Ipswich episode of popular cooking show airs this week
IPSWICH is about to get national recognition, with a local chef starring in this Thursday's episode of MasterChef.
As part of Queensland Week, the themed week of activities will end with a masterclass by chef Ash Martin on location at Spicers Hidden Vale, just outside Grandchester.
Ash has been the chef at the Homage Restaurant for the last six years and was over the moon when he heard that the show's producers wanted to film an episode on location.
The restaurant retains the highest approval rate for the entire region on Trip Advisor, making it the number one choice for tourists, and despite a fire last year destroying the kitchen, it hasn't meant the great food has stopped hitting the tables.
"We always had our own coal pits, wood oven, smoke house and such, so we thought we should embrace them after the fire destroyed the main kitchen," Mr Martin said.
"The fire was the worst thing that's ever happened at Spicers, but what came out of it was a chance to be more creative with food and cooking methods.
"It was hard at times for everyone to learn, but in the end its created challenges which have been fun, and we were up and running five days after the fire."
Ash was excited when the producers of the show came out for a visit to taste his cooking, and it led to what was a production juggernaut.
"MasterChef just came out, visited the place and after a chat decided this was the spot.
"The whole experience was phenomenal, everyone was so professional, and they really embraced what we are doing here, using local produce.
"It didn't feel like it was just another spot for them to film, the entire production enjoyed the environment, and it was nice to have them there.
"It was the most well-oiled machine I've ever seen in my life, it was incredible."
Ash will feature on Thursday night's episode, doing a masterclass with the judges, along with Matt Preston cooking a fabulous dessert.
"The dish I cook on the show is something a bit different. It's a dish that belongs at Spicers, and one you don't see often," Ash said.
"Seeing the judges eat my food made me so proud and having them there was such a thrill. Most of the staff at the hotel have been there for many years and it was great to have everyone involved. I lived at the resort for five years, and it's my home...I love the place.
"My hero chef is the Scandinavian Magnus Nilsson, who always uses local produce and traditional methods. His style of cooking was something I've always wanted to follow. We pay homage to the old property we are on at Spicers, and that's why we started cooking on coals years ago."
MasterChef's Queensland Week concludes at Spicers Hidden Vale on Network Ten 7.30pm, Thursday