CHEERS: Miguel Maestre and Lockyer Valley Regional Council Mayor Tanya Milligan at the cooking event held on Sunday morning at Faith Lutheran College, Plainland.
CHEERS: Miguel Maestre and Lockyer Valley Regional Council Mayor Tanya Milligan at the cooking event held on Sunday morning at Faith Lutheran College, Plainland. Lachlan McIvor

Miguel Maestre brings slice of Spain to the Lockyer Valley

FRESH from hosting the Lockyer Valley Business, Training and Apprenticeship Awards on Saturday night, celebrity chef Miguel Maestre was back in the heat of the kitchen on Sunday morning.

He led around 20 participants in making his signature dishes, paella and churros con chocolate, in a special event held at Faith Lutheran College, Plainland, with the food later being served at a lunch for a number of special guests.

Faith's hospitality trade school students were also on hand to help and Mr Maestre was very impressed with the facilities they had at their disposal.

"(It's) a perfect (pathway) to get somebody who knows nothing about cooking, and they have the perfect tools here, to teach you everything you need to know to work in a restaurant,” Mr Maestre said.

"It's an amazing place, you could produce a lot of chefs out of that kitchen.”

As a youngster in Spain, Mr Maestre didn't find his path in life until he moved into the kitchen and urged them to take full advantage of what was in front of them.

"I was a bit of nightmare, I was very unproductive, very full on, I wasn't very good at anything until I found my way channelling cooking,” he said.

"I think cooking is the only place where I belong. So when I talk to students the first thing I say is how lucky (they) are.

"I couldn't grab it, so if you've got the chance, grab it.”

Before he hosted the gala night on Saturday, he met with local chefs, talking to them about the importance of using local produce to create signature dishes for their menus. The weekend was also a chance to meet up with farmers behind some of the local produce he regularly uses.

"One of the local farmers grows iceberg lettuce.”

"He said 'Miguel our iceberg lettuce is so nice because we bring in a few of the seeds from Spain', (I said) 'I love you already'.

"It feels nice to put a face to the (produce), knowing there is a story and a family working behind it.”


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