What's good in The Natural Cook by vineyard chef Matt Stone »

Maximum taste, zero waste

By Laura McKinnon
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<i>The Natural Cook - Maximum Taste, Zero Waste</i> by Matt Stone

The Natural Cook - Maximum Taste, Zero Waste by Matt Stone [©Murdoch Books]


Matt Stone is passionate about zero-waste cooking and ethically sourced food. He incorporates native Australian ingredients in a number of his recipes, and hopes that native foods will become more of a staple in the future. Matt is also a fan of an awesome meal and this everyting The Natural Cook showcases.

Stone takes inspiration from traditional cooking methods – ones that have stood the test of time, like milling flour and rolling oats, and says he would love to see these integrated into kitchens once more, presumably to a scale seen in the past. He wants people to question where their food comes from and to think twice about the habits they use in the kitchen.

Matt loves making awesome meals and this is all really what The Natural Cook showcases – great meals made ethically and sustainably. The main chapters covered in the cookbook are

  • freshly rolled and milled
  • fermenting, brining and pickling
  • broth
  • vegetables
  • seafood and meat
  • sweets
  • drinks (twists on the classics) 
  • dressings, sauces and spreads
  • plus a section on edible insects!

Stone delivers the goods in terms of providing a cookbook that best represents his beliefs and gives a good range of recipes to cater to many tastes. He also provides lots of basics – things like creating broths, yoghurts, sour cream, sauces, mayonnaise and jams to name a few.

There are some absolutely stand-out recipes. The Kangaroo and Australian Fuits, Herbs and Spices provides flavours unfamiliar to the taste buds but delicious all the same. Auntie Susan’s Lemon Myrtle Cake will bring a smile to the face of anyone lucky enough to taste it and the very interesting Barbecued Bananas and Chocolate Ice-cream will have kids (and the young at heart) begging for more.

And for those who are more adventurous, the Crisp Crickets, Mealworms and Australian Seven Spice recipe might be a taste of what the future of cooking in Australia holds.

Whilst some of the recipes and their ingredients could be somewhat daunting for some, keep in mind that Stone understands this and often offers advice on how to obtain ingredients and what to replace more ‘exotic’ ingredients with in the case they cannot be obtained easily.

Lots of work has been put into The Natural Cook – it gives basics as well as more involved recipes. It gives advice on how to be a more sustainable cook – interesting snippets on how best to forage, how to use native ingredients, and how to dry ingredients and create powders are a few such examples.

Overall this has got to be one of the better cookbooks recently published. It could easily be given to someone as a first cookbook but also to someone more seasoned in the kitchen. It has great variety and offers something for everyone. T

he Natural Cook
offers something fresh and vibrant in, let’s face it, a rather flooded genre. If you can, grab it and make something traditional or different – this cookbook offers both, and your taste buds will thank you.

Read more about The Natural Cook in the media release here »

Read an alternative review on The Natural Cook by Dillon Kesur »

See links below for recipes from The Natural Cook.


The Natural Cook by Matt Stone is published by Murdoch Books (Sydney, Aug 2016; sc, 240 pp) and retails in Australia for RRP A$39.99. It is avbailable in all good bookshops and can be purchased direct from the publisher here »

The Natural Cook can be found to purchase online via Booko here »

It is also available as an eBook here »



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January 27th, 2017
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