On 26 December 2011, Golinski's wife Rachel and his three daughters died when his Tewantin home was engulfed by fire in the early morning. Golinski suffered severe burns, and as of March 2012 was still recuperating in Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital where his condition was listed as "stable". In April 2013, Golinski returned to the public eye, cooking on the stage at the Jan Power Farmer's Market in the Brisbane CBD. In December 2015 a report by Coroner Terry Ryan found that the likely cause of the fire was a power board, or Christmas lights.
The "Plates for Mates" campaign was launched by a number of celebrity chefs on 6 March 2012. The campaign aims to raise money to assist in developing techniques to help heal burns victims.
2013 saw the launch of the "Cruise for Mates" initiative, comprising fundraising cruises to raise money for Golinski and the charities he supports. Two cruises were organised, 'Cruise France' with celebrity chefs Manu Feildel, Janelle Bloom and Alastair McLeod and 'Cruise Europe' with George Calombaris, Gary Mehigan and Damian Heads.
- Neighbours grieving after Sunshine Coast fire to gather at church Brisbane Times, 27 December 2011
- "Host and Chefs Biographies:Matt Golinski". 'Ready Steady Cook' website. Retrieved on 27 December 2011
- Shock after TV chef Matt Golinski loses family in house fire The Courier-Mail, 27 December 2011
- Chefs rally for Matt Golinski Brisbane Times, 6 March 2012
- http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/national/celebrity-chef-matt-golinski-returns-to-cooking-stage/story-fndo45r1-1226617509230 Chef Matt Golinski Returns to Cooking Stage
- Agius, Kym (5 December 2015). "Matt Golinski fire: Christmas tree lights or power board 'likely cause' of fatal blaze at TV chef's home". ABC News. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 6 December 2015.
- "Cruise for Mates". cruiseformates.com.au, Retrieved 13 June 2010
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