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Matt Golinski and Gympie high school students proud of paddock-to-plate banquet

Matt Golinski smiling at the camera surrounded by students holding up strawberries and gooseberries.
Hospitality and home economics students helped Matt Golinski prepare food grown in the school paddock.

ABC Rural: Jennifer Nichols

Regional food ambassador and chef Matt Golinski has worked with students from Gympie State High school to produce a paddock-to-plate lunch to be proud of.

Planning began late last year for students to grow fruit, vegetables and meat for the three-course banquet.

They also helped prepare, serve and provide entertainment at the inaugural event.

The students cutting up food under direction of Matt Golinski.
Strawberries grown on the school farm were prepared three different ways for the banquet dessert.

ABC Rural: Jennifer Nichols

"I'm not like that at all, I don't like yelling at people. I want them to get excited about what they're doing."

The passionate foodie taught the teenagers how to make butter and ricotta from Cooloola milk and prepare the produce and meat grown on the school farm.

"Ninety per cent of what we're using for the lunch has come either from the school or from around the local area," Mr Golinski said.

Matt Golinski poses next to a pot full of bone broth.
Matt Golinski is the Gympie region's food ambassador.

ABC Rural: Jennifer Nichols

Strawberries were dehydrated to make chips, pureed and chopped up for dessert, with fresh Cape gooseberries also on the dessert menu for 80 guests.

The impressive menu included barbecued Moreton Bay bugs with lemon myrtle, finger lime and aioli; house-made bread with jersey butter; roasted sirloin with spiced pumpkin, pickled squash and mushroom jus; galantine of chicken (deboned and rolled) stuffed with ricotta and pancetta; and honey and buttermilk panna cotta with gooseberry jelly and macadamia biscotti.

The food on the plates that was served at the paddock to plate luncheon.
The mouth-watering menu showcased fresh produce from the school farm and the region.

ABC Rural: Jennifer Nichols

Gympie deputy mayor and agriculture teacher, Bob Leitch, said they got the idea from Beenleigh State High School, which has successfully hosted several paddock-to-plate events.

"We started this in October last year and then talked with Matt to make sure that we covered whatever we could grow here," Mr Leitch said.

A field of cauliflowers and broccolis
The students grew brassicas including broccoli and cauliflower for the lunch.

ABC Rural: Jennifer Nichols

"We grow strawberries here every year; they've been successful. We also grow broccoli and cauliflower, radish and Cape gooseberries.

Steers and chickens were also raised and fed on the school farm and processed for the event.

"Agriculture's very important to us and we're promoting the Gympie food trail," Mr Leitch said.

The hospitality, home economics and agriculture students were excited to be involved

Levi McDermott said he was pleased to showcase what was produced on the school farm.

The students holding up strawberries and looking at the camera.
Levi McDermott and Braydon McClay picking strawberries for the 'Paddock to Plate' banquet.

ABC Rural: Jennifer Nichols

"It just shows we have good, vast varieties of food and cattle. Pretty proud," the year 10 student said.

Agriculture department head Sally Becker said the school produced award-winning cattle.

"Gympie State High School has been a member of the Droughtmaster stud breeder society since 1974, so we've had a really long history of breeding, preparing and showing our cattle," she said.

Young Droughtmaster bulls looking at the camera through a fence.
Gympie State High has been a member of the Droughtmaster stud breeder society since 1974.

ABC Rural: Jennifer Nichols

"We regularly sell bulls to equal average money that is achieved elsewhere in the industry.

"Animals that are not going to make it as bulls or as replacement heifers for our herd we feed for the domestic market and they're usually processed at Nolan's abattoir and sold to staff and other members of the community through Neil's family butchers who do all the sorting and packing of the meat for us," Ms Becker said.

"The students are very involved in managing the herd."

Female high school student standing holding a plate of food, smiling, with adults seated a tables behind her.
Gympie State High School student Nelia Shay with grilled Tin Can Bay prawns with fennel and rocket salad.

ABC Rural: Jennifer Nichols