improvement on the previous copy.

    You have encouraged me to follow my dreams. I hope you continue to chase yours. I don’t where you’re heading, but it is good to journey with you, my friend.

  18. Hay Champ, love the work, I was looking through your coffe pics and they are great. I would love to know how you do some of them. I love coffe and making it, but its only recently that ive been experimenting with its artistick potential. Ill have to come buy. wheres the resteraunt?

  19. Hey Matt
    LOVE you site, which I have only recently discovered!
    Fellow coffee geek+++++ Have already left a little blurb on your Sayers article!
    Am also a foodie big time as well, and a real DIYer i.e. if you’re gonna make something divine… do it from scratch! Which is the build up to my next question! Rather than buy a really good organic sourdough loaf (too simple) I am trying to conjour up a sourdough starter myself. However, if all my efforts go awry and I end up with just a smelly gurgling mess, do you know if there is anywhere in Perth where one could buy/obtain a tried and true starter?

  20. Get site. Good Layout, content & presentation. Practical, useful, helpful and inspirational. I shall be frequenting your site. Thank you.

  21. hey matt
    im going to melbourne in like 12 days yay! just wondering if you could email me a few good places for coffee or tea which i have recently converted to after my latest caffeine OD.

  22. Hi Tracey,

    I’m not an expert on Melbourne coffee, the last time I went I was woefully unprepared to find the good stuff. But I have a bunch of contacts in Melbourne who are bona fide coffee geeks, and the recommendations they give are :

    St Ali – Yarra Place, South Melbourne
    First Pour, Veneziano Caffe – 22 Bond St, Abbotsford
    7 grams, 505 Church St, Richmond
    Batch – Carlise St, Balaclava
    Maling Room – corner Maling Rd and Canterbury Rd, Canterbury.

    St Ali is probably the one I’ve heard the most about, and it’s right in the city, so likely that you’ll be able to get to it easily.

    Have fun :)

  23. hi i was wondering if u can help me i am in year ten and i have to do a
    drop menu for school and have no idea how to do 0ne

    thanks for your help

  24. Hey Matt….have just managed to find your blog via a search on cafes in Perth….your blog is fab, really useful….have added you as a link on my blog which comments on news-related stuff in Perth (well, my opinion anyway).

    My blog is buzzperth.blogspot.com

    Cheers

  25. Thanks Buzz… if indeed that is your real name… I like to think I’m providing a service of some sort… a narrow service based solely around my own stomach… but a service nonethless :) Thanks for stopping by.

  26. I came across your lamb roast and I’m very keen to try it.
    I loved the fact that you are game to xplore the interaction of the spices.
    I’ve been surfing the net for a different way to prepare a lamb roast and
    your ingredients caught my eye.
    I’m using a leg of lamb and intend to cook in a covered casserole pot, how much cooking time is required?
    Will the covered dish change the flavours?

    By the way, fantastic site and I can see the amount of effort you put into
    it. Well done. Cheers

  27. feeling as though my brain is being lurched back to speed with my morning roast, ive found the link you gave me last night for this place. it’s cosy and cool plus i rekon that your photos rock *looks at the unused overpriced Leica sitting in the corner*
    well done on the blog, nice recipies and general bloggy stuff.
    now with my neural pathways lit and surging with caffine, i feel as i should do the same.
    see ya at the next spice do Cheers

  28. Gary, I hope your lamb roast turned out ok. I’m really not sure how long you’d need to cook it for, but if you’re doing a slow roast then a few hours or more will make it lovely and tender. There’s the classic recipe for 7 hour lamb that you might want to look up elsewhere… essentially a big lamb roast, a bottle of white wine, and 7 hours to work it’s magic.

    Jason, thanks for stopping by mate… good to meet you properly as well. Did you say unused Leica ?? Will definitely have to introduce you to some good coffee, (and maybe a cigar or two) soon.

  29. Hi Matt
    Great to meet you last night. I’m bummed I missed out on the dinner, it looked amazing.
    Thanks for talking coffee with me, I’ve knocked back a few espressos today and feel a bit shaky! Still have lots to learn but I’m enjoying the caffeine-fuelled ride.
    Cheers
    Sarah

  30. Hey Sarah,

    Nice to meet you as well, hope you’re holding up to the task of tasting all that espresso and perfecting the technique :) looking forward to dropping by the shop and checking things out soon.. Let me know when you’re open.

