Matt Jefferson
Matt Jefferson

Matt Jefferson

Born: Vaucluse, NSW

History: Matt started his chef apprenticeship at Metro on Main in Main Beach, although it wasn’t long before he moved down the road to Belvedere Thai in Chevron Island - staying for two years. The Travel Café was the next stop for Matt who spent one year their working with Michael Slayton, whom he regards as one of his culinary role models.

For two years it was back and forth between Kairo Café with Christian Devalance and the Melrose at Seaworld Nara Resort. The wait was over; Matt received his first position as head chef at Stefani’s in Broadbeach. Still in the Broadbeach neighbourhood, Matt moved to Chicane Modern Dining where he spent 2 years as head chef. It took 2 more stops, in Broadbeach restaurants: Sonata’s & MBD’s Cafe before Matt could really call Broadbeach home, at his own restaurant: RockSalt Modern Dining in 2008.

Have you always wanted to be a Chef?
When he left school at the age of sixteen Matt already knew he had a passion for food. Like all good mother’s Matt’s mum was instrumental in helping him find his calling; she wrote an alphabetical list of all the restaurants on the Gold Coast and told him to ring around till he found a position. Without experience it proved to be harder than it looked, but one last call to ‘Metro on Main’ was the winning number.

A few factors made it feasible, including the fact that the current apprentice had put his back out due to the intensity of work. Despite this, Matt was keen and raring to go. Working with Michael Slayton for over three years taught Matt some key principles; never put anything on a plate you wouldn’t eat yourself. At his impressionable young age Matt also learnt a lot about work; it requires dedication and discipline. To this day Matt has a great deal of admiration and respect for Michael, who even let him take care of Norfolk restaurant whilst overseas!

How would you define your style?
With a cooking book collection dating back to the 1800’s, Matt revisits the books often, reviewing the changes in cookery techniques and ingredients. His style is a mix between Modern Australian / European,
emphasising a seasonal based menu. An avid web searcher Matt constantly seeks new ideas and inspiration. As far as culinary boundaries are concerned, for Matt, if you’re not pushing them, why are you cooking?

Obsessive compulsive about?
Matt lives by the premise that fresh ingredients speak for themselves, and thus is insistent upon having ingredients that are fresh and of a high standard. He also believes that “the less work you have to do to a product, the better.”

Your greatest culinary inspirations?
Michael Slayton his Chef and Mentor, Thomas Kellar because he is the best chef in the world in my opinion and his food is still food without all the molecular gastronomy, Ferran Adria for the total opposite, Heston Blumenthal for his humbleness and for his ability to take food to another dimension.

Most “eyebrow raising” menu item?
Matt prefers to keep dishes and ingredients that are familiar to his customers. He does have a quirky sense of humour and responded to this question that “Mountain Alp cured Squirrel with Buffalo eyeballs and chicken lips… would feature on the next menu”. Rest assured Matt won’t be acting on his cheeky joke.

Signature dish: Matt hesitates when thinking about the signature dish, there are too many to include. Regular diners though are talking about Salt & Pepper King Prawns, Asian Spanner Crab Salad, Sweet Corn Custard & Soy Dressing.