Chef of the Week: Matt Powell, Chef Patron at Annwn Restaurant in Pembrokeshire

How long have you worked at your current restaurant?
Annwn has been open for about three months.

Where did your passion for cooking come from and where did you learn your skills?
I didn’t do particularly well in school, but I won a cookery competition at school and the fire was instilled from there.

What do you enjoy most about being a chef?
The creative side of being a chef and also the hours are long but it can feel extremely rewarding.

Name three ingredients you couldn’t cook without.
Freshly picked fungi (by me), extremely fresh fish and game.

Which piece of kitchen equipment couldn’t you live without?

What food trends are you spotting at the moment?
I don’t pay close attention to what’s going on in the culinary world, I just pay attention and focus on what I am doing. The food I am cooking at Annwn is pretty unique, so I like to set my own trend.

What do you think is a common mistake that lets chefs down?
Over working dishes and complicating them.

What is your favourite time of year for food, and why?
Early spring – A new year begins and it’s been a long winter. Everything will soon be abundant. It’s when here at Annwn everything starts again.

Which of your dishes are you most proud of?
Hare by the Hedgerow or maybe Ynys Gwales (Gorse flower custard, birch meringue and sweet cicely) – a dessert with inspiration taken from the nesting birds of the Pembrokeshire coast.

How do you come up with new dishes?
By being outdoors and letting mother nature inspire me.

Who was your greatest influence?
My greatest influence has been to live on the Welsh coast path and to be able to study my local environments a huge amount. A real blessing, that feeling of awe and being left in the big outdoors definitely makes you feel tiny, washes away any egotistical apprehensions you have. I think a lot of chefs would be completely different people by being humbled in this way. Unfortunately, modern life and work doesn’t allow this at all really. I feel very lucky to of chosen a different path and to actually be influenced in this way.

Tell us chefs you admire.
Simon and Mary Ann Wright, Simon worked hard for hospitality here in Wales during the main Covid-19 pandemic.

What is your favourite cookbook?
‘Larousse Gastronomique’ by Prosper Montagné.

Who do you think are the chefs to watch over the next few months?
I am not sure, keep an eye out for me at Annwn!

What’s been your favourite new restaurant opening of the last year?
My own!