Meet the Friends of Dennys - Matt Tebbutt
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10 Questions with…..Matt Tebbutt
Matt Tebbutt is the presenter of BBC TV's long-running flagship food show, Saturday Kitchen; he also presents Channel 4’s Food Unwrapped. In 2020 the public voted him Fortnum & Mason Food Personality of the Year. For many years he ran his award-winning restaurant The Foxhunter in Wales, and he has worked at restaurants including Alistair Little’s and Marco Pierre White at the Oak Room and Criterion.
- What was the turning point for you to think about food as a career rather than a passion?
I always wanted to be a pilot as a kid and I learnt to fly with the RAF air cadets while I was at Oxford Poly...I loved it but I came to realise that I also loved cooking for all my mates at Uni and food won over in the end.
- If you could dine with anyone in the world - past or present – who would it be?
Marco Pierre White is always a pretty fascinating dinner companion or I’d probably go for a good raconteur like David Niven.
- So what made you take the leap from chef and restaurant owner to TV presenter?
It was pretty accidental really, and never my intention. Matthew Fort came to our restaurant in Wales to do a review and ended up suggesting me for Great British Menu and then it all sort of kicked off from there.
- A recent survey found that Britons watch up to 5 hours of cookery TV every week. But how do you think we can we get more people to cook at home from scratch rather than buying ready meals which are often ultra-processed?
Thats a lot of TV hours! I think we need to start with the kids and especially at school. Even if it’s just making soup or a basic cake recipe, just to spark an interest. My new cookbook ‘Weekend’ has some really easy recipes for the more nervous cook plus some more challenging ones to build up to.
- Cocktails seem to be very popular at the moment. Is this a post-lockdown effect?
Who doesn’t love a cocktail! I think people became very adventurous with alcohol in lockdown. In fact my wingman Olly has just brought out the Home Cocktail Bible to encourage people to keep up the good work!
- Hospitality is having a hard time filling vacancies. Do you have any ideas of how to make a career in hospitality more attractive to youngsters?
It’s tough out there staff wise. I think it’s a simple case of having to pay more for fewer hours because I think lockdowns showed up that there were easier jobs out there! Hospitality can be a very rewarding industry though so I hope young people will still give it a go.
- With food, they say ‘presentation is everything’. How important is uniform to the hospitality trade?
Now chefs are often ’on display’ it’s important that they and their front of house staff look smart and give a good impression of the restaurant. I’ve always used Dennys for my whites as I think the quality shows through over cheaper kit.
- What’s the best advice anyone gave you?
.. give your son a tennis racquet not a frying pan... although I’m rubbish at tennis, so...?!
- Do you have any new projects on the go?
We are in the process of setting up a small venue where we can do pop-ups and entertain small groups. It also doubles as a filming kitchen. So all very exciting for me at the moment along with the launch of my new cookbook.
- What will you be cooking for Christmas?
Always a Copas turkey, they really are superb.. with all the traditional trimmings of course and my mother’s recipe brandy cake.
Matt’s new book Weekend, and his third book,is now out featuring 100 inspiring recipes from casual Friday night suppers, brunch with friends, light lunches and garden feasts, picnics, barbecues to more lavish dinner parties and classic Sunday lunches.
For your chance to win a copy of Weekend simply follow Dennys on Instagram or like, share, comment with our posts by 13 December 2021. Winner will be notified by noon on 17th December.
Photograph taken by Chris Terry.