Matthew Conroy

Matthew Conroy

Presenting a dish must show pride and love for the food
Born: Sydney


I've lived most of my life in and around Brisbane, but moved to the beautiful Sunshine Coast and started my apprenticeship at age 17 in a large resort. However a girl took me overseas, where I continued to find challenging positions at “The Dorchester” – London, and Olympia & Earls Court Exhibition Centre. Upon returning to Australia, I worked in a fine dining restaurant at the Tattersalls Club in Brisbane for 4 years,then moved back to the Sunshine Coast and worked at a few small restaurants getting acclaim for my 'ooey gooey chocolate pudding'. 

As it turns out, this 'girl' and I got married, and started a cooking school within her family's business, Amytis Gardens Retreat & Day Spa. Over the past years, I have run Italian, French, Chocolate and now, Thai, cooking classes.

Have you always wanted to be a Chef? 

No, initially I wanted to be a cabinet maker! But as luck had it and the need for some cash, I got a job in a kitchen where a few months later was offered an apprenticeship. The rest really, is history!

How would you define your style? 

Definitely traditional with a respect for classic cuisine fundamentals and basics. Presenting a dish must show pride and love for the food.

What is your feature flavour these days? 

My Thai cooking classes are really about balancing the flavours – sweet, salty & sour.

Obsessive compulsive about? 

My wife is quick to point out my necessity to keep the kitchen clean and Mise en Place (French term for "everything in its place"). Must be the Virgo in me!

Your greatest culinary inspirations/influences? 

Thomas Keller. His passion for the finer details and knowledge of food and science of cooking.

What do you love about this business? 

It gives the opportunity to grow something of my own, be creative, yet still have time to jump on the trampoline with my two boys.

An ingredient you can’t live without? 

Thai cuisine has so many ingredients that are important, but if I had to pick one it would be our own Mooloolaba prawns. They lend themselves to any dish.

Most ‘eyebrow raising’ menu item? 

Okonomiyaki – for a good reason. Most people don’t realise how good just a few ingredients can taste.

Signature dish: Thai red curry of duck with pineapple. I like it scorching hot, but it tastes great at any heat.

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