Spend a moment with Miguel Maestre, our Stockland Food Ambassador.
Meet Miguel - a celebrity chef with a passion for everything food and family. Drawing from his colourful Spanish upbringing, Miguel’s signature cooking style is anything but ordinary. “My heritage influences everything I do in life,” he says. “My sweetest memories are seeing my parents united, cooking in the kitchen, everyone eating out of the same paella pan.” Miguel’s food-filled childhood sparked his passion for cooking at an early age, propelling him into his now-prosperous career as a chef. “I built my whole business on my Mum’s paella. I wanted everybody to be able to enjoy it,” he proudly admits.
Later in life, Miguel’s horizons were further broadened by his time in Scotland. At 18 years old, he was thrust into a situation where many would falter. “I basically learnt English in a Scottish kitchen,” he explains. Enriched by these rich experiences, Miguel has never stopped searching for inspiration. “Everyday activities inspire me - people’s reactions, the weather! Inspiration is in everything you breathe in, touch and see.”
Miguel’s immense passion extends to quality ingredients, placing high priority on sourcing fresh, sustainable produce. “Seasonality is everything. In-season produce is a gift from the weather to the chefs. Ingredients talk to us if we listen,” he says. He advises shy shoppers to speak up and make sure that they cater to their budget and palate by purchasing abundant, affordable, appetising items. “Don’t be scared to ask questions. It’s all about communication,” he stresses. “When I go to Stockland Merrylands to buy fresh fish, I ask the local retailers what’s good and where it came from and then that’s why I buy it.”
This element of locality is just one of the many reasons Miguel enjoys his role as Stockland’s Food Ambassador. “Since I started working with Stockland, I have received such rewarding feedback,” he says. “People stop me in-centre just to chat. There’s something amazing when people see you face-to-face; they feel a part of something – its priceless.”
When asked to single out his favourite memory as a part of the Stockland team, Miguel volunteered a quote that resonated with him. “I remember on my first day, someone told me that ‘we don’t build places, we build communities’. That’s why I was so excited to work with Stockland.” As Food Ambassador, Miguel is involved with everything from photoshoots to in-centre appearances, and he loves every minute of it. “I drive home and feel so rewarded. I love being part of the Stockland family. I feel so lucky to do what I love,” he smiles.
Despite his incredibly busy schedule, Miguel still finds time to appreciate the little things in life, bringing his love of cooking home with him. “If I had the day off, I’d cook breakfast for my kids,” Miguel explains, reinforcing his unquenchable creativity and love. He even finds time to escape from the daily grind with a little ‘me’ time every morning. “I’m really active and my life goes a thousand miles an hour, so a swim in morning relaxes me,” he says.
Now that you’ve gotten to know him a little better, why not introduce Miguel’s flair into your own kitchen? Visit our Miguel Maestre hub for more news, recipes and inspiration and relish in a range of his seasonal, internationally-inspired recipes and helpful tips and make your next meal all the more memorable.