We caught up with talented Spaniard Miguel Maestre and found out a bit about how his journey in cooking began.

How did you get into cooking?

I grew up in Murcia, in Spain and left Spain at the age of 18 and went to the UK.  I was very independent and went to work in a restaurant in Edinburgh.

I started at the absolute bottom – I worked for free during the week and washed dishes at the weekend to learn how to become a chef!

The head chef gave me 100kg of potatoes to peel – it was a test to see if I had the stamina! Every potato I peeled I felt I was a step closer to what I wanted to do. I reckon I’ve peeled millions of potatoes!

I was extremely enthusiastic and grateful to have a job and I never took the job for granted –  I did everything the head chef asked of me. The next day I got moved up to a better job and that’s how you become good in the kitchen and learn to become a chef.

Your wife Sasha is Australian, how did you meet?

I met my wife Sasha in the UK whilst I was over there working and she was travelling over there. When we first met, I couldn’t speak a word of English! It took me 6 months to learn!  We moved to Sydney where she was from. If I hadn’t met Sash, I probably wouldn’t be living over here now!

And you and Sasha have two children, do they like your food?

My kids are very good eaters and they eat everything we eat.  We believe it’s important to have family time at meal times around the table. The TV is always off at meal times, we always ‘cheers’ with our children!

You have your own range of Spanish food products, Maestre Family Foods. How is that going?

3 years ago we had 2 products and were selling those in 3 stores. Today we have 30 products and they sell in over 1800 stores including Woolworths.  Spanish food is massive here and we were the first family to create a Spanish section in the supermarket. It’s a tiny section but it’s Spanish! What an achievement!