Hi I’m Matthew, new Head Chef at the George Townhouse. Here’s an insight into my background and passion for food…

I have always had a love for food and as a child I remember I was either helping my mother in the kitchen, my father with the barbecue or watching cookery shows on the telly. After persuading my parents that I was going to pursue this as my career I showed up to the kitchen of Hartwell House, Buckinghamshire.

During school holidays I spend two weeks working for free and was accepted into the ‘Academy of Culinary Arts Specialised Chef’s Scholarship’ at Bournemouth and Poole College. This is where I earnt my scholarship and diploma with the highest level of achievement.

I went on to work at the exclusive Wiltons restaurant, in the West End of London, where I worked for 5 years under the tutelage of two amazing chefs, Jerome Ponchelle and Andrew Turner. In that time I became their first ever apprentice to be promoted to Commis Chef before completing my apprenticeship and progressing onto Chef de Partie.

After leaving London I moved to the Ettington Park Hotel in Warwickshire where I progressed from Chef de Partie to Junior Sous Chef and gained experience with catering for large functions and weddings. After 18 months at Ettington Park, I moved into my first Head Chef position running the Russell Arms, a fine dining pub in Buckinghamshire. This was a steep learning curve for my career and allowed me to develop my skills as a manager, and learn and develop my own style of food.

I returned to Ettington Park for another 18 months as Senior Sous chef which allowed me to really hone my skills as a manager and learn the systems succinct with operating in a larger organisation. After this I moved to working for Le Bistrot Pierre in Stratford upon Avon. My kitchen was responsible for providing food for the Bear Pub and the Swans Nest Hotel. Le Bistrot was a big transition in terms of food service, much faster paced than anything else I had done previously.

I arrived at the George Townhouse in September 2016, as Head Chef which seems to be a perfect fit for the combination of my knowledge and training. It allows me to manage a team serving great real food that we can be proud of and using fresh ingredients every day.

As my forte has always been fish and I love to cook with it so from our new autumn 2016 menu, my favourite dish is the beautiful pan fried hake with purple sprouting, capers and brown shrimps. It is a very clean dish with flavours that compliment each other but do not overpower the flavour of the fantastic quality fresh fish.