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Meet the chef: Matt Street at The Eastbury

PUBLISHED: 15:56 13 October 2016 | UPDATED: 16:33 18 October 2016

Archant

Head Chef, Matt Street showcases local produce on his menu at The Eastbury in Sherborne and says autumn is his favourite season

Matt Street grew up in North Cheriton, Somerset and spent his chef career working throughout Dorset, Wiltshire and Somerset. Matt, a quarter finalist in BBC MasterChef Professionals and a finalist in the prestigious Roux Scholarship, has been at the multi award-winning Eastbury Hotel in Sherborne for some years, becoming its head chef in January 2014. Culinary success has been built around his excellent relationship with local producers who share his passion for quality ingredients, which he showcases in his seasonally-inspired menus. 


What role did food play in your childhood?

I come from a big family so my parents often hosted family parties and had friends over for dinner. Great food was always at the heart of these events. Even at an early age I was interested in the planning that went into a good party!

Who inspired you to become a chef?

Rick Stein. I loved Rick’s enthusiasm for fresh fish and local produce - it was so exciting.

Tell me about your cooking competitions

In 2009 I competed for the Roux Scholarship and BBC MasterChef Professionals. I would recommend the Roux Scholarship to any young aspiring chef, it helps you organise yourself better as an individual. As for MasterChef Professionals, being on television takes you right out of your comfort zone. Nerves got the better of me, but it was great to have my recipe included in the MasterChef Professionals cookbook. Both competitions had a very positive impact on me.

What inspires your menus at The Eastbury?

Sourcing locally and seasonally is at the heart of all we do. Local suppliers will often call and say ‘Matt, you really need to try this new product!’ It is wonderful to work with such dedicated local producers. In the summer months we also pick herbs and salad crops from the walled garden.

What are your different menu options?

We have a bar and lounge menu for lighter dishes but for a more gastronomic experience we offer an A la Carte Menu, a seven course Evening Tasting Menu (including a vegetarian version) and private dinner party menus.

The Eastbury is also a popular wedding venue

Yes it is! We have been known to bespoke wedding menus for couples including an Indian themed wedding, an all Dorset wedding, and an Afternoon Tea wedding. We love a challenge!

What dishes capture the ethos of The Eastbury’s dining experience?

I think the ox with truffle pasta is what our food is all about. It’s a simple dish that ties together my childhood and my experience as a chef. The use of truffles and slow braising the ox is a skill I have gained as a chef, but the flavour combination was inspired by my mother’s lasagne.

What autumn ingredients are you looking forward to showcasing on your menu?

Autumn is an exciting time for a chef – it’s full of rich fruits and earthy vegetables, including beetroot. A couple of my mates teased me about my overuse of it on MasterChef calling me ‘beetroot boy’. I love this fabulous autumn root vegetable. A classic trio is roasted beetroot, goats cheese and toasted hazelnuts.

What would be your perfect supper?

A charcuterie platter with cheeses, pickles, olives and some amazing bread (accompanied by a few cold ones) enjoyed with a handful of friends and my girlfriend, in the garden of the house where I grew up. Summer evenings there always seemed to go on forever.

The Eastbury, Long Street, Sherborne, DT9 3BY; 01935 813131 theeastburyhotel.co.uk

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