Here's another interview with a great chef for you today. This time it's Matt Burgess who I met when I went to review Ealing Park Tavern after it reopened following a refurb earlier this year. Matt's taken over the kitchen there and I pop in to say hi whenever I'm eating at EPT. Ealing Park Tavern was always a favourite of mine, but since Matt's taken the reins he's really stepped it up a level on the food front. We've had many fantastic meals there, including their whole joint Sunday roasts which are incredible. Matt also works with DJ BBQ on summer food festivals as well as being the in house and on road chef for Hospital Records - one of my favourite record labels. In fact, the more I found out about Matt, the more I realised we had in common and knew some of the same people - good old Instagram, always connecting the dots!

1. Who has inspired you the most in your career?
I can't pick one exact person that has inspired me the most - as I'm inspired by people every day.  If I had to choose, it would be my son and my mother. Jamie Oliver has also been a big part of my inspiration over the past 3 years and for his work on eating better.  Finally, Stuart Powell (flourish bakery) on being a great mentor, advice giver and friend.
2. What is the first thing you remember cooking?
My mother is a great cook, she was bought up by my nana who  lived in the kitchen, baking cakes.  My mum had a spice rack the size of our family kitchen so from as early as I can remember I would play with her spices making constant variations in cups of water and forcing my mum to taste them.  I vaguely remember making a spaghetti Bolognese with every single spice mum had - I'm sure it didn't taste that great! (Glad you're cooking's improved since then Matt!)

3. What is your favourite restaurant in London? 
Ooof that's a tough one.  I can't live without Meat Liqour but I also love Bluebird on Kings Road and XO in Belsize Park. Arrgggghhhh - such hard questions!
4. What is your can't live without kitchen gadget? 
A blender called margarita madness – it’s really loud, big and bulky but could blend metal to the lightest, finest puree you have ever tasted!
5. What your top 3, can't live without, ingredients?
- Piran sea salt from Slovenia
- Karachi (form of ginger)
- Soy sauce
6. What's your newest ingredient discovery?
Pisco, it's an incredible spirit from Peru – but it’s also very, very dangerous and should come with a warning! (I'm a massive Pisco fan too - might have to use it in cocktails at my summer pop ups)
7. What is the most difficult food intolerance to cook for?
I once had a customer that couldn’t eat off ceramic. That was tough. (Um, ok - what a nightmare!?)
8. What is the best piece of advice you would give to someone wanting to start a career as a chef?
It may seem glam on the outside but in reality it's not. It's hard work, long hours in a really hot environment, you will make no money and never sleep!  If you accept these negatives early on, the positives will be a whole lot better!

9. What do you make of supper clubs? Have you ever been to one? 

LOVE THEM! Great concepts, anything that promotes better eating is a good thing for me! I’ve never been to one but I'll be coming to yours soon Rosie, to break my supper club virginity! (Correct answer Matt, 10 points for you!!!)

10. And finally - what's the plan for you in 2015, and beyond? Where are you currently working, and do you have any exciting projects in the pipeline (that you don't mind my readers knowing about!) 
BBQ season is nearly upon us and I have spent the last 2 years helping out my great friend DJ BBQ.  We have a lot of dates in the bag and this year will be bigger and better that ever! Grillstock, Camp Bestival, Jamie Oliver's big FEASTIVAL to name a few! I have lots of other big plans with Hospital Records so watch this space! (I can't wait to hear more!)

You can currently find Matt at the pass in Ealing Park Tavern cooking up a storm, including this super delicious looking Spring plate of lamb cutlets, shoulder, pear mostarda, peas and artichokes - yum!!


  1. Great interview. Pisco sounds deadly but cooking with alcohol can add another dimension to a meal. I can't wait for BBQ season and how good do those lamb chops look.

    I think it is funny that Matt thinks people consider being a chief glamorous, I'm not sure about that one, it is a tough job that is very underrated by most people but is a real talent. People are lovely to you when you are doing well and waiting for you to fail and bring you down when you are doing badly. I am not sure chefs in the UK get the cudos or credit that they should Lucy x

    1. I know, the lamb chops look so good. I love all the seasons' food, but especially Spring, can't wait for BBQ season too. I think Matt means that being a chef is glamorised by Masterchef and all those tv shows nowadays when it's actually bloody hard work. They all deserve a medal!!

      Rosie xx

  2. I love your chef interviews! Such a fun feature. I want to try all the restaurants Matt recommends; I had no idea there was a good one in Belsize Park (when I lived nearby, BP was always a bit of a let down as it had so many chains). Also definitely want to try Ealing Park Tavern! xxx

    1. Thanks Miranda - Ealing Park Tavern comes very highly recommended - fab food, excellent cocktails and the most lovely staff :) It was well reviewed in Time Out this week.

      Rosie xx

  3. Chef interviews are always so interesting. Always good to get some perspective from the other end of the kitchen!

    1. It's really interesting finding out their point of view on things - do check out my previous interviews too - fascinating!!

      Rosie xx


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