In our Leading Sustainable Chef series, we were privileged to chat with Massimo Mele of Grain of Silo's in Tasmania.
Some cheeky, insightful words showing how passionate this Massimo is about our changing world today.
- Who first inspired you to cook?
Well, I guess I grew up in the family restaurant. Both my parents worked in the restaurant. My dad did savoury, and mum did sweets. So when I was nine years old, I started working in the restaurant after school. I'd love to say I remember being five years old and watching nonna cook, but I only remember eating it! Being a five-year-old, I was waiting for MY food!
- What inspired you and inspires you now?
Lots of different people have inspired me in the past, but now I am more inspired by what's in the garden, and this is a full circle. Not just inspiration but more a way of life. Garden, family, and traditions - I am now living what I preach. For the first time in my career, it is no bull - it is more honest and authentic than in the past. Traditions are of the highest value.
- What is your favourite "go-to" when cooking at home?
Pasta - and also whatever is in the garden, no doubt! Last night grilled steak with veggies. One treat I make is for my wife, it is her favourite pasta - carbonara.
- What are you excited about in food trends right now?
I'm excited about seeing a lot of people returning to the farms and to the source of our food, I mean, there was a marketing angle before, but now it REALLY does mean something. I am enjoying watching Chefs source their food and getting out of the kitchen. I am also enjoying watching a lot of people grow their own produce. People who have space in the country and even people in a house in Surry Hills, inner city - encouraging them to put in a couple of garden beds, putting in something as simple as silverbeet and herbs. Watching people embrace "PICK ME". Getting on socials to let everyone know what they are doing, the more we talk about it, the more we inspire people around us. As chefs, we have a moral and ethical responsibility to not only get people to come to our restaurants, but get to REALLY know the food. Learn where your food comes from. It is not a trend anymore; it is a movement. Making the most out of zero waste - is really an inspiration to me.
- What is the next big event you are planning for?
Grain of Silos - We have our "meet the producers" event soon - basically showcasing the producers. We invite ten producers to join the guests on the night - they are scattered around, and they talk to the guests, educate them and tell them the real story of their produce. It is a real Paddock to plate. It is also a great way to thank our producers for all their hard work.
- If, in this crazy world, there was a movie made about you … who would star as you in the movie? Go big!
Haha … I'm not sure. They would have to be very good-looking, charismatic - at heart, a momma's boy!
- What do you love about wearing Cream Collection chef uniforms?
I love it because it is so comfortable, it feels good, and it is a good fit.
Italians have three important values - family, food, and looking good! In the past, I have looked back on photos and thought - that doesn't fit properly, and I need not only to look good, but I also need to be comfortable.
Also, the fabric in the aprons is fantastic. Chefs need to be comfortable on the floor - we need to look smart. Gone are the days when Chefs used to appear in a dirty jacket with a tea towel thrown over their shoulders.
It is a different kind of "presence" today. People want to see well-presented Chefs producing well-presented food.
_ Thank you Massmio, love your work, love your style and love everything you are doing for the food industry now. You truly are a leading sustainable chef. xxx