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Chef Simon gives students the good oil on sustainable cooking

My Restaurant Rules star Simon Grigalius will be sharing his passion for local produce and sustainable food by presenting student cooking classes at Bond University’s Open Day on Sunday, August 19.

The focus of his demonstrations will be quick, easy and healthy recipes that students can cook for themselves and their friends, using fresh, locally-grown ingredients.

“I want to get students interested and excited about cooking tasty, nutritious meals that take no time at all,” said Chef Simon, who runs catering and food consultancy MYLK – ‘my little kitchen’.

“I’ll be using beautiful Coopers Shoot tomatoes, olive oil, macadamias, goats’ cheese and pumpkins sourced directly from growers in the Gold Coast hinterland and Northern Rivers so the underlying message is to educate students about low food miles and supporting our farmers.”

Simon understands the time constraints of students much better than most chefs:  late last year, he enrolled in a Bachelor of Environmental Science (Sustainability Science) at Bond’s Institute of Sustainable Development and Architecture.

“I’m so excited to be studying at Bond – I absolutely love it,” he said.

“After 25-plus years of working in the food industry, it’s really stretching my mind and taking me into new areas of thought.”

Simon had worked in restaurants since high school, completed a chef’s apprenticeship and owned his own restaurant when he applied for Channel 7’s My Restaurant Rules in 2004.

Branded a ‘star’ by MasterChef food critic, Matt Preston, his profile exploded when the show became an international hit, televised in over 40 countries.

Simon went onto work in New York and then London as a private chef, with clients ranging from celebrities through to prime ministers and the international business elite. Back in Australia, his work as sous-chef to Michelin-rated masterchef Bruno Loubert remains a career highlight.

Performing at numerous food festivals and events, he is as much ‘food entertainer’ as chef; using his profile to share his philosophy of sustainability.

“I’ve worked in over 50 restaurants around the world – I love food and I love cooking – but it really makes you think about how much you’re putting in and how much you’re taking out,” he said.

“There’s so much more the whole industry can be doing in terms of recycling to reduce waste, using organic compost, reducing food miles by sourcing ingredients from local growers and supporting sustainable farming practices – even when you’re catering for big numbers.

“Studying environmental science is giving me the academic theory and skills to back up my practical experience and philosophy so it’s adding a whole new dimension to my career.”

Simon’s cooking demonstrations will be held at 1:30pm at the Atrium of the Institute of Sustainable Development & Architecture building as part of Bond’s Open Day activities on Sunday, August 19. 

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