Celebrating The Chef Collection with Miguel Maestre
Miguel Maestre’s passion for creating Spanish food that Australians love has reached new heights with the exclusive Chef Collection, a unique collaboration between one of the country’s best-loved culinary personalities and Wine Selectors.
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Few personalities in food engage and invigorate the senses as Miguel. Passionate, funny, and outrageously entertaining, his love for his native Spain – and for creating meals that capture its unique cuisine – is evident in every dish.
Inspired by that passion, for our latest exclusive collection we’ve partnered with Miguel to create The Chef Collection. Packed with alluring Spanish flavours, great wines and a 32-page book full of Miguel’s favourite recipes alongside personal stories of his defining food experiences, it’s your invitation to sit down and feast with one of the foremost culinary personalities in the country.
Birth of a Maestro
Talking to Miguel, it’s evident that his love of food runs deep. Born in Murcia on Spain’s South-West coast, Maestre’s Sundays were spent at his maternal grandparents’ sprawling farm; cooking, feasting and causing havoc among his 19 aunts and uncles, and their swathes of children.
The energetic mini-Miguel would hunt rabbits and pigeons with air rifles, smash whole watermelons to get at their sweet centres (to the understandable outrage of his grandfather), and attempt to smuggle baby chickens home under his shirt until their squeals would give him away.
“There would be 60, 70 people,” Maestre reflects on those early days that so firmly established the inexorable link between food and celebration, “so everything we’d cook would be massive. Enough for 100 people. A big pig being cooked over charcoal. Big paella pans with enough for everyone. They’re the most beautiful memories I have. Food memories are the ones that never fade.”
“I remember the volume of voices, too. I think that’s why I’m so loud. When I got to Australia, I was always the loudest in the room, because I grew up like that. The way we celebrate is so expressive.”
A Selection of Miguel's Beautiful Banquetes
That early passion – among family and for food – has been a constant in Miguel’s life, one he has shared generously with Australian food lovers over the years. The Chef Collection captures, distils and celebrates Miguel’s inimitable personality and character, matching a variety of hand-selected Spanish and classic varieties to 14 of Miguel’s favourite recipes.
Miguel Maestre's Caldero Murciano
Take Miguel’s caldero murciano. Traditionally cooked over flames on the beach by fishermen, this take on caldero – the Mediterranean's signature rice dish – is sure to light a fire in your heart. "Caldero is probably the strongest food memory from my childhood," Miguel says. "It is the rice dish par excellence in the Mediterranean, and gets its name from the pot that this gastronomic diamond is cooked in."
For Spanish chefs, Miguel explains, caldero murciano is the equivalent of risotto di mare. With its exquisite sea-fresh flavours and creamy textural qualities, no wonder it was an early favourite of Miguel's. "This was the real meaning of Sunday lunch in our family," he recalls with a grin. "The main event!" For the Chef Collection, we’ve paired it with a Snake & Herring Corduroy Chardonnay 2018, whose classic Chardonnay characters are an ideal match for this dish’s textural elements.
Miguel Maestre's Fabada Asturiana
Earthy and nourishing, legumes are a staple of Spanish cooking, a vital element of hearty, life-restoring dishes... like Miguel’s fabada Asturiana, a hearty white bean stew with chorizo and black sausage.
"This is a real blokes meal!" laughs Miguel. "Not only is it full of energy, but it will boost your stamina for the whole day." The most traditional stew in Northern Spain's Asturias region (where it derives its name), Miguel believes that fabada Asturiana is packed with the kind of much needed goodness the body craves after a hard day's work.
While white beans are the star, morcilla (or blood sausage) plays a crucial role. "The morcilla can be swapped out for a nice, chunky pork snag," says Miguel, "but if you want the real experience, try the morcilla – I guarantee you will love it!" For the Chef Collection, we’ve paired it with the Thorn-Clarke Single Vineyard Selection Mataro 2018 – a delicious Spanish-style wine of abundant, dark fruit characters that match beautifully with the intense flavours of Miguel’s stew.
Miguel Maestre's Chickpea and Chorizo Hotpot
Traditionally served to Murcian farm workers for lunch, this delicious chickpea and chorizo hotpot from Miguel is another dish designed to replenish and refuel. “My Mum used to make this every week when we were growing up,” he recalls. “In Spain it is served as two dishes, with the stock as entrée, and the meat and chorizo as the main course.”
Miguel recommends fresh sourdough bread fried in olive oil to mop up the juices, with two other tips: “Its best attributes are that it gets better after a couple of days in the fridge, and is the best hangover cure!” And if you happen to be looking for the best chorizo to use in this and other dishes, look no further than the man himself…
Master the Table with Maestre Enterprises
When it comes to preparing these Spanish feasts showcased in the Chef Collection in your home, you simply can’t go past Miguel’s own range of small goods. With everything from Australian free-range jamón to the best Australian free-range chorizo, it’s never been easier to bring the authentic flavours of Spain to life. Get your hands on all your essential ingredients at Miguel’s website here!
More Great Recipes from Miguel Maestre Await Within The Chef Collection!
From his signature kingfish ceviche to a 5-minute Spanish omelette and the majestic paella la Maestre plus a guide to Spanish charcuterie, if you’re looking for the ultimate starter’s guide to the wonders of Spanish cuisine there’s simply no better place to start than with Miguel and the Chef Collection.
Because it’s not just great food that’s on show here: you’ll be living la vida vino enjoying these great dishes with some of the best Australian wines, handpicked to complement Miguel’s cooking. Available in red, white and mixed 6-packs, it features such great wines as the 3 x Gold medal-winning Snake & Herring Corduroy Chardonnay 2018, the Gold medal-winning Blue Pyrenees Estate Cabernet Blend 2017, and a selection of other fantastic wines including the Spanish stylings of the De Iuliis Special Release Shiraz Tempranillo Rosé 2020, the Juniper Small Batch Tempranillo 2018, the Thorn-Clarke Single Vineyard Selection Mataro 2018, the Margan Vineyards Albariño 2019 and more.
Our tip? Buy one red and one white for yourself to enjoy the collection to its maximum, and keep one of the booklets as a standby reserve if your cooking gets a little exuberant!
Experience the Flavours of Spain with Miguel
Miguel’s contributions to Australian cooking have been invaluable, and our country is richer for having him in our culinary landscape. But he’s never lost his connection to his homeland. Life in Sydney with his wife and children might seem a long way from those days spent running amok on the Murcian farm, but Miguel says it’s through the celebration of food that the connection is kept alive.
“Food and celebration,” he asserts, jumping off his chair to emphasise the point, “is everything! It’s all about the big paella dish in the middle of the crowd, everyone eats from there. If you and I are eating from the same paella, we can talk about the big things in life. People know each other better when they’re eating from the same pot.”