Australian Matt Moran is a fifth-generation farmer, celebrated TV personality and restaurateur with 29 highly respected dining establishments in Sydney and Brisbane. But most importantly, he is one of his country’s most influential chefs, known for impressing palates with his inspired fare using local and regional produce.
“Australia is one of the best countries in the world for food because we have both a variety of multicultural influences and incredible produce,” says Moran, who first discovered classical French cooking as a 15-year-old apprentice. “We have unbelievable seafood from clean, crystal blue waters and beautiful meats from an incredible farming background. And I’m excited about using indigenous foods full of big flavours in my new restaurant.”
The sustainability Moran embraces in his restaurants is showcased without compromise on Singapore Airlines flights. If not, “we wouldn’t be true to ourselves, because what we do for the restaurants is what we do for the Airline”, he says. The 48-year-old’s unwavering commitment to Australian-grown ingredients is founded on the principle that chefs are only as good as their farmer or producer – fresh, perfect vegetables, for example, should be able to speak for themselves when put on a plate.
“I like the romance when asparagus comes into season at its most beautiful, and you love it. And then it’s gone, and you use something else in season. And when it comes back, you get excited again,” says Moran, whose kitchens only use what’s blossoming in their gardens at any time. He sees passengers getting excited about good food on a plane and wanting to identify with what they’re eating. “Fresh is always the request. Seasonality helps keep people in the air connected to what’s happening on the ground, and makes air travel much more than just going from A to B.”
Even as many chefs buckle at the challenges of replicating their dishes inflight, Moran’s philosophy of artful cooking presented in a warm atmosphere is a seamless match for Singapore Airlines’ legacy of luxurious hospitality.
“When you’re sitting in that First or Business Class seat, you’re experiencing one of my fine-dining restaurants in the air, eating my food from entrée to main course to dessert. For example, in summer, we have lots of clean ingredients featuring in lighter-style dishes – greens, vegetables, beans, peas and spring lamb seared and pan-fried, rather than cooked with sauces.”
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For Moran, cooking is a progression and a learning journey. “No one knows everything,” he says. “There are some dishes that I like and may leave on the menu for a year, but eventually, they all change. My menus will always change. I travel and I’m always learning new things.”
“The great thing about Singapore Airlines is that the menus are always changing, and I like surprises,” says Moran. When he is on the other side of the aisle, he savours the Airline’s chicken rice paired with a beautiful glass of white burgundy or Dom Pérignon.
– TEXT BY DESIREE KOH
PHOTOGRAPHY: TAN WEI TE, ART DIRECTION: NG SAY LEE, GROOMING: ADELENE SIOW, HAIR: ANNIE TAY
This article was originally published by Singapore Press Holdings.