Great British Menu contestant and head chef Matt talks about his first foray into food and favourite kitchen essentials
Matt grew up in Old Swann in Liverpool, and got his first job at The Crofters Hotel in Garstang, Lancashire. He maintained his first Michelin star aged just 26 and went on to appear on the BBC’s Great British Menu show in 2015. He’s now head chef at The Latymer in Surrey. Matt lives with his wife, young son and dog, Bruno the Boxer.
How did you get into cooking?
My love affair with food of course started with eating! My grandmother lived on the Isle of Man where she would grow all her own vegetables and make her own sauces, so that’s where I got exposed to proper flavour. She was part of the WI. We were in Liverpool so when we visited her we went from inner city to countryside. I didn’t know I wanted to be in the kitchen until I actually got my first job as an apprentice chef. I loved every minute, even down to peeling potatoes and popping peas.
You’ve teamed up with Le Creuset and created some seasonal recipes. What do you like about the products?
Le Creuset has always been like the backbone of the kitchen and their products are built to last. They have got such a longstanding reputation and the products are always so hardwearing, you can tell they are proper quality. Every chef that I have worked with has had Le Creuset in their kitchen. The recipes try to encapsulate what I think people will be able to cook at home.
What electrical appliance would you recommend the most?
Kenwood mixers are so durable and they have attachments at the front so you can swap and use them for different things, such as mincing. I use them everyday and I wouldn’t be able to do what I do in the kitchen without them.
What changes have you seen in the food industry in your career?
The food scene in the UK has changed so much. When I first started out there was no sous-vide cooking so that was a fairly monumental change. People are so much more educated about food now as well and there are so many food programmes, like The Great British Bake Off, which is huge, so obviously people are passionate about food. It’s good to see people enjoying and cooking food and eating more healthily. It’s just so much more than meat and two veg these days.
What style of restaurant do you like?
I like a relaxed style of dining and I don’t like anything stuffy. We are having a refurbishment of The Latymer soon, and I want people to be able to chill out and not feel intimidated. I want to add some personality and freshness with a contemporary but classic design, so that it can enhance the dining experience.
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Article by: Lucy Macdonald