Chef Matt Conquest is turning up the culinary heat at GemLife’s Queensland resorts, bringing 25 years of wide-ranging experience in kitchens across Australia to tempt the taste buds of residents and guests.
Recently joining the GemLife team, Matt will be responsible for event catering of all types ranging from cocktail parties, lunches and dinners to morning teas and fundraisers, as well as trialling fortnightly residents’ meals at GemLife Highfields.
Working at a variety of restaurants in Perth, Port Douglas, Brisbane, a winery in Victoria’s Yarra Valley, on Hastings Street in Noosa and hotel venues on the Sunshine Coast before joining established catering company Noosa Catering, a business he now owns. Having catered for GemLife events in the past, Matt is relishing taking on his new role as chef.
“It’s an exciting role and I can’t wait to get cooking. I love the GemLife brand, the community and the people,” he said.
Originally from Perth, Matt started out in the industry at the young age of 15, undergoing a hospitality training course before apprenticing in a seafood restaurant. Over the past 25 years, he’s also gained experience in Italian cooking, bistros, running hotels and taverns as well as catering.
“I love showcasing fresh, local produce in my cooking. On the Sunshine Coast, there are some phenomenal products available,” said Matt.
“I enjoy cooking food of all types, creating simple, modern and imaginative dishes with seasonal produce.”
“Food preferences are trend-oriented and are evolving all the time. People have much higher expectations these days thanks to the popularity of cooking shows like MKR and Masterchef,” he said.
“My cooking is also constantly evolving, and I like the challenge of continually raising standards and taking it to the next level.”
Matt is also looking into creating menu options for residents to cater for their own events – personal events like parties or even weddings, or group events like community fundraisers.
“For example, if residents wanted to hold a fundraiser at one of the country clubs, they could sell tickets to a sit-down meal or a cocktail-style event with finger foods and canapes and raise funds for a cause,” he said.
Matt is also excited about the prospect of trialling fortnightly residents’ meals at GemLife Highfields. Given Matt’s passion for using local produce, he is keen to discover some quality suppliers in the Toowoomba region to share the best local produce with Highfields’ residents and guests. Matt welcomes residents’ recommendations and can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org