Daniel Flatt is no stranger to Monster Kitchen and Bar, a gallant member of the kitchen since its launch, feeding us locals with monster appetites along the way. As long-time head chef, he has just taken over the reins and is now putting his personal touches to the new menu as part of the evolution of the restaurant since the Ovolo Hotels takeover.

Dan is bringing back some of the old favourites and revitalising the menu with modern Australian cuisine with an Asian and Mediterranean influence.  Dan’s dishes focus on using quality seasonal ingredients – regionally and locally sourced from Canberra region and surrounds.

Find out a little more about Dan, what makes him tick and what inspired the newly launched menu:

Have you always wanted to become a chef? I have been a chef for 20 years and even after all that time I still love the comradery, team work and drive that I think you can only get from this industry.

If you hadn’t become a chef, what would you have done? If I hadn’t become a chef I might have become a professional volleyball player although my height excluded me from certain positions. Either that or a landscape gardener. 

What is an over-rated food trend for you?I don’t really agree with foams, they have their place but, in my mind, can be over used. 

What are your three favourite ingredients? That’s a hard question to ask a Chef, however I would have to say mine are; smoked paprika, slimy mackerel and heirloom tomatoes 

Who are your role models? My Dad was a huge part of my life and made me the man I am today.  He was a coach and PE teacher his whole career and that is why I see being a chef as a combination of art and sport. 

Any tips for at home chefs? Keep it simple and follow the recipe on your first try. 

What is the one thing you can’t stand in your kitchen? Laziness. It just doesn’t belong in the kitchen. It is a very fast paced environment, so you have to work as a team and always be ready to action.  

Do you have any culinary heroes? I’ve been really inspired by Sean McConnel, Anthony Boudain and Brent Savage. 

What food takes you back to your childhood? My mum made a killer wakefield chops – they were out of this world.  They were lamb chops braised in tomato, mustard and brown sugar.

What’s playing on your kitchen soundtrack? Pink Floyd’s “Money”. Music is really important to set the atmosphere and get everyone in a great mood.  

Is there a secret ingredient that you love to cook with?  I love Oloroso sherry. It gives dishes that little bit of exotic je ne sais quio.  

Where did you get your inspiration for the new menu? I drew my inspiration from past experiences, either travels or working in the industry over the years. 

What can’t you wait to do at Monster? I can’t wait to bring in the new breakfast menu.

And Finally: steak or cake? Steak.