  31. Why hello ’30 something aunty’ Michelle, glad you finally made it along to my little world. Hope you find something tasty to make. Saw your Anzac biscuits and must say they look tasty… I’m glad the cooking genes run strong. Stop by anytime :)

  32. Careful Linda… three ‘loves’ forms a contract in some countries that you might not be able to get out of without losing a limb :) Nice work on your blog too btw :)

  33. Matt !!
    it was a pleasure talking with you and your lady friend today
    sorry i had to dash off so fast because i got people waiting as you know, can’t keep them waiting too long kekeke

    will talk again over coffee sometimes
    Minh

  34. Hi Matt

    I appreciate the value of a sharp knife having spent many years as a professional chef but giving your knives to a ‘professional knife sharpner’ isn’t good idea. Unless you are very lucky the job you’ll get won’t last too long and will speed the demise of the said cutlery. Most knife sharpeners use machinery and treat knives the same. The real deal is different knives need different techniques and how they are to be used makes a difference. Want to know more?

    Cheers

    Michael

  35. Minh: It was a pleasure meeting you too, good luck with the coffee making, i hope your shots start coming good soon, and that espresso palate develops too :)

    Michael: I always need to know more :) To be honest I haven’t taken my knives back to a professional sharpener since the first time. I’ve been happy to use a diamond sharpener myself and then a steel for honing. I keep on reading over a knife sharpening tutorial on e-Gullet, but have yet to follow it through, so any tips you can give on sharpening at home for a standard bevelled chefs knife would be great.

  36. Hi Matt

    Short of enrolling in a TAFE course there’s knife care P2P as it has been done traditionally.

    I followed up on your response email to my original comment but my email got lost in cyberspace and I have sufficiently busy to not get back to you again.

    Basically I concur with everything that Chad Ward had to say and there are many resources on knife sharpening, knife making, steel making and tempering(it is a significant and highly researched field of science).

    I am happy to catch up with yourself (and others) to look at knives and sharpen some. Perhaps you might like to collaborate on a SPICE article…

    What do you think?

    Michael

  37. Hello Matt…

    I found you while perusing latte art videos on youtube. :) Looking forward to reading and watching more.

    Hope you’re well.

    Jessica

  38. Hi Jessica,

    I’m glad that some good can come from the quagmire of abuse that is generally the state of the comments on youtube. I’m not the most prolific movie maker, but if you stick around I hope you’ll find a bunch of other stuff you can sink your teeth into. :)

  39. Matty,

    I can totally relate to this fascination (or shall I say infatuation) to discover and/or create a world through food and entertainment. It’s true love. In fact the best part is sharing it with people who don’t have a clue about what is out there. I throw random dinners, inviting people from different areas of my life to try my latest amusement -food is the best crowd breaker in this situation. This month I received a tajine for my birthday! (A new toy!) My belief is that as there are many different shades of colours in the world to suit different people’s skin tones, there is also a plethora of healthy meals that can be enjoyed by all. My experiences tell me that some people just require a slightly different service style, that the food be presented, chopped, infused or melangee to suit their taste buds or the broaden them. (e.g. I have served bucket loads of cabbage to hands-down-cabbage-haters who have not made a complaint to date!)
    I loved Perth and although I’m now in Cairns, I see myself gravitating back one day… Keep having fun!

  40. Hi Matt,
    I am the editor of Cafe Culture magazine. We are about to go to print on issue 14 and I am looking for a photo of Catherine Ferrari for our “Cafe People” spot. I have found one you took of Catherine on the Flickr site. Can we use it. If so, are you able to email it to us as a high res jpg – 300dpi.
    Of course we will credit you in the mag.

    Thanks Matt, appreciate your assistance.
    Justeen

  41. your blog is amazing and your pix are inspiring. i wish you had more recent recipes/homecooked meals but your reviews are wonderful all the same.

  42. Hola Matt,
    Your site rules, thanks for taking a picture of me that I like! Just wanted to let you know that we’ll be running a special for the duration of the Beijing Olympics: a sweet & sour roasted adobo duck burrito. I want you to taste this, because it is tasty as! Hope you’ve been alright, dude!

  43. Lan : Sorry for being a slack recipe poster… but it’s all about effort levels these days. So much easier to take a photo and put it up… plus my recipes are all just translations of someone elses ideas anyway. Glad you like the site and hope you continue to find something of interest.

    Anna: Any time :) I stand by my earlier statement of coolest taco maker in town… And i will definitely be in to try the duck burrito… It sounds awesome… I may just have to tell a few people too.

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