Matt Golinski with fellow chef Alastair McLeod at this year's brisbanetimes.com.au Good Food Guide awards. Photo: Harrison Saragossi
Being a chef on a low carb diet seems counter-intuitive - like Hugh Hefner embracing celibacy.
“It's absolutely killing me,” said Matt Golinski, who'll cook for crowds at the Celebrate Redcliffe Festival on Sunday.
“The hardest things are probably no alcohol, because I do like a drink, and things like pasta and bread.”
But Golinski said after completing the King of the Mountain race at Pomona and a half-marathon at Mooloolaba, he wanted to enjoy a six pack of a different kind.
“I thought 'I'll see if I can get my abs out by Christmas time',” he laughed.
Fitness has become a key part of Golinski's recovery from the devastating fire on Boxing Day 2011 that claimed his wife Rachel and their daughters Starlia, Sage and Willow.
Golinski suffered burns to 40 per cent of his body, but amazed doctors with his dedication to resume running, a hobby from before the blaze.
“It clears my head, gives me time to think and gets endorphins pumping as well, which is another thing that's kept me relatively sane over the past couple of years,” he said.
Golinski said that he still had bad days, but dwelling on them just sent him into a spiral.
“I'm not ignoring the situation I'm in or thinking that I'm through it or anything like that, it's going to go on for years and years, it could go on forever,” he said.
“But I can keep my mind on other things to get me through it.”
Those things include the Cruise for Mates initiative, which raises money for treatment and research into burns.
Golinski recently returned from one such river cruise in France, where he found his passion for fresh produce reignited by village markets, and French chef Paul Bocuse's market in Lyon.
“The range of produce that they had there, and the quality of it just blew my mind,” he said.
“I just wanted to throw a sleeping bag on the floor and sleep there for a month and just eat myself silly.”
It's that philosophy of fresh is best that Golinski hopes will infuse his first cookbook, which he's currently working on, with a tentative publication date of mid-2014.
“It'll be very produce-driven, the sort of things I buy from farmers' markets, things that people might see there but not know how to use,” he said.
“It's also recipes from my childhood through to now.”
But will any of them be low carb?
“Oh God no!” he laughed, before admitting some could work for dieters.
“A lot of the food that I do is fresh, light, not heavy in carbs, so there should be a few in there that would cut the grade.”
Golinski will create a nicoise-style salad – hopefully with fresh yellowfin tuna – at the Celebrate Redcliffe Festival, between 9am and 4pm on Sunday September 14 at the Redcliffe Foreshore.