On the pass: Matthew Breen, Templo

Author: Samantha Teague
Photography: Adam Gibson

Matthew Breen, head chef and co-owner of tiny Templo on the backstreets of Hobart, sits down to chat about the Italian-leaning restaurant's current menu, fennel and what to do with carrot tops.

What's the food at Templo all about, Matthew?

It's Italian-European but we wouldn't label it as an Italian restaurant; it's just Hobart food, really. Almost all of our produce is sourced from within a 50-kilometre radius of the restaurant. I love making fresh pasta and I really enjoy the Italian culture of sharing food, too - that's something we try to emulate in the restaurant.

Favourite autumn ingredient?

Fennel is always beautiful at this time of year. I like it raw with a bit of lemon on top of kingfish, or to make a nice fennel oil. I also love delicata squash, an Italian variety which we usually cook in lasagne with some Taleggio.

What's the standout dish on the menu right now?

We've been cooking the last carrots for the season with whey. We make our own ricotta and stracciatella, so we cook the carrots with our leftover whey and then char-grill them. We also use the carrot tops to make a carrot top and hazelnut pesto.

Templo is your first restaurant; what have you learnt since opening it?

We opened with not really a clue of what we were doing. Since then, we've progressed with how we cook our food and with the quality of produce we use. We still keep it simple but now we have the chance to experiment with things like making our own cheese and curing our own meats, such as guanciale and coppa. We also buy direct from farmers - it helps create a sense of community.

Who are some of your favourite local producers?

Three big ones would be Stan Robert from Fat Carrot Farm, Matt Deakin and Paulette Whitney from Provenance Growers, and Nigel Dobbs' farm out in Cambridge. It's so beneficial having access to their beautiful vegetables, which taste great without having to alter them too much.

Templo, 98 Patrick St, Hobart, Tas, (03) 6234 7659, templo.com.au

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