Plates for Mates

Matt Golinski has some good mates.

Devastated by the terrible events that saw Matt lose his beloved family, his wife, Rachael and the couple’s three daughters, Starlia, Willow and Sage in a home fire on Boxing Day 2011 just after a joyous Christmas celebration, his mates decided they had to do something.

Matt's mates are mostly in the hospitality area and include some very big names, so when they got together and came up with the concept of Mates for Plates, things started to happen.

So now for the month of April, you'll see restaurants, cafes and individuals around Australia, generating funds for the Matt Golinski Recovery Fund.

The initiative first conceived by celebrity chefs Janelle Bloom, George Calombaris, Manu Feildel, Damian Heads, Alastair McLeod and Gary Meaghan to help their friend, Matt, was launched yesterday at Bretts Wharf Restaurant, Brisbane with a sold‐out fundraising dinner.
Matt sustained third degree burns to over 40 per cent of his body during the fire and remains in Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital.

Janelle, George, Manu, Damian, Alastair and Gary visited Matt on Sunday afternoon and report his spirits are high and he is grateful for the support but can't believe what is happening to help him.

Back at Bretts Wharf it was all systems go with everyone kicking into action to get the dinner out. There were plenty of people working behind the scene to help make it happen.  Food guru Alison Alexander and Elaine Miller were in the kitchen, helping out, hopefully not as dishies and Troy Cassar Daley was warming up to provide the night's entertainment. And let's not forget the generosity of suppliers and others who donated goods and services for the event.
It was a rare achievement to have so many high profile chefs in one spot at the same time. As Alastair McLeod said,  Melbourne and Sydney must have been starving!

How can you help?

Some activities already registered on the website include:
  • A black tie dinner at Steel Restaurant and Bar in Sydney
  • Restaurants donating $1 for every table throughout April include Peasant, Cabiria, The Jetty Oxford, Liquorish, The Jetty Southbank, Gillian's Garden Cafe
  • Merlo coffee Brisbane is donating .20c for every coffee sold in all of their stores
  • Food clubs and Rotaries are whipping the hat around and making donations
  • Drift Brookwater is organizing a golf day and lunch
  • A café in Mackay is having a Sunday jazz fundraiser
  • Oz Fruit and Vegetable wholesalers in Brisbane is donating $1 for every order during April
  • BistroC in Noosa has created a special “Mates Plate” dish which will be available during April
  • Non hospitality industry organizations such as banks, credit unions, training companies and so on are holding in‐house fundraisers too.
  • And many, many restaurants are donating $1 per customer during April.

“We’ve been surprised and very touched at the number of private individuals who are also doing things. One lady is having a dinner party for 20 in her home and charging her friends to come along and donating the proceeds,” Alastair said “It’s great that people have come up with their own ideas. We are hoping lots more restaurants and cafes come on board during April.

“I know I speak for the other chefs involved when I say that initially we all felt helpless as to how to help our mate, Matt. What happened is just too sad for anyone to comprehend. I visited him for the other day and whilst it’s great he’s making progress, he certainly has a long recovery road ahead. We hope that the funds raised will help in some small measure.

“Apart from helping Matt, our other goal for Plates for Mates is to raise enough money to fund research fellowships for The McComb Foundation. Dr Fiona Wood is attending the launch event and a portion of the funds raised through Plates for Mates will be donated in the names of Matt’s wife and children. More medical research into burns care will ultimately help people everywhere and enable more great work by Dr Fiona Wood and her team at The McComb Foundation.”


• Register your own Plates for Mates event or fundraiser: go to
• Make a donation via the Plates for Mates website.
• Encourage your local restaurant, café, coffee shop, bar, hotel or resort to become involved in some way.
Support restaurants, cafes and people who are donating to Plates for Mates.

Di O'Reilly, Collaborate Communications and Trena-Louise Lyons, Newsroom PR
Congratulations to Di O'Reilly of Collaborate Communications who was the organiser behind the launch event on Sunday and to Trena-Louise Lyons who has worked tirelessly to assist the Golinski family handle media. I know both women have never worked harder in their lives to organise these events out of the goodness of their hearts.  Well done ladies!

Celebrating the launch were Kath Rose, Zohara Rozbully, Damien Heads, Janelle Bloom, Jodi Clark