MATT Golinski couldn't understand why doctors worked so hard to keep him alive when everything he lived for had been snatched away.

For the first time, the celebrity chef has spoken about his recovery from the physical and emotional damage caused by a house fire that claimed the life of his wife and three daughters on Boxing Day, 2011.

Watch Matt's journey on Australian Story, to be aired on ABC and ABC iview at 8pm tonight, August 6.

The coroner's report concluded the blaze that killed Rachael Golinski, Sage and Willow, both 12, and Starlia, 10, was most likely started from an ignition source located on or below the Christmas tree.

Matt's efforts to try and save his family from inside their Tewantin home left him in a coma for eight weeks with life-threatening burns all over his body.

Matt Golinski.
Matt Golinski. Contributed

When he finally awoke in hospital, Matt couldn't speak.

He was given an alphabet chart and used it to point at the letters of the words he wanted to say.

The first thing he asked for was his family. His father Keith Golinski had to break the news.

"I remember the first thing I said was (well) ... I couldn't speak, I actually had to sort of use the board and I said, "Can you get me a mobile phone so I can call Rachael?" Matt said.

"(Dad) had to straight out just tell me, 'Sorry mate, they're all gone'.

"I'm not a suicide sort of person, but I just sort of went, 'God, really? You spent eight weeks keeping me alive? Why would you bother? What makes you think that I'd want to be alive still?'."

Matt said the following weeks were the most painful, with ongoing operations and skin-grafting procedures.

"(It was) extremely painful," he said. "I'd be burning up at night and desperately trying to tell the nurse that I needed ice packs on my stomach and they couldn't understand me.

"But it was the emotional pain that was the hardest thing to deal with at that time."

Matt Golinski and daughter Aluna.
Matt Golinski and daughter Aluna. Chris Gillette chrisyg@gmail.com

Matt was still recovering in hospital the day of his family's funeral.

"I didn't even get to go to my girls' funeral," he said.

"(But) all my family and all my friends were just incredible with the way they pulled together for me.

"My sister and my Dad were bringing sackloads of cards and letters from people all over Australia. And some of them had money in them. Some of them were people that had held events at their house to raise money for me.

"That's the point where I changed. I went 'Oh wow, people really want to see me survive this and get through it'. So I better bloody well do it."

Matt said before "the accident" he loved running, but life in a hospital bed weakened him and he lost over 25kg.

He knew the only way he could get out of hospital quickly was to push himself at his physical-therapy sessions. In six months, Matt ran his first 6km.

"In eight months, he did his first 10km," a proud father Keith said. "One of the things that people say to you is, 'How do you get over something like the fire?' But you never actually get over it ... nobody gets over it. But you've got to get around it, so it's always there but you've gone past it."

Erin Yarwood, Aluna and Matt Golinski.
Erin Yarwood, Aluna and Matt Golinski. Chris Gillette chrisyg@gmail.com

It was during Matt's physical rehabilitation he met his now-fiancée Erin Yarwood.

"We had lots of common interests," Erin said.

"I'd invite him and friends from work to see bands play and just try to get him out to get back to normal a bit.

"We ended up hanging out a lot. We'd go for jogs together."

The pair started a family with the birth of their daughter Aluna on August 16, 2017.

"I never thought 'I'm ready for another relationship now'. It wasn't something that crossed my mind," Matt said.

"But I could see with her this sort of genuine compassion for all these people that were in a really vulnerable situation.

"For me, I was kind of like 'I quite like this girl'. Eventually I sort of went 'I better snap her up before somebody else realises what a good catch she is'."

Matt now uses his experience and knowledge to promote local producers in his role as the Gympie Region's Food and Culinary Tourism Ambassador. He also travels to events across the country to help other regions showcase their "food identity".

When he's not with his family, enjoying music with mates or doing a long-distance run, Matt writes recipes and food columns for several publications. In March, he joined the team at Peppers Noosa Resort and Villas as the company's food ambassador and advisory executive chef.

Watch Matt's journey on Australian Story, to be aired on ABC and ABC iview at 8pm tonight, August 6.