In the surrounds of Musque Food & Wine’s dining room and impressive gin bar, we chatted with Sous Chef Matt Cartwright about his childhood, mentors and hopes for Barossa’s future. You can catch Matt in action at Masters Apprentices, a Tasting Australia event on Sunday 2 May.
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What did younger Matt want to do when he grew up?
Younger Matt dreamt of being a police officer, which given how naughty I was was questionable. I loved drawing and this began my passion for art as a creative outlet. I took a job as an apprentice because it was a job available at the time. I fell into cooking. I enjoy the discipline required whilst cooking as part of a team. Your attention to detail and preparation is a much a sign of respect for your colleagues as it is for dining guests. When I cook, I get to create something that brings people joy.
Who has been influential mentor and what did they teach you?
I don’t have a single mentor. I’ve tried to learn from as many people as possible, as well as challenge myself to continue to learn and better my skills. But if I had to mention anyone in particular it would be Rebecca Coulter former head chef of Lou Miranda estate. She gave me the push I needed to get myself out of my comfort zone and look forward to try bigger things.
I try and implement, “work smart not hard,” in the kitchen every day. If you prep well, it makes service easier. If you’ve taken the time to invest in other chefs and their skills, it makes service easier. The bottom-line is organization is key.
Can you tell us about your recent career development and what led you to where you are now?
Leading my team at Lou Miranda Estate as head chef for 3 years allowed me to grow as a chef, and as a leader. I relished the freedom to create and try new things. I also had the opportunity to directly train young chefs. Post-Covid, I’ve joined Stuart Oldfield and the team at Musque Food and Wine. This is a unique team, constantly challenging and contributing to our ever changing menu. No ideas are off the table with a fortnightly menu change. Musque has provided a good opportunity for me to continue to learn and grow.
What’s next for Matt and Barossa?
I would like the Barossa to be a place where local talent don’t feel the need to move away to take the next step in their career, and continue to be drawn to the region to grow as chefs.
You can catch Matthew as part of the chef team at Masters Apprentices, a Tasting Australia event Sunday 2 May 2021.
Yesterday’s apprentices > Today’s mentors > Tomorrow’s masters.
5 courses + 10 wines delivered through the eyes of 6 chefs + 10 winemakers destined to make their mark, leading the next generation of Barossa food and wine.
Tickets $155pp – tastingaustralia.com.au