About Matt Holden



A coffee column every week (the only one in Australia) – Mug Shot for Epicure Good Food in The Age

Food reviews – Good Food Under $30 for Epicure Good Food in The Age


The Age Good Cafe Guide – the best guide to cafes and coffee in Melbourne


Books that cross borders and boundaries at Telephone Publishing


Writing and editing for digital media at the University of Melbourne

Advanced magazine publishing and editing at the University of Melbourne

Writing for print media at RMIT University


26 thoughts on “About Matt Holden

  1. Hi Matt

    It is Bea Barrett here – I’ve followed your writing since coming to Melbourne (from the UK) around two and half years ago and occasionally we’ve rubbed shoulders via Twitter et al. I’ve misplaced your email so writing via your website to say how much I enjoyed your piece in this week’s Spectator. Always love an article that combines memories – real or otherwise – with food.

    Thanks for the good read.




  2. Hi Matt, enjoy your coffee column in Short Black. I have an unusual coffee maker ‘show n tell’ for you. Ever heard of a ‘Napoletana’. My mother and I have been using it since the 1960s, and as Italian-born gals, we give it the thumbs up! It’s a combination between a Moka stovepot and a drip pot. Confused? Here’s a post I wrote about it on my blog ‘The Good the Bad & the Italian’. Let me know if you want more info. http://ambradambra.wordpress.com/2013/06/16/lurking-in-the-cupboard-5-napoletana-coffee-pot/


  3. Hi Matt,
    my wife and I have used the good café guides to explore Melbourne for the past two years. Every Sunday we pick a place from the guide at random and end up anywhere in Melbourne as a result. It’s a great way to get to places in Melbourne you’d never other wise get to enjoy, and, while I’m not a coffee drinker (sorry) Ruth most definitely is! We’ve found some great spots and now can choose a café based on the prevailing wind, sunshine, shade and temperature – eg SoJo in Winter, Ici in Summer. Anyway, to get to the point – what happened to the good café guide 2015?? Kind regards,


    • Hi Pete, thanks for getting in touch, and I’m glad to hear how much use you got out of The Good Cafe Guide. Fairfax decided not to keep producing it – more cutbacks! So I am trying to provide something similar with this website … slowly working my way throughMelbourne’s cafes, without a team of reviewers to help! See you out there, Matt


  4. Hi Matt, you’re a hard person to track down to send a message to …

    … in your piece today “http://www.smh.com.au/comment/what-was-going-through-the-mind-of-putneys-running-man-20170815-gxwlry.html” you describe the motion of the jogger as:

    “he veers towards her and shoves her in the chest”

    and then

    “he stepped ever so slightly to his right and made what looks like deliberate contact”

    Which one is it, Matt? There’s a palpable difference, at least the way I read it.

    All best


  5. G’day Matt….always enjoy your columns in The Age…particularly yesterday’s one on religion and SSM….of course there will be others who disagree…a Caroline Miley in today’s letters to the editor for one…..keep up the good work



  6. Matt, hear bloody hear! You summed up beautifully Euro pop
    music & the execrable Eurovision
    I’m also fairly sure that all the acts are miming, certainly the lush ballads with soaring orchestral backing & no sign of an orchestra…!
    Really enjoy your column, not many of you good journos left there now.
    Rgds Leigh Lansdown


    • Hey, thanks Leigh – good to hear from you, and that you enjoyed the column. I thought I might get a few angry ones as well … not yet!
      All the best,


  7. Hi Matt,
    Just in regard to the article on the resignation of the current Trinity Grammar Principal, it needs to be understood that Trinity was actually a very free-thinking and progressive school in the past, producing some extraordinary minds. This is rare, particularly in Independent schools, many of which are pretty conservative. My understanding from those in the know is that the current Principal wasn’t seeking to liberalise the school, but rather placed results at the expense of individual student needs. So certainly good results might feature in ATAR scores under his helm, but that is largely not the ultimate outcome this particular school community seeks – rather, a broad-based education that caters for diverse needs and provides students with experiences they might not be able to access in other environments. It has also placed importance on excellence over many years, but again, across a breadth of study areas. From the reports I have heard it has been a pretty unhappy place for a while Matt.


    • Hi Mandy
      That’s good to know. It’s clearly a complex situation. The image of a master taking to a boy’s hair with a pair of scissors wasn’t good, and I think it projected a sense that there was still an element of an old-school, conservative approach at Trinity. The situation could no doubt have been handled better from the beginning, but it seems to have been inflamed by the initial response when the video was leaked, and then the reaction of students and parents when Rohan Brown was sacked.
      I sympathize with the desire parents have for their kids to get a broader education rather than one focused just on ATARs – that’s what I’ve wanted for my own kids (and what I feel they’ve had in the public system, with the kind of choice afforded where we live).
      The school council seems to think that Dr Davies was doing a good job, while people in the school community clearly don’t think that. I’d be interested to know why he was hired in the first place, and what the thinking was.
      It’s unfortunate that we don’t seem as a society to be able to work through issues without people reacting noisily; the nuances get lost and process is corrupted, and we don’t always get the best outcome – especially in politics, but it seems to be bleeding into other areas of public life.
      I guess many people’s feelings about Dr Davies have been assuaged by his resignation, but the school’s reputation has been damaged – which is really sad. In the popular imagination it’s now the posh private school where a master cut a boy’s hair before a school photo, was fired by the school council, only to be reinstated after a student uprising that lead to the eventual resignation of the headmaster. Simplistic, but easy to grasp as a narrative!
      Thanks for writing – I appreciate getting such a well-considered response from someone, and I think this story still has a way to go.
      All the best,
      Matt Holden


      • Thanks Matt, I agree that we’re presented with sound and visual bites that are pretty simplistic in their representation of what is usually a complex scenario. I’m really pleased your kids are able to access a broad-based education and that this is occurring in a state school. That’s how it should be everywhere. As someone who has worked in arts education for many years, it can be hard for everyone to have that kind of access, so I’m always very happy when students do. I think, you know, it’s a little like the budget, where the majority say they would like taxes to go to education, health, overseas aid and so forth, rather than be the recipients themselves, but when it comes right down to it, often, the money in the pocket is what people will vote for. There can be a similar disconnect between the desire of schools, teachers and curricula to meet the needs of individual students, and education and school council policy which is often still largely based around pretty figures and graphs of achievement to encourage greater numbers to a school (despite people saying they’re there for the broad-based curricula and school philosophy!). That can only really change with an alteration in attitude to the kind of closed assessment system currently in place through practices such as NAPLAN and PISA – again, simplistic tools for complex learning practices. Lotsa people don’t like dealing with such complexities unfortunately.
        With very best wishes


  8. Hi Matt,
    Hope all is well – I loved the recent article “Time for Craft Politics” I would like to email you an idea/response, are you able to email or provide best contact?
    Cheers Nick


  9. Hi Matt,
    Thought your virtuous white knighting of sarah hansen young was really inspiring and just so brave in todays climate. I fear that all of the feminists may attack you for mansplaining slut shaming (as they should). You probably cant even tell which parts of this are sarcastic! thats because its all so ridiculous you see. Keep at it !


  10. Thank you Matt for your piece on the symbolic significance of the Adani mine project and its use as a political wedge issue. I appreciate your effort to help us move towards a space where our nation can discuss its challenges squarely and where the ‘contest of ideas’ that is politics (and economics for that matter) might be the engine of the more responsible and intelligent public policy making that we so sorely need.


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