Culinary Trends  

Taste of success

Kate Robertson

Young Micheal Parsons’ fate was sealed during his first cooking class at primary school. As soon as he took a bite of the delicious ham and pineapple muffin he’d made all by himself, he realised that being a chef was the life for him.

Micheal was already a keen helper in the kitchen at home, but the success of his muffin pizza was the sealer, leading him to set his sights on a cooking career.

He took home economics classes throughout secondary college before leaving school to start work at a bakery. 

Micheal began working in hotels and pubs in South Australia before the urge for a change led to him to make the move to Queensland 15 years ago, initially as a chef with the Coffee Club.

‘Working in cafes was quite good. I did breakfast, lunch and dinners.

Getting up early wasn't too bad, I didn't mind that sort of shift because when you work in a bakery you had to get up early.’

During his Coffee Club years, Micheal entered a competition that involved creating a dish with Coffee Club’s products and equipment against the clock. Facing down chefs from Australia, New Zealand and New Caledonia, Micheal placed second with a dish of cooked prawns with an avocado salsa.

But with his personal taste running more to schnitzels and steaks,

Micheal was keen to get back into cooking pub and tavern style food. 

One of his staple products is I&J’s South American Crispy Battered Flathead Fillets.

‘I use them for your normal fish and chips and then your fish burgers.

We use the Flathead Fish Bites for our platters too, from the same brand.
‘They are so easy to cook. Portion control wise, they're consistent. It's easy to just grab three out of a box and put them straight into the fryer. No one can stuff that up,’ he laughs.

Micheal clearly still has a passion for cooking. 


‘It's the environment. You go there to enjoy yourself. The best part of cooking is making sure everyone's happy when they get their food and getting great feedback.

We do get “Compliments to the chefs”, all the time,’ he says.

‘It's nice to win awards, like the other day we had a food critic come in randomly and we got 10 out of 10 for dessert, and a nine and an eight out of 10 for both the main meals.’

Now a father, Micheal has passed on his love of cooking to his three children aged 12, 15 and 18.

‘We make our own fresh pasta now and then and the kids jump in and help,

and I still make the occasional muffin pizza. They’re so good. 

‘Back then you’d only put on ham and pineapple but nowadays you can put whatever you want on them. I love putting seafood on mine.’
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