Chef of the Week: Matt Powell, Group Executive Chef at Hotel du Vin

How long have you worked at your current restaurant?
I have been with Hotel du Vin and Malmaison for 25 years.

Where did your passion for cooking come from and where did you learn your skills?
My passion for food came from my grandfather who was a greengrocer.

What do you enjoy most about being a chef?
Being creative and every day is a different day.

Name three ingredients you couldn’t cook without.
Good quality oil, good quality butter and Maldon sea salt.

Which piece of kitchen equipment couldn’t you live without?
Am I allowed to say my knives I think knives are very personal to a chef and I find it hard to do my job with out my own.

What food trends are you spotting at the moment?
I’m not sure it’s a current trend but I see people using cheaper cuts e.g. rump for Sunday roast instead of rib or sirloin, also for example we use topside instead of fillet of our tartar.

What do you think is a common mistake that lets chefs down?
Attention to detail and taking time to do things the correct way.

What is your favourite time of year for food, and why?
Autumn, I really liked the braised dishes like beef bourguignon and hot desserts apple tarte tatin.

Which of your dishes are you most proud of?
Again our beef bourguignon as we are always trying to make it better by tweaking it here and there but still keeping it authentic.

How do you come up with new dishes?
Working closely with my team bouncing ideas of each other.

Who was your greatest influence?
In cooking it would probably be the old executive chef for Malmaison and Hotel du Vin, Keith Shearer.

Tell us three chefs you admire.
Stephane Reynaud, Henry Harris & Mark Hix.

What is your favourite cookbook?
Ripailles or 365 by Stephane Reynaud.

Who do you think are the chefs to watch over the next few months?
Andrew Clarke.

What’s been your favourite new restaurant opening of the last year?
Bouchon Racine in Farringdon.