Two Minutes with Matt Forbes | Pastry Chef Extraordinaire

By Pip Jarvis
30th Aug 2013

He makes cakes and confections that can make a grown man weep with joy and wonder. Yup, we're talking Matt Forbes, Melbourne's pastry chef du jour. Ex Vue de Monde, Matt has now branched out on his own, supplying some of Melbourne's leading cafes with his mouth-watering creations.

Fancy a 'salted caramel cardamom oreo'? We do! How 'bout a fat and juicy 'ginger and toffee ball'? Yes please!

In honour of Father's Day, we sat down for a chin wag with the main man, and also bagged you a sweet-as French toast recipe to whip up for Dad this Sunday morning.

TUL: How and why did you get into the cake-making biz?
Fresh out of college as a 17-year-old youngster, I was offered a job with Raymond Blanc at Le Manoir. The only thing they had going was a position in Pastry, and I have never looked back.

TUL: Was Willy Wonka your favourite movie as a child?
No – Willy Wonka was good, but I was more into Batman.

TUL: What made you move to Melbourne? (And thank God you did!)
A few things: I'd travelled here previously and liked it; my wife; and I got a job as the pastry chef at Vue de monde.

TUL: What would you be doing if you weren't a pastry chef?
Hard question to answer, as all I ever wanted to be was a chef.

TUL: When did you decide to go solo?
It has been on the cards for a while but I took the chance about 12 months ago, taking a punt with my first customer, Clement Coffee, in South Melbourne.

TUL: How does it work? Are you whipping up cakes in your kitchen at home and delivering them on your bike each day?
That sounds relaxing and dreamy … but no, I bake by night and deliver by day. I'm currently working out of a hired commercial kitchen whilst the build on my own place is underway.

TUL: If you had to pick a favourite among your creations, what would it be?
I'm working on a cigar doughnut for Father's Day … but am also a fan of my ginger balls with toffee cream. (So are we! We get ours at Pardon).

TUL: Favourite meal of the day?
Breakfast, as it is the only one I am guaranteed to have in a day! I like a good bircher muesli, or fruit toast with coffee. I also can't go past my dad's chilli con carne.

TUL: Hot chips or chocolate cake?
Both. I have two stomachs: one for savoury, and one for sweets.

TUL: What would you request for your last meal on earth?
Proper northern British fish 'n' chips with loads of vinegar and salt cooked in beef dripping, eaten straight from the paper (sitting out in the cold) … I could do with some now!

TUL: Best way to spend $50 in Melbourne?
Dinner for two at Dos Diablos food truck, parked up at Yarraville Gardens.

TUL: And $500?
Dinner for one at Attica - this was one of the first Melbourne restaurants I ate at six years ago, and it keeps getting better.

TUL: Latest Melbourne discovery?
Melbourne doesn't stop, there are always great new places popping up around the place. My new fave is Saint Crispin on Smith Street.

TUL: Fave spot for a drink?
My local is Barkley Johnson in Yarraville. Good thing it's right next door to my soon-to-be-opened cafe!

TUL: Fave spot for dinner?
Depends on the occasion – we are lucky in Melbourne as there are so many folks doing great stuff, but one of my favourites is The Town Mouse in Carlton. Huxtaburger is always great for a quick bite and a beer.

TUL: They say the way to a man's heart is through his stomach. Can the same be said for women?
Definitely. I reckon if you took home a raspberry, lychee and rose doughnut, or pistachio brownie that all your sins would be forgiven forever, don't you?

TUL: This Sunday is Father's Day. Are you a father?
Do two Cavalier King Charles Spaniels count? Finn and Ruby.

TUL: What would you like your kids (real or imaginary) to whip up for you as a Father's Day treat?
I'm a sucker for a good old bacon and egg buttie, or the works, so long as it has black pudding. But, of course, I would be just as happy with my French toast recipe.  The quince, pear and passionfruit compote is so easy and delicious. Being British, I like my French toast with the optional alcohol!

TUL: How can we avoid a disaster in the kitchen this Father's Day?
Prepare in advance and just have fun. Oh, and don't leave the dishes for Dad!

It's your lucky day, Listers! Click here for Matt's French toast recipe. That's gotta win you some serious brownie points with Dad.

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Image Credit: Natalie Seldon
** Please note - image is not the same as Matt's recipe.

